Mardi Gras Indians on display at Jazz Fest

  • Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War"

    Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War"

    Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War"

    Every year, two rival parishes on the northern Greek island of Chios fire handmade rockets at each other's bell towers to celebrate Orthodox Easter. (April 19) …

  • Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster

    Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster

    Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster

    The captain of the Sewol Ferry was arrested on Saturday under charges of negligence and abandoning passengers when the ship started to sink. Two other crew members were also arrested. (April 19) …

  • AP Top Stories April 19 P

    AP Top Stories April 19 P

    AP Top Stories April 19 P

    Here's the latest news for Saturday, April 19th: Captain arrested in South Korea ferry disaster; 13th body recovered from Mount Everest avalanche; French journalists freed from Syria; 19th anniversary of Oklahoma City bombing. …

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Mardi Gras Indians have been parading at Carnival and Louisiana festivals for generations, but growing interest in their culture has the dancing, costumed Indians on display in a new way at this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Hurricane Katrina and the HBO television series "Treme" put a national spotlight on the Indians — African-American troupes who dress in ornate costumes.

The growing interest couldn't be ignored, said Jazz Fest producer Quint Davis.

The Indians have been showcased at Jazz Fest for more than 40 years. But this year, they have an entire pavilion to display their costumes, explain their culture and demonstrate how they create elaborate headdresses and aprons.

"They've come so far in the way of public awareness, and this display gives the world an opportunity to meet them and get to know what their culture is all about," Davis said.

Davis said even before Katrina in 2005, the Indians were gaining attention. Some tribes — including the Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias — did recordings of their music.

"For the last 10 to 20 years they've been out there, but with 'Treme' they've gotten more exposure," Davis said, recalling a scene in the series of a lone Mardi Gras Indian in full dress walking down a flood-ravaged street still dark from the months-long power outage that followed the storm. "It was a very searing, endearing image."

"Treme" stars, writers and producers met with fans at a music store in the French Quarter on Wednesday. They signed copies of the show's just-released second season on DVD. The show, which tells true-to-life Katrina experiences through fictional characters, is taping its third season.

Wendell Pierce, a New Orleans native who plays a jazz musician on the show, said even he didn't know much about the Mardi Gras Indian culture until later in life. The culture stems from a working-class black culture that was largely a mystery to many New Orleanians, "even me," he said.

Tyrone Casby, big chief of the Mohawk Hunters tribe, said HBO didn't get every detail right, but it doesn't really matter.

"It showed that there is another culture here, or a subculture, more than just the floats and the Bourbon Street of Mardi Gras," Casby said.

The traditions began generations ago when black communities were unable to participate in traditional Mardi Gras parades because of segregation. It led to the creation of their own neighborhood-based Mardi Gras traditions.

There are numerous theories about the Indians' roots. Some say they stemmed from mutual respect between Africans and Native Americans in southern Louisiana. Some say it was a tribute to New Orleans area Indians who helped runaway slaves.

"That's almost neither here nor there because the art and the history are moving forward anyway," said Clarke Peters, the actor who plays a Mardi Gras Indian on "Treme."

Peters said playing a Mardi Gras Indian, and the research he's done on Native American and African culture to prepare for the role, has changed his life.

"I feel that playing it is opening up a part of my psyche, a part of my spirit that has been dormant for a long time," he said. "It's rekindling my faith in the value of culture."

Pierce said the second line organizations that included Mardi Gras Indians were formed, in part, out of necessity "out of an ugly time when segregation was happening ... to keep an economic engine happening in the community at a difficult time."

The Mardi Gras Indians also represented pride of neighborhood, Pierce said.

"It shows you the role of culture, how culture is to the community an important venue to show who you are," he said.

Besides Mardi Gras, the Indians parade through the streets of New Orleans the weekend before St. Joseph's Day, in March, and at events such as Jazz Fest.

They spend months making elaborate costumes and headdresses with colorful beads and feathers in a style influenced by the Native Americans who originally populated the New Orleans area. Katrina wiped out many of the Mardi Gras Indians' homes and costumes. They've been working for years to replace those lost or destroyed in the flood.

