August 17, 2014

Roll Call of 2014 Honorees of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame

Congratulations to all of our 2014 honorees.

Big Chief Carl Reed
Donald Harrison, Sr. Crystal Feather Honoree

Alvin "Cream" Mutin, Sr.
Curator’s Choice Elder Statesman Award

Herbert Gettridge
Peace Chief's Choice Elder Statement 

Queen Wanda Womble
Queens Choice Crystal Feather Honoree

Mama Jennifer Turner (Community Book Center)

Guardian of the Culture and Literary Arts

Spy Boy Dow EdwardsLegal Eagle Award

Al “Carnival Time” Johnson
Music Heritage Award

Geraldine Wyckoff (Louisiana Weekly and OffBeat Magazine) 
Scribe Award  

Dodie Smith-Simmons
Freedom Fighter Award

Jamilah Y. Peters-Muhammad
Nurse of the Nation Award

Evelyn Rodos and Boogie Rodos
Outstanding Supporter Award

Norman Smith
Capturing the Flash Award

Gus Bennett 
Capturing the Spirit Award

August 08, 2014

Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Week 2014

2014 is the Year of the Flag Boy and Gang Flag

All members of the Nation, supporters, and friends are invited to gather to celebrate Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Week 2014.

Sunday, August 10
Hall of Fame Week Kick-Off & Introduction of 2014 Honorees
Congo Square
4 – 5 pm
(Free and open to the public)

Monday, August 11
Blue Linen Monday at Club Istanbul
Flag Boy and Gang Flag Photo Exhibition

6 - 8 pm
(Free and open to the public)

Wednesday, August 13
Year of the Flag Boy and  Gang Flag Yearbook Release and Book Signing
Community Book Center
5 - 7 pm
(Free and open to the public)

Friday, August 15
Honors Breakfast hosted by Ashé Cultural Arts Center
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
9 - 11 am
(2014 Honorees and Mardi Gras Indians with RSVP)

Saturday, August 16
Crystal Feather Honorees' Reception
Basin Street Station
6 - 8 pm
By admission
$25.00 per person

Sunday, August 17
16th Annual Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Awards and Memorial Ceremony
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
3 - 5 pm
(Free and open to the public)

To keep informed of our activities, please like "Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame" on Facebook

Please pass the word!


Algiers Warriors
Apache Hunters
Black Cherokee
Black Eagles
Black Feather
Black Flame
Blackfoot Hunters
Black Mohawks
Black Seminoles
Black Wolf Hunters
Bumble Bee Hunters
Cherokee Braves
Cherokee Hunters
Cheyenne Hunters
Choctaw Hunters
Comanche Hunters
Congo Square Nation
Creole Hunters
Creole Osceolas
Creole Wild West
Diamond Star Hunters
Eastern Cherokee
Flaming Arrows
Geronimo Hunters
Golden Arrows
Golden Blades
Golden Comanche
Golden Eagles
Golden Star Hunters
Golden Sioux
Grey Eagles
Guardians of the Flame
Haley Braves
Hard Head Hunters
Hundred and One
Mandingo Warriors
Mohawk Hunters
Monogram Hunters
9th Ward Flaming Arrows
9th Ward Hunters
Ninth Ward Navajo
9th Ward Warriors
Red Hawk Hunters
Red, White and Blue
7th Ward Warriors
Shining Star Hunters
Tomahawk Hunters
Trouble Nation
Uptown Warriors
Washitaw Nation
White Cloud Hunters
White Eagles
Wild Apaches
Wild Magnolias
Wild Mohicans
Wilds of the Nation9
Wild Red Flame
Wild Squatoulas
Wild Tchoupitoulas
Wild Tremé
Yellow Jackets
Yellow Pocahontas
Young Brave Hunters
Young Cherokee
Young Cheyenne
Young Generation
Young Guardians of the Flame
Young Hunters
Young Seminoles
Young Wild Magnolias

July 25, 2013

2013 Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Honorees

2013 Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Honorees

Crystal Feather

Big Chief Alfred Womble, Jr.

Cheyenne Hunters

Queens' Choice

Big Queen Patrice Gordon

Golden Blade

Peace Queen Award

Big Wild Queen Patrina Peters

Red Hawk Hunters

Community Supporter Award

Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation

Cultural Preservationist Award

Freddi Williams Evans

Capturing the Spirit

Bishop Ezelda Booker Coleman

Outstanding Volunteer

Wild Man Quintrell Johnson

Music Heritage Award

Big Chief Donald Claude, Sr.

Capturing the Flash Photographers' Award

George LeBeaud AKA Sekou Fela

Scribe Award

Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes 

Daniel Wolff

It's a Family Affair Award

Harris (Fi-Yi-Yi ~ Victor ~ Mandingo Warriors), Montana (Allison and Edward – Yellow Pocahontas), and Watson (Kentrell and Zenda ~ Wild Mohicans) Families 

Congratulations to our honorees!

Please plan to join us for the 15th Annual Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Memorial, Awards and Induction Ceremony

Sunday, August 11, 2013
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Ashe Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

There is no charge for admission and the public is welcome. For additional information, please call 504-214-6630.

The 15th Annual Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame celebration runs through a variety of events happening August 1-11, 2013. Access the full schedule here.

The social media tag for the week's events is #mgihof2013

July 04, 2013

Young Guardians of the Flame Spy Boy Dondrell Cage, Jr Has Become an Ancestor

Dondrell Cage, Junior (1996-2013)

Photo copyright Jeffrey Ehrenreich

Young Guardians of the Flame Spy Boy Dondrell Cage, Jr. became an ancestor on July 3, 2013. He was sixteen years old.


Thursday, July 11th

8:30 am Visitation
10:00 am Mass of Christian Burial
Traditional Mardi Gras Indian Funeral

St. Paul Catholic Church
6828 Chef Menteur Highway
New Orleans, LA 70126

Dondrell Cage, Jr.

