Mardi Gras Indians

Among the most colorful and mysterious of New Orleans' cultural phenomena are the Mardi Gras Indians. Garbed in spectacular hand-beaded costumes — a new suit each year — they take their chants and dance to the streets on Mardi Gras Day, "Super Sunday" (the Sunday after St. Joseph's Day), and at festivals like Jazz Fest.

There are dozens of Indian tribes in New Orleans, and each marches to the beat of its own drummer, literally. Tremé is home to the Yellow Pocahontas tribe, led by Big Chief Darryl Montana. His father, the late Big Chief Allison “Tootie” Montana, worked successfully to turn the ritualized encounters of local tribes into a contest of aesthetic 'warfare' rather than actual fighting.

Tremé is also home to one of the traditional gathering places for Mardi Gras Indian tribes from around the city, the intersection of Orleans Avenue and N. Claiborne Avenue. Hunter’s Field is another Indian gathering place, just adjacent to the neighborhood near St. Bernard and Claiborne Avenues. 

Hero Shot