mardi gras indians

This week on The Reading Life: Photographer John McCusker and writer Shane Lief talk about their new book, “Jockomo: The Native Roots of Mardi Gras Indians.” We’ll celebrate Words and Music: A Literary Feast in New Orleans with excerpts from my interview with Zachary Lazar (whose "Vengeance" is the One Book One New Orleans selection) and Deborah Luster, which was conducted August 28 as part of the Historic New Orleans Collection’s Art of the City Book Club. The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra will premiere a work inspired by “Vengeance,” Saturday, November 23.

American Routes Shortcuts: Cherice Harrison-Nelson

Mar 1, 2019
Cherice Harrison-Nelson
American Routes

Cherice Harrison-Nelson grew up in a high-minded family of readers. Her mother Herreast ran nursery schools. Her father Donald Harrison was a veteran and postal worker, interested in philosophy and art. He grew up in the Mardi Gras Indian tradition of honoring Native American culture by local African American carnival tribes.  The Harrisons have long been concerned about social justice. Queen Reesie is known for teaching history and culture and starting a Mardi Gras Indian Hall of fame. She has studied in West Africa and spoke of her spiritual quest while sewing this year’s Mardi Gras Indian suit.

Susan Larson continues her look at 300 great New Orleans books. Today: African-American culture and tradition with independent scholar Freddi Evans.

This week on The Reading Life: Susan talks with Victor Harris, Rachel Breunlin, and JeffreyEhrenreich, creators of the beautiful book, “Fire in the Hole: The Spirit Work of Fi-Yi-Yi and the Mandingo Warriors.”

Patrick Melon / Melon the Scribe

On this week's edition of All Things New Orleans, we'll chat a bit about Super Sunday with Bertrand Butler, director of the Mardi Gras Indian Council. Then, a local event leads the city's youth to dance for social change

And, we'll share another story from Bring Your own; a live story telling series. 

American Routes Shortcuts: Monk Boudreaux

Feb 9, 2018
Monk Boudreaux
American Routes

Each year Mardi Gras Indians greet the day on the city streets to sing and strut. This has been going on since the late 19th century. The call and response sounds of the Indians often carry the Congo beat, fundamental in New Orleans' musical fabric. The beloved Indian chief Monk Boudreaux has been masking Indian for more than 70 years. We visited him at home where he quietly sewed his new suit.

Monk Boudreaux
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek at our upcoming show. This week for Carnival Season, we bring you a bit of the action from the streets. We’ll catch up with Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and his followers on Mardi Gras Day.


Conversation by conversation, interview by interview, StoryCorps collects the stories and voices of our time. This week, Littdell “Queen B” Banister and Mary Jones give us a snapshot into the lives of the Mardi Gras Indians, where personal pride is sewn into every stitch of their annual suits.

On a sunny Sunday in New Orleans, barbecue stands and ice-filled coolers line a closed-off street. Central City is not a tourist zone, but people pack in — many with cameras and long lenses. A mass of color begins to move.

Nina Feldman / WWNO

The second weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival kicks off Thursday. As the festival has grown over the course of the past four decades, so has the tension between local and national acts.

Many longtime festers worry that the big name performers overshadow the locals that gave Jazz Fest its start. Others argue that big names attract crowds from around that world that would otherwise never experience the unique music and culture of New Orleans.