Super Sunday 2024

Black Masking Indians Take to the Streets

One of the most mysterious, fascinating, and colorful pieces of New Orleans’ cultural quilt belongs to Mardi Gras Indians, also referred to as Black Masking Indians. A unique and historic subculture of New Orleans, Black Masking Indians and their traditions date back to the 1800s when Indigenous Americans provided safe refuge and a sense of community for runaway enslaved people. Black Masking Indian culture is influenced by both ancestral enslaved Africans and the friendship forged with Indigenous Americans. When Black Americans were later banned from mainstream Mardi Gras Krewes, they created their own celebration known as Carnival in their own neighborhoods. Delayed but not deterred, various communities of eager paraders took to their respective neighborhoods and began celebrating on their own. These various communities would continue on to make up their own tribes of Mardi Gras Indians for decades.

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