Photo copyright Jeffrey Ehrenreich

Dondrell was a good child who took a misstep, got lost, and it cost him his young life. Please lift his family and the Bruer family up in prayers during this difficult time.

He was our Spy Boy!

Rest in peace, Drell.

Cherice Harrison-Nelson
Maroon Queen, Guardians of the Flame

July 03, 2013

15th Annual Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Week Schedule of Events

15th Annual Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Week

Please join us as we gather in recognition and celebration of the artistry and leadership of the individuals and groups who make and hold the culture. All events listed below are free and open to the public.

The social media tag for the week of events is #mgihof2013

Sunday, August 4
Curator’s Kickoff in Historic Congo Square
3:00 – 4:00 pm

Monday, August 5
Blue Linen Monday @ New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Foundation Gallery
Co-Hosted by the African-American Museum and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation
Jazz and Heritage Festival Foundation Gallery
1205 N. Rampart St.
6 - 7:30 pm

Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Spy Boy Year Book Signing
Community Book Center
2523 Bayou Road
6:00 – 7:30 pm

Thursday, August 8
2013 Honorees’ City Council Recognition
City Council Chambers
1300 Perdido St.
9:00 am – 10:00 am

Thursday, August 8, 2013
Queens Rule! Panel Discussion and Reception
Joan Mitchell Center ~ Indigo Building
 2285 Bayou Road
6:00 – 7:30 pm

Sunday, August11
15th Annual Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Memorial, Awards, and Induction Ceremony
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
3:00 – 4:30 pm

Questions? Please contact Cherice Harrison-Nelson at (504) 214-6630.

March 24, 2013

Black Seminoles Big Chief Cyril "Iron Horse" Green has become an ancestor

Big Chief Cyril "Iron Horse" Green, 2004. Photo by Eric Waters.

Big Chief Cyril “Iron Horse” Green of the Black Seminoles died unexpectedly of natural causes on March 20, 2013 hours after celebrating St. Joseph Night by visiting and singing with his friends and fellow Big Chiefs.

Cyril was born to Joanne (Williams) Goodman and the late Dominick (Jesse) A. Goodman August 26, 1966, the sixth child and fifth son of nine children. 

Cyril was educated in the New Orleans Public School System at Valena C. Jones Elementary, Andrew J. Bell Junior High, and Nicholls Senior High Schools. He went on to earn a Associate Degree in Computer Science from Delgado Community College.

An active member of his community, Cyril dedicated his time with various organizations including the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians as ‘Big Chief Iron Horse’ of the Black Seminoles Indian Tribe. His journey began as Second Chief of the Flaming Arrows in 1992. The following year, he joined the Young Cheyenne Indian Tribe as their Second Chief. Cyril later formed his own tribe, the Black Seminoles. As part of his service within the community Cyril performed several years at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and visited area schools were he shared his knowledge and cultural teachings with our youth. He was the first Big Chief to mask in a wheelchair.           
Big Chief Cyril "Iron Horse" Green (on right with tamborine) at the 2008 Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame
reception at Basin Street Station. Photo by Eric Waters
Cyril was inducted into the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame in 1999. He is the 2006 recipient of the Crystal Feather, our highest honor. He served the Nation as Vice President of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Circle of Chiefs.

He is preceded in death by his father Dominick ‘Jesse’ Goodman, and two brothers, Wendell and Toby Goodman. He is survived by his mother, Joanne Goodman, a sister Troylynn (James) Morse, Deangello Goodman, Michael (Tara) Williams, Nathaniel Green, Terrel (Evelyn) Goodman, Ryan (Crystal) Goodman, and a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Relatives, friends, priest and parishioners of Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, members of Black Seminole Tribe and all Mardi Gras Indian Tribes are invited to attend the Mass of Christian Burial on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, 1835 St. Roch Ave beginning 11 am. Rev. Anthony A. Anala, S.V.D. celebrant. Church visitation 10 am until service time. 

The family of Cyril Green has requested that there be no photography in the church during the services. Please honor this request and be respectful of Mardi Gras Indian grieving and funeral rituals outside of the church. Videographers and photographers are requested to remain mindful and conduct themselves in an appropriate manner. Please do not interfere in ritual space while seeking "the perfect shot."

You may make a secure and tax-deductible donation Big Chief Cyril Green's burial fund through the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame fiduciary agent, National Performance Network. You must select Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame from the drop down menu and include "burial fund" in note section.

For more information about going home ceremonies honoring the life of Big Chief Cyril Green, contact family member, Michael Goodman at (404) 951-1870 or Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Curator, Cherice Harrison-Nelson at (504) 214-6630.


Big Chief Cyril 'Iron Horse' Green Becomes Ancestor
NOLA Defender |

Cyril 'Big Chief Ironhorse' Green, leader of the Black Seminoles, dies at 46
by John Pope, | Times-Picayune, Wednesday, March 27, 2013

December 29, 2012

Please Consider Making a Year-End Donation to the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame

Big Chief Donald Harrison, Senior

Dear Mardi Gras Indian Community Enthusiast,

I am going to keep my end-of-year request for support real! The idea for Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame was conceived in December of 1998 a few weeks after my daddy, Donald Harrison, Sr., became an ancestor. My soul was deeply pained by his death and I could not imagine how I would go on participating in the tradition without him. I also learned that he made an indelible impression on many people. Someone called my workplace to inquire about a donation of some of his clothes to make a memory quilt. Hurt at what I perceived as their inconsideration, I walked out of the office and cried silently in the hallway. Then Oretha Castle Haley principal, Dr. Roslyn J. Smith, gently inquired to determine the source of the tears. After our conversation, she reflectively said, “We’re going to establish a Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, a place where Mardi Gras Indians can be honored and remembered by our students, tradition enthusiasts, and the general public.” The first ceremony was held on St. Joseph’s Day, March 19, 1999.

