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Margaret Abrams

While the majority of Tulane students celebrate the Uptown Mardi Gras Parades every year, far less are aware of and even fewer attend the Mardi Gras Indian parades. While Mardi Gras Indians were once a more underground tradition, in recent years their popularity has increased, especially with the popularity of the show “Treme” (in which one of the show’s main characters is a Mardi Gras Indian chief). The Mardi Gras Indian Tribes are a group of men who spend the year creating enormous ornate feathered and beaded costumes that represent their shared experience of oppression.

While small tribes of Indians can be seen on Tulane’s campus from time to time, it is much different to see them on their own stomping grounds. The Indians battle with rivals, doing call-and-response chants that helped to create the bounce music that’s popular around the city today– their songs have influenced everyone from Lil Wayne to Mystikal. There are tribes all over the city, with Mardi Gras morning routes Uptown and Downtown. A couple good spots to catch a Mardi Gras Indian procession are the Treme, near the Backstreet Cultural Museum, and in Central City on your way back from Zulu. The Mardi Gras Indians parade also on St. Joseph’s Day, which is March 19th. This year, it’s set to begin on Washington Avenue and LaSalle Street.

Whether you are a freshman experiencing Mardi Gras for the first time or a senior who feels like they’ve seen it all, this is a parade worth seeing. It’s easy for Mardi Gras to feel repetitive, but this event is something that not even all New Orleanians get to experience. Step outside of the Uptown parade route and experience something new this Mardi Gras season.


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