For the Jazz Fest display, the Indians will be sewing patches and suits and beading hats while talking to fest-goers. The display is in the festival's Cultural Exchange Pavilion, which is usually reserved for displays and performances unique to countries such as South Africa, Martinique, Brazil and Haiti.

The pavilion is located near Congo Square, the stage named after the area of New Orleans where slaves once gathered on Sundays to play music and celebrate their culture.

Jazz Fest continues through Sunday with about 200 musical acts, including the Eagles, My Morning Jacket, Herbie Hancock, Foo Fighters and the Neville Brothers.

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily entertainment updates.

  • Kumpulan pop 1990-an popular
    Hana Ahmad - Tupai
    Kumpulan pop 1990-an popular 7 hours ago
    Kumpulan pop 1990-an popular

    Dunia muzik tahun 1990-an dipenuhi dengan kumpulan pop lelaki dan wanita seperti Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, Hanson, Boyzone dan banyak lagi! …

  • Hans Isaac bakal arah filem antarabangsa
    Azizah Saleh - Tupai
    Hans Isaac bakal arah filem antarabangsa 7 hours ago
    Hans Isaac bakal arah filem antarabangsa

    Pengarah serta penerbit berbakat, Hans bakal mengarahkan filem berbahasa Inggeris. …

  • Dari Hallyu ke Hollywood
    Syahida Kamarudin - Tupai
    Dari Hallyu ke Hollywood Sat, Apr 19, 2014 12:16 AM MYT
    Dari Hallyu ke Hollywood

    Para pelakon Korea Selatan yang berjaya menempa nama dalam industri filem Hollywood. …

  • Tori Spelling 'fighting for marriage'
    Cover Media
    Tori Spelling 'fighting for marriage' 23 hours ago
    Tori Spelling 'fighting for marriage'

    Tori Spelling is said to believe she can cure Dean McDermott's "cheating ways". …

  • Nicki Minaj 'wants wedding in a hot tub'
    Cover Media
    Nicki Minaj 'wants wedding in a hot tub' Sat, Apr 19, 2014 11:00 AM MYT
    Nicki Minaj 'wants wedding in a hot tub'

    Nicki Minaj reportedly plans to have fire breathers and "naked performers" at her wedding. …

  • Tidur lena dengan SleepPhones
    Azwa Iela - Tupai
    Tidur lena dengan SleepPhones 7 hours ago
    Tidur lena dengan SleepPhones

    SleepPhones dapat membantu anda untuk mengatasi masalah-masalah yang tidak diingini ketika tidur. …

  • Kebaikan air kacang soya
    Azwa Iela - Tupai
    Kebaikan air kacang soya Sat, Apr 19, 2014 12:18 AM MYT
    Kebaikan air kacang soya

    Ramai yang mungkin suka minum air kacang soya, namun ramaikah yang tahu akan khasiat atau kebaikan kacang soya ini? …

  • Tips penjagaan bawah lengan
    Azwa Iela - Tupai
    Tips penjagaan bawah lengan Fri, Apr 18, 2014 11:20 AM MYT
    Tips penjagaan bawah lengan

    Di sini kami ingin berkongsi dengan golongan wanita di luar sana beberapa tips berguna untuk mendapatkan bawah lengan yang cerah. …

  • Danish website turns homes into take-away restaurants
    Soren Billing - AFP News
    Danish website turns homes into take-away restaurants 1 hour 30 minutes ago
    Danish website turns homes into take-away restaurants

    A Danish website is turning private homes into take-away restaurants by letting users advertise what they are cooking, when and for what price. It depends on what I'm making and how much time I have," said Ana Teresa Salas, a 32-year-old consultant from Copenhagen. …

  • Dapatkah Pelat Dipulihkan?
    Yahoo Newsroom
    Dapatkah Pelat Dipulihkan? Thu, Sep 19, 2013 1:54 PM MYT
    Dapatkah Pelat Dipulihkan?

    Pelat bukanlah disebabkan oleh lidah yang pendek. Apakah punca pelat? …

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.