For me, being a Mardi Gras Indian is a calling. It is a spiritual experience that consumes my being; it is in fact, a way of existing. Being the Co-Founder and Curator of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame is my current life’s work. I devote an immeasurable amount of my time and energy to its programs and projects. When I’m not doing the work, I’m thinking about the work. Over the past 15 years, the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame has worked tirelessly to authentically support tradition bearers and enhance understanding and awareness of Mardi Gras Indian culture.

Through direct community engagement activities, educational efforts and activities honoring historical significance, the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame reaches over 4,700 community members annually. These include elementary school students, elders, Mardi Gras Indians, and the general community. Programs include youth masking, performances from the Indigenous Fine Arts Series, direct services for elders, the Hall of Fame week including an induction ceremony, St. Joseph’s Day celebrations, panels, forums, exhibitions and other community events.

The Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame conducts its programs and projects with authenticity and understanding of the many nuances of Mardi Gras Indian culture. Our events are rooted in the practices that resonate back to the Mardi Gras Indian community in a meaningful manner.

It is not too late for you to make a 2012 tax deductible donation through our fiscal partner National Performance Network. It is very easy to do. Be SURE to select Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame from the drop-down menu on the donation page.

Should you choose to make a donation via check, please mail it to the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, PO Box 3762, New Orleans, LA 70177.

Thank you for your support,

Cherice "Queen Reesie" Harrison-Nelson

READ: "Home-grown and Spirit-Raised"

"Home-grown and Spirit-raised: An exuberant New Orleans ritual commemorates the friendship of escaped slaves and Native Americans"

by John Fasman
The Economist | Dec 22nd 2012 | NEW ORLEANS | from the print edition

September 14, 2012

2013: Year of the Spy Boy

Calling All Spy Boys and Photographers!  
Chiefs and Queens are among the most publicly celebrated positions in the Mardi Gras Indian Nation, but the real story is much more complicated. The Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame will celebrate a different gang position each year beginning with Spy Boys in 2013.

Our August 2013 "Blue Linen Monday" exhibition during Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Week will focus on photographs of Spy Boys.

Preference will be given to photos submitted by Spy Boys by photographers working in the area of cultural documentation. Photographs may be from any era. As always absolutely no photographs accepted by photographers who cannot identify the subject of her/his photograph(s). 

Please begin to submit names and contact info of Spy Boys who have masked at least three times to Cherice Harrison-Nelson via Facebook message or via email to

It promises to be an exciting year!

July 30, 2012

FOX 8 NEW ORLEANS: Mardi Gras Indians honor and challenge their own

New Orleans Local News, Weather, Sports, Investigations

FOX 8 Reporter Jessica Holly's story about the 14th Annual Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Ceremony. The piece aired on the 10 pm newscast on Sunday, July 29, 2012.

July 27, 2012

TAKING IT TO THE STREETS: Cherice Harrison-Nelson and Patrina Peters talk with Action Jackson on WWOZ-FM (26 July 2012)

July 26: Listen in as Action Jackson speaks with Cherice Harrison Nelson, Curator and Co-Founder of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, and Wild Queen Patrina Peters of the Red Hawk Hunter Tribe on WWOZ-FM. The interview includes discussion of this weekend's Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame events, as well as the importance of Queens in the Mardi Gras Indian tribes. "Behind all them feathers," says Cherice Harrison-Nelson, "there's usually a woman standing, holding that man up."

July 22, 2012

Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame 2012 Honorees

Interview with Big Chief Darryl Montana & Joyce Montana
Tremé 200: Bicentennial 1812 - 2012

Crystal Feather: Big Chief Darryl Montana, Yellow Pocahontas

Queens' Choice: Big Queen Pauline "Ree" Johnson, Creole Wild West

Community Supporter Award: Luther Gray, Side-by-Side

Cultural Preservationist Award:  Divine Prince Ty Enmecca

Legal Eagle Award: National Lawyers Guild Legal Observers

Capturing the Spirit Award: New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival,
Curation and production of the Mardi Gras Indian Pavilion at the 2012 Jazzfest

Capturing the Flash Award:  Kichea Burt

Scribe Award: Vincent Sylvain, New Orleans Agenda

Cultural Documentation Award: John McCusker and Katy Reckdahl, New Orleans Times-Picayune

Drumbeat Award: Wesley Phillips, Spirit of Fi-Yi-Yi, Mandingo Warriors

It's A Family Affair Award: This year we recognize and celebrate the contributions of the McFadden, Dollis, Casby, and Banister families

Lifetime Achievement Award for Music: Lionel Paul "Uncle Lionel" Batiste
(awarded prior to his death in July 2012)

Congratulations to our 2012 Honorees!

Please join us 3:00 - 4:30 pm on Sunday 29 July at Ashe Cultural Arts Center (1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard) for the 14th Annual Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Memorial, Awards, and Induction Ceremony.

July 19, 2012

Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Week 2012 Events

Sunday, July 22
Curator’s Kickoff in Historic Congo Square
Blessing of 2012 Honorees
and Black Hawk Service conducted by Bishop Efzelda Coleman

3:00 – 4:00 pm

Congo Square in Armstong Park

Guests:  Honorees and general public

Cost: Free and open to the public

Monday, July 23rd
Blue Linen Monday and Indian Blues Photo Exhibition at the Joan Mitchell Foundation
6-8 pm
Indigo - 2855 Bayou Road

Guests: Featured photographers, Mardi Gras Indians, and general public

Cost: Free and open to the public

Thursday, July 26th
2012 Hall of Fame Honorees’ City Council Recognition
9:00 am – 10:00 am

New Orleans City Council Chambers - 1300 Perdido St.

