October 2005

Mardi Gras Indian

Mardi Gras Indian © Aris Dervis

© Aris Dervis 2002

Monthly Spirit

Mardi Gras Indian

October 2005

The tradition of the Mardi Gras Indian is almost as old as Mardi Gras itself. Today there are approximately twenty tribes in New Orleans, including the Wild Magnolias, the Golden Eagles, the Creole Wild West, Golden Star Hunters, Original Yellow Jackets, Fi Yi Yi, Guardians of the Flame and Yella Pochahontas. These groups take over the streets on Mardi Gras day in African American neighborhoods searching for other tribes in what has become a pageant to display the incredible suits they sew each year out of plumes, beads, mirabeau, sequins and rhinestones. Often the creation of a new suit can take an entire year, and the actual sewing and assembling become the vehicle for social bonding.
It is said that the custom of the Mardi Gras Indians developed out of respect for Native Americans. Often an escaped slave would be welcomed into an Indian tribe to begin a new life of freedom, and the Mardi Gras Indians pay tribute to that debt. Today we find the tribes masking on Mardi Gras day, the feast of St. Joseph, Super Sunday, and at Jazz Fest performances.

We have chosen this image to symbolize the spirit of New Orleans, and we offer it on our commemorative t-shirt along with the words, "Do You Know What It Means To Love New Orleans?" To date, we have raised over $800 which we have distributed to individuals who have lost so much, as well as animal shelters, displaced musicians, and listener sponsored radio. We hope to be able to make a generous donation to the Wild Magnolia tribe, who have been dispersed all over the country.

Can you help us meet our quota of $1,000? We are so close. Buy a t-shirt to make a donation. The fickle media is already on to the next tragic story, but the victims of Katrina still very much need your help. Thank you to all the generous people who donated so far. We are accepting orders through Paypal,

New Orleans T-Shirt :

Size :  

but if you prefer to pay by check ($20 for a t-shirt available in S, M, L and XL) you can direct your payment to:

214 Riverside Dr. #207
New York, NY 10025-6805.

Carole and Aris