Guests: Honorees, friends, and interested citizens

Thursday, July 26th
Third Annual Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Film Fest
 and Discussion
University of New Orleans – Kirschman Hall Room 122
6:00 – 8:00 pm

Screening of 2012 Queens Rule! Profiles of Queens Gaynell Gibson Sorina, Ausettua AmorAmenkum, Patrina Peters, and Laurita B. Dollis

Hosted by University of New Orleans Department of Anthropology

Guests: Mardi Gras Indians, UNO Students, Faculty, Alumni, and general public

Cost: Free and open to the public

Friday, July 29th
Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Community Breakfast
9-10:30 am
Presented and hosted by Ashé Cultural Arts Center
1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard
Guests: All Mardi Gras Indians and all 2012 Hall of Fame Honorees

Saturday, July 28th
7th Annual Crystal Feather Honorees’ Reception

Hosted by Basin St. Station - 501 Basin St. (Basin at St. Louis St.)

6:00 – 8:00 pm
Invitation and RSVP only

Sunday, July 29th
14th Annual Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Memorial, Awards and Induction Ceremony
3:00 – 4:30 pm

Ashé Cultural Arts Center - 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard
Guests: All Distinguished Honorees, Mardi Gras Indians, supporters, friends, the public

Dress: New Orleans Sunday afternoon cultural casual
Cost: Free and open to the public
The afternoon's ceremonies will conclude with a distribution of school supplies to children, with blessings for the academic year.

July 16, 2012

Back to School! New Orleans VooDoo and Mardi Gras Indians team up July 21 for School Supply Drive and Contest

The New Orleans VooDoo and the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame have teamed up for the team’s home finale against the Georgia Force on Saturday, July 21 to assist New Orleans Metro Area children with school supplies.

VooDoo fans are asked to bring school supplies to the game. For every item donated, a fan will be entered in a raffle to win a VooDoo gift basket.  The VooDoo gift basket will consist of a signed football and replica jersey by the VooDoo team, two ArenaBowl XXV tickets, along with other items that are must haves!

“We are excited about partnering with the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame and the Guardians Institute for this noble cause.  With many of our players and staff from the local area, we know the challenges that we face, which is why we have decided to partner up to help get our future leaders what they need to succeed in school,” said Brandon Rizzuto, New Orleans VooDoo Vice President.

There will be Mardi Gras Indians to collect your donation of school supplies during the Fan Fest and the game. If you forget to bring school supplies, you can still give a cash donation. For every school supply item donated, fans will have to fill out a small form with their name, phone number and email address to be eligible for the VooDoo gift basket.  The winner will be announced on the VooDoo Facebook page: on Monday at 10 a.m.  If that winner does not contact the VooDoo front office by 11 a.m., another winner will be selected.

The Guardians Institute and Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame are excited to partner with the VooDoo team to continue with investing in our city’s youth. “Knowledge, once acquired, is something that can never be taken away,” as Big Chief Donald Harrison, Senior always said.


To enter the contest, bring new school supplies (notebooks, pens, paper, folders, et cetera) to the game at the New Orleans Arena on July 21, 2012 and give them to a Mardi Gras Indian. For every item donated, a contestant gets additional entry into the drawing.

The winner will receive a VooDoo gift basket that includes a signed football and jersey by the team, along with two ArenaBowl XXV tickets.  The winner will be announced on Monday, July 23 at 10 a.m. via the VooDoo Facebook page:


About the New Orleans VooDoo

The New Orleans VooDoo will play in the New Orleans Arena, an SMG managed facility directly across the street from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  Single game tickets for VooDoo regular season home games are on sale now by calling 504-875-3900.  For more information call (888) 277-5526 for Vice President and Director of Operations, Jason Coffel.  To shop all things VooDoo, visit and get your gear today.

About the AFL

Since its inception in 1987, the AFL has afforded the fast-paced and exciting game of Arena Football to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country.  The NFL Network will once again broadcast an AFL National Game of the Week for the entire regular and post season on Friday nights at 8:00 pm EST, culminating with the ArenaBowl Championship Game in August.

About the Guardians Institute   

Guardians Institute is dedicated to the development of our youth through literacy, physical fitness and New Orleans’ indigenous cultural arts. Children, K-12, participating in programs attend free classes where they are instructed by community elders and leaders in various aspects or art, music, movement, history, literacy and finance. The literacy classes are developed to compliment the Louisiana Department of Education’s curriculum. Through these programs, the community’s underserved children are able to hone their reading and writing skills, develop positive self images, learn the value of teamwork, increase their knowledge of fiscal matters, live a more active and healthier life among many other positive lessons. To learn more about the Guardians Institute go to 

About the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame

Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame works year-round to create community among, honor, and educate about the individuals and groups who create and uphold the arts and culture of the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans.

July 10, 2012

Blue Linen Monday and Indian Blues exhibit kick off Hall of Fame Week 2012

Members of the Nation, supporters, and friends are invited to gather at Indigo at the Joan Mitchell Center on Bayou Road on the evening of July 23 for Blue Linen Monday and the kick-off of Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Week 2012.

Photographers among us are invited to share their work as part of Indian Blues, a one-night exhibition of images of Mardi Gras Indians masking in blue suits.

6-8 pm
Monday, July 23, 2012
Indigo at the Joan Mitchell Center
2275 Bayou Road
New Orleans

Guests will enjoy a traditional Monday dish of red beans and rice, along with a blue "mocktail" (non-alcoholic) created for the event.  

Blue Linen Monday is presented in collaboration with the Joan Mitchell Center. 

There is no charge for admission.

Dress is business casual or cocktail casual.


Please submit only photographs of Mardi Gras Indians masking in blue suits.

Send digital file(s) of photo(s) to by 11:59 pm on Friday, July 13. A 300 dpi JPG that will print at least 3 x 5"  is preferred.

In your email, please include photographer contact information, name and gang/tribe affiliation of subject(s) of photo(s) (if known – if not, we will help you), date of photo(s), copyright information, and availability and price of prints. This information will be included in the exhibition catalog. Please indicate whether the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame may share your work via the Internet.

The photographer is responsible for printing, framing, or foam core backing photo(s). Prints of 11 x 14" or larger are preferred.

Please plan to drop off images Friday, July 20, 9 am - Noon at Indigo (the exhibition venue).

Please plan to pick-up photographs at the conclusion of the Blue Linen Monday event, or make other arrangements with the organizers.

Please call 504-214-6630 if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for sharing your art as part of this inaugural Hall of Fame event connecting our greater community.

April 26, 2012

Chief Joe Allen has become an ancestor

Chief Joe Allen, still from the documentary Land of Opportunity

Joseph Allen, Chief of the Red, White, and Blue Mardi Gras Indians, became an ancestor on Saturday, April 21, 2012.

He will be buried in a Mardi Gras Indian funeral on Saturday, April 27 at St Paul's Lutheran Church, 1625 Annette Street, New Orleans, 70116.

Visitation is from 9:00 am - 10:00 am. The service will begin at 10:00 am. Mardi Gras Indians should gather at the church by 9:30 am.

Repast will be in the church hall following the Mardi Gras Indian procession and cutting loose of the remains.

"Chief Joe" is the uncle of Otto "Chief Fiyo" Dejean, Senior of the Hard Head Hunters. You may extend your condolences and support to Chief Fiyo and his family via email at

Chief Jack Green will lead the Red, White and Blue tribe in a special tribute to Chief Joe at Jazzfest at 1:30 pm at the Mardi Gras Indian Pavilion facing the Congo Square stage.

Creole Wild West Gang Flag Honey Bannister (l) and Red, White, and Blue Big Chief Joe Allen (r) share the culture with children at McDonogh 42 Charter School during a Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame educational program, December 2010. We thank Chief Joe for his generous and rich contributions to Hall of Fame activities over the years.

March 29, 2012

Newsflash and Events Update

Dear Nation,

I hope this post finds you all in good health and spirits.

First of all, thanks to all Members who participated in the services for Queen Destiny McCloud of the Creole Osceolas.

On Friday, March 30, 2012 at 9:45 am, a special memorial for the Treme series producer David Mills will be held at City Park. All Hall of Fame Members who are fans or have worked on the show are encouraged to participate in a special Mardi Gras Indian tribute. Mr. Mills is an posthumous honoree of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame.

The First Annual Indian Cha Wa parade scheduled for Sunday, April 1 has been postponed due to the Final 4. The parade will roll on Sunday, April 15th. It will begin at Bayou St. John and Orleans Avenue, proceed up Moss St. to Esplanade, and end at Bullet's on A. P. Tureaud Avenue.

Cherice Harrison-Nelson

March 23, 2012

Creole Osceola celebrate the life of young Queen Destiny McCloud

Destiny Bria McCloud, a young Queen of the Creole Osceola, has become an ancestor. 

Destiny Bria McCloud entered into eternal rest on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at the age of 18. Beloved daughter of Byron J. and Dana D. McCloud. Granddaughter of Clarence A. & Sandra P. Dalcour, David Smith and the late Elaine M. Smith. Great-granddaughter of Elouise Bienemy and the late Ollie Bienemy. Niece of Clarence A. Dalcour III, Tina McCloud-Harambe and Donya Dalcour-Ralph. Cousin of Devin Smith, Bycha Buxton, Njeri & Osandu Harambe and Taylah and Caiden Dalcour. Also survived by a host of other relatives and friends. Relatives and friends of the family, also Dept. of the Navy, Community Bank-Coast, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Childrens Hospital, Creole Osceola Mardi Gras Indians, and Keesler Medical Center are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 AM on Saturday, March 24, 2012 at St. Raymond and St. Leo the Great Catholic Church 2916 Paris Avenue. Visitation will begin at 9:00 AM. Interment Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Link to obituary and book of condolence

All members of the Mardi Gras Indian Nation are invited to participate in the Indian Red tribute to Queen Destiny at the conclusion of her funeral service. No Indian suits, please.

Love and peace to Big Chief Clarence Dalcour, his family, and the Creole Osceola.

March 13, 2012

Queens Rule VIII: I Married a Big Chief! A panel conversation among Mardi Gras Indian wives

Please join us for Queens Rule VIII, the Spring 2012 installment of an ongoing conversation about the arts, roles, and practices of women and girls in the Mardi Gras Indian culture of New Orleans

A panel conversation among Mardi Gras Indian wives


Mrs. Gaynell Gibson-Sorina
Wife of Flag Boy Adolph Sorina
Black Feather

Mrs. Agnes Harris
Wife of Big Chief James “Yam” Harris
Semolian Warriors

Mrs. Herreast Harrison
Wife of late Big Chief Donald Harrison, Senior
Guardians of the Flame

Mrs. Sabrina Mays-Montana
Wife of Big Chief Darryl Montana
Yellow Pocahontas

Mrs. Joyce Montana
Wife of late Big Chief Allison “Tootie” Montana
Yellow Pocahontas

Moderated by Karen Celestan

Our evening together will conclude with a special Mardi Gras Indian tribute performance

5:00pm until 7:00pm
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 
Anna E. Many Lounge
Caroline Richardson Building
Tulane University

There is no charge to participate in the event, but seating is limited. To guarantee seating, please RSVP by Friday, March 16. You may also join and share the event via our Facebook page.

The Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame is pleased to present Queens Rule VIII in coordination with the Spring 2012 Feminist Documentary class taught by Instructor Betsy Weiss in the Tulane Department of Communication in association with the Tulane Center for Public Service.

Caroline Richardson Building is the second building on the Uptown side of Newcomb Place just off Willow Street on the Newcomb College campus of the Uptown New Orleans campus of Tulane University. The Caroline Richardson Building is a 1950s brick and glass building. The Anna E. Many Lounge is on the second floor at the end of the hall. Please do not confuse the Caroline Richardson Building with either of the "Richardson Buildings" that are located on the Tulane campus near St Charles Avenue.

February 21, 2012

OPEN THREAD: Happy Mardi Gras 2012! Show us your pics!

The Cheyenne gang. So pretty!!
Photo by @pbraniffsr. Posted originally as
Congo Nation Big Chief Donald Harrison, Jr outside Backstreet Museum.
Photo by posted originally as

Who Dat Indian?
Photo by @iTWEET_REALish9 posted originally as

Mardi Gras Indians are all over social media channels this Mardi Gras 2012

Thanks to all the photographers, professional and amateur!

Share links to your favorite photos and videos from this holiday
in the comments section of this post (somewhat limited utility)
post to the wall of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Facebook page


February 08, 2012

UPDATE: Louisiana Weekly Profile of Yellow Jackets Big Chief Thomas Sparks, Senior (Was: Volunteer Seamstress or Tailor Needed ASAP)

65 years of new suits for 80-year-old Mardi Gras Indian
20th February 2012  By Geraldine Wyckoff
The Louisiana Weekly

Thomas Sparks Sr., the Big Chief of the Yellow Jacket Mardi Gras Indian gang, marks two momentous milestones this month. On February 17, 2012, he celebrated his 80th birthday and Carnival Day stands as the 65th anniversary of when he began masking Indian. He again has needle and thread in his calloused hand, sewing his suit for his appearance this Mardi Gras. When the Big Chief steps out with the Yellow Jackets, which he’s led since 1955, he’ll be the oldest Black Indian on the streets.
Read the whole article on the Louisiana Weekly website
Thanks to those who helped spread the word and who offered assistance. 
Yellow Jackets Big Chief Thomas Sparks requests the volunteer assistance of a local seamstress or tailor to sew his jumpsuit ASAP.

The Chief requires an all-in-one jumpsuit out of velvet. The Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame has a pattern, but it was cut to fit a small Indian; the Chief is 6'1".

At 80 years old, Big Chief Sparks is the oldest known Mardi Gras Indian still masking.

Please get in touch with Cherice Harrison-Nelson at xxx-xxx-xxxx if you can help.

UPDATE: Jockomo-fee-nahnay: A forum on Mardi Gras Indian history

The Music Industry Studies Program at Loyola University – New Orleans presents “Jockomo-fee-nahnay,” a forum about the history of the Mardi Gras Indians, at 5:00 pm on Monday, February 13, 2012 in Nunemaker Auditorium in Monroe Hall. Convened by Jim Gabour, professor of video technology, the forum will feature never-before-seen footage of some of New Orleans’ most legendary Indian tribes. The event is free and open to the public.

Jim Gabour is an award-winning film producer and director whose work focuses on music and the diversity of cultures. He began shooting interviews with and action footage of Mardi Gras Indians in the late 1970s.

In celebration of the Mardi Gras season, Gabour will screen and discuss clips including a 1986 interview on beading and suit-making with Bo Dollis, Big Chief of the Wild Magnolias; a “meeting of the tribes” at Tipitina’s in 1985 with the Big Chiefs of the Wild Magnolia, Golden Eagle, and Creole Wild West; and the Wild Magnolias performing with the Neville Brothers at the 1984 World’s Fair jazz and gospel tent.The forum will also feature footage of street runs, performances and interviews with three different chiefs of Wild Tchoupitoulas between 1978 and 1984, including Big Chief Jolly, the late George Landry.

Jim Gabour has made some of his vintage Indian video available via his YouTube Channel

More information about the forum via the Loyola University Newsroom

February 05, 2012

UPDATE: Indians and NOPD reach a Peace – New Orleans City Council meets Feburary 6, 2012 to address issue of New Orleans Police Department protocol for ritual ceremonies of Mardi Gras Indians

Uploaded by on Feb 21, 2010
Second and Dryades: Mardi Gras 2010 meetings of Mardi Gras Indians. This is part 2 of a 4-part 30-minute video. After the typical police interference, we see the arrival of the Golden Eagles with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Big Queen Mary, the Golden Eagles to Second and Dryades. With them are 101 Runners: the Uptown Bone Gang, Baby Dolls, Moss Men, various costumed Musicians. At the end is a touching meeting with Bo Dollis and Big Queen Rita.
Exclusive Video of Police Harassment of Mardi Gras Indians (March 10, 2010)
via Justice Roars, the Louisiana Justice Institute Blog

Big Chief Tootie Montana honored at the January 5, 2012 New Orleans City Council Meeting
Video from January 5, 2012 Council meeting featuring discussion of issues on the agenda of the February 6, 2012 meeting

Members and supporters of the Mardi Gras Indian community are invited to gather at 10:00 am on Monday, February 6, 2012 in the New Orleans City Council Chambers for a Governmental Affairs meeting convened to discuss New Orleans Police Department protocol for the ritual ceremonies carried out by the Mardi Gras Indian community on Mardi Gras, St. Joseph's Night, and during funerals. This meeting is a follow-up to the June 2005 meeting at which Big Chief Tootie Montana became an ancestor while standing up for the rights of Mardi Gras Indians.

UPDATE: Gambit Weekly livetweeted the meeting and posted this summary
NOPD, Mardi Gras Indians meet with City Council

Posted by Charles Maldonado on Mon, Feb 6, 2012 at 3:20 PM
The New Orleans Police Department says it will allow Mardi Gras Indian tribes to parade relatively unimpeded during Mardi Gras season and St. Joseph's Day this year, top police officials said at a meeting of City Council's Governmental Affairs Committee held today to discuss the relationship between the department and the Indians.

Representing the police at the meeting were Bouyelas, Criminal Justice Commissioner James Carter and all eight district commanders. NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas was unable to attend the meeting because he was in Indianapolis preparing for next year's Super Bowl in New Orleans, Councilwoman Susan Guidry said. Mardi Gras Indian representatives included Yellow Pocahontas Chief Darryl Montana, Sabrina Mays Montana (son and daughter-in-law, respectively, of legendary late Chief Allison "Tootie" Montana), Guardians of the Flame Big Queen Cherice Harrison Nelson, Creole Osceolas Chief Clarence Dalcour and longtime civil rights leader Jerome Smith.

Department leaders have agreed to end several long-held practices — most controversially, the practice of ordering Indians off the street at 6 p.m. on Mardi Gras day — that have led to a traditionally strained relationship between tribes and the department.

"There is no 6 p.m. law, no 6 p.m. rule," said NOPD Deputy Chief Kirk Bouyelas. Council Member Susan Guidry responded by polling the tribe members present as to whether they had either been subjected to or had witnessed others subjected to the practice. All responded in the affirmative.

"I give up 5,000 hours of my life per year [in preparation for Mardi Gras season and St. Joseph's day] only to be told to get off the streets," Darryl Montana said.
Creole Osceolas Chief Clarence Dalcour asked that police simply treat Indians like they do Mardi Gras parade krewes and late-night revelers.

"We look at this as something we do for the community," Dalcour said. "We are all paying tribute to the holiday in our own way ... I don't understand how it closes when the sun goes down for some people and not others."

Asked for a commitment not to enforce a 6 p.m. curfew on Mardi Gras Indians, Bouyelas at first balked, saying there needed to be further discussion before Mardi Gras and mentioning "permit issues." Bouyelas mention of permits drew an angry response from chiefs who pointed out that permits, which would necessitate tribes sticking to a specific, pre-determined route, undermined the very point of the tradition.

"There will be no permit There's never been a permit," Guidry said. Asked later by Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson-Palmer if police would commit to promising that "they won't be shut down at 6 p.m.," all present police officials agreed.

Bouyelas said NOPD had also agreed to stop following and corralling the tribes with their cars and not to flash their lights or sound their sirens at Mardi Gras Indians, allowing chiefs more autonomy to police their own tribes, welcome news to many present.
"We're working to make sure everyone has a great day ... We're one big family," Darryl Montana said.

Bouyelas also promised to identify and give out contact information for someone in the department who will act as "point person" for complaints about NOPD harassment of Indians on Mardi Gras and St. Joseph's Day.

Sixth District Commander Robert Bardy, whose Central City district was held up as the model for drastically improved relations between police and Mardi Gras Indians, said overall communication and cooperation had improved.

"We have gone incident-free in the past two years of this administration," Bardy said. "We have had no incidents in Central City."

Still, Bardy and others conceded that there is still room for improvement, which is why NOPD will soon be bringing chiefs in to help train incoming officers in the academy, Carter and Bouyelas said.

"We want to make sure that our officers are aware of the culture, that they're sensitive to it," Bouyelas said.


UPDATE: FOX 8 coverage of the meeting: "Mardi Gras Indians Resolve Concerns with NOPD". Evening broadcast, Feburary 6, 2012


UPDATE: New Orleans Times-Picayune coverage: "Mardi Gras Indian tribes, New Orleans police establish peace pact" Published Monday, February 06, 2012 at 7:12 PM 


UPDATE: WWL-TV coverage: "Indians, NOPD work to improve relationship during Carnival." Posted February 6, 2012 at 8:32 PM


UPDATE: WDSU-TV coverage: "Mardi Gras Indians Concerned About NOPD Relations." Posted February 6, 2012 at 11:20 PM


UPDATE: AP Wire story: "Police, Indian groups reach Mardi Gras agreement." Posted Feb. 7, 2012, 6:09 PM CST

UPDATE: Watch City of New Orleans video of the entire February 6, 2012 meeting via the Big Red Cotton YouTube channel


February 01, 2012

Spotlight on the Red Flame Hunters

All good wishes to our young brothers and sisters of the Red Flame Hunters as they finish up their new suits! Thanks to them for showing leadership and initiative in educating about the culture and building community via their Kickstarter and social media campaign.

UPDATE:  "Young Mardi Gras Indians, Red Flame Hunters, work on their suits" by Annette Sisco for The Times-Picayune. Published: Thursday, February 09, 2012, 11:11 AM

January 31, 2012

SNAPSHOT: 1930s Style Indian Suit


Unknown Mardi Gras Indian poses with Carnival revelers
outside the Whitney Bank on St. Charles Avenue, 1930s

Photographer unknown. Photo shared with the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame by
EnRapturing ReVisions/Costumes and Body Art.

January 05, 2012

WATCH: Big Chief Tootie Montana honored at the January 5, 2012 New Orleans City Council Meeting

City of New Orleans video via
On Jan. 5, 2012, members of the New Orleans City Council, members of the Montana family, members of the Yellow Pocahontas, Mardi Gras Indians from many other tribes, supporters, and friends gathered in the City Council chambers to pay tribute to the legacy of Allison Marcel Montana, "Big Chief Tootie," "Chief of Chiefs," and Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas Mardi Gras Indian tribe. The first day of Mardi Gras will now be recognized in the City of New Orleans as Tootie Montana Day.

In their comments before the Council, members of the Yellow Pocahontas and the Montana family honored the late Chief by addressing, educating about, and continuing to seek resolution of the long-running conflict between city authorities and the Mardi Gras Indians.

January 04, 2012

January 6 is Allison "Big Chief Tootie" Montana Day in the City of New Orleans

Photo copyright John McCusker

 At 10:00 am Thursday, January 5, 2012 a resolution
was read in City Council Chambers reaffirming the 2009
proclamation declaring that each January 6 is to be 
Allison "Big Chief Tootie" Montana Day
in the City of New Orleans.


The Montana family will lay a wreath
at the Chief's statue in Armstrong Park
at 4:00 pm on Friday, January 6, 2012.


From 5:00-7:00 pm, The Golden Feather
on Rampart Street
will screen documentaries about
Mardi Gras Indian culture and tradition.

All Indians, supporters, and friends are invited to join the
family and the Yellow Pocahontas at all events.

On June 27, 2005, Allison “Big Chief Tootie” Montana, a cultural warrior and leader, tragically passed away while he was addressing the New Orleans City Council on the unwarranted, violent, and illegal assault on Mardi Gras Indians, neighborhood residents, senior citizens, and children. Big Chief Tootie was in the middle of recounting half of a century of history of police harassment and abuse when stricken. His last words were “I want this to stop.”

Television news cameras captured his fall as the chiefs and others who loved and respected him took up the hymn “Indian Red.”

After his passing, the public hearing was originally scheduled to reconvene in September of 2005 but, because of Hurricane Katrina, the levee breach, and the aftermath, a hearing was never rescheduled. Today, establishing the first day of Carnival/Mardi Gras as the Allison “Big Chief Tootie” Montana Day will serve as impetus for conversations among members of the New Orleans City Council, City Administration, the New Orleans Police Department, and all Cultural Bearers, namely, the Mardi Gras Indians, to address the lack of understanding and appreciation for indigenous traditions unique to our city. Most importantly, these conversations, along with policies and procedures regarding culture and traditional practices will end the harassment, disrespect, and cruelty exhibited by some police officers.

Seven years after his passing, those same cruelties Big Chief Tootie spoke of continue today. It must stop!

Allison “Big Chief Tootie” Montana died a warrior’s death in council chambers fighting for the respect of a cultural tradition that defines the City of New Orleans. Today the Indian community hopes the city will provide real and lasting protection and respect for the indigenous traditions of the Mardi Gras Indians and all Cultural Bearers as well as develop a profound understanding of those they aim to serve and see the world as the cultural community sees it. The Mardi Gras Indian community, supporters, friends and family of Allison "Big Chief Tootie” Montana appreciates the leadership and commitment of the New Orleans City Council. Collectively, we look forward to the city taking more permanent action to ensure that the sacred tradition is forever respected and protected. Moreover, the yearly acknowledgement and celebration of the legacy of Allison “Big Chief Tootie” Montana will spark the interest of the young, perpetuate the “Masking Indian” tradition, and ensure full protection and respect for New Orleans indigenous cultural traditions.

Sabrina Mays-Montana, Founder and President
Faces of Culture/Allison Montana Institute of Art, Culture, and Tradition
and Yellow Pocahontas Mardi Gras Indian Tribe


A Tribute To Big Chief Allison "Tootie" Montana's 50 Years Of Mardi Gras Indian Suiting



WHY MESS WITH ME? (Interview)


Gambit Weekly,
July 11, 2005

New York Times, July 11, 2005

Gambit Weekly, July 26, 2005

Official Site for

the 2006 film by Lisa Katzman

December 15, 2011

Cultural Exchange Pavilion at 2012 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to feature arts and practices of Mardi Gras Indians

Semolian Warriors perform on the Jazz and Heritage Stage
at the 2011 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 
 Video by kpsoundadvice from the crowd 

From "Eagles, Tom Petty to perform at 2012 Jazz Fest"
by Stacey Plaisance, Associated Press

The Mardi Gras Indians will be given an entire pavilion to showcase their photos, costumes, and music, [Quint] Davis said.
Davis said the HBO television series "Treme" brought national attention to the Mardi Gras Indians, so next year the festival plans to include a lecture series, costume demonstrations and a photo display showing the history of the Mardi Gras Indian culture in New Orleans.

"'Treme' was probably the first national look at the Mardi Gras Indians," Davis said. "Millions of people saw that for the first time, and it generated interest. It made more people aware."
The lineup will include performances by the Mardi Gras Indians as well as the city's popular brass bands.

The Cultural Exchange Pavilion is a wonderful addition to the Mardi Gras Indian performances on the Jazz and Heritage Stage and the daily infield parades.

Visit the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival site for updates about the Cultural Exchange Pavilion programs and to plan your personalized Fest schedule.

We look forward to seeing you out there April 27-May 6, 2012!

December 08, 2011

Yellow Pocahontas Flagboy Charles "Bubblegum" Robertson has become an ancestor

Charles "Bubblegum" Robertson, Flagboy of the Yellow Pocahontas, has become an ancestor.

Indian practices in his honor will take place at 5 pm on Friday, December 9 and at 7 pm on Sunday, December 11 at The Cultural Cafe at 1300 St. Bernard Avenue in New Orleans.

Participants are requested to bring their tambourines.

Obituary and funeral coverage from Offbeat Magazine:
Memorial for Flagboy Charles Anthony “Bubblegum” Robertson of the Yellow Pocahontas (Photos by Kim Welsh)

The Yellow Pocahontas Mardi Gras Indian tribe paid respect to its late Flagboy, Charles Anthony “Bubblegum” Robertson, on Saturday, December 17 at a funeral service at Charbonnet-Labat-Glapion Funeral Home in Treme.

Born on September 19, 1955 in New Orleans, Robertson graduated from McDonogh #35 High School and worked for the Sewerage & Water Board for over 20 years. Since Hurricane Katrina, he had lived in San Antonio, Texas, where he passed away on Tuesday, December 6 in his home.

Big Chief Darryl Montana, the son and successor of the great Tootie Montana, and other members of the Yellow Pocahontas, as well as Big Chief Victor Harris, Spirit of FiYiYi and other Mardi Gras Indians were present at the funeral service. After the hearse left the funeral home, a procession led by the Indians marched to the Treme Center.