I promised myself I'd blog about Mardi Gras Day, especially more writing about the glory, splendor and significance of Mardi Gras Indians (and with photos). Life, work, and computer glitches conspired thus far. I will however, get that stuff up soon. Been working on a piece about David Simon's HBO series "Treme," soon to run in the Village Voice.
But Katy Reckdahl's piece
in today's New Orleans Times-Picayune alerted me to some Mardi Gras Day developments I'd missed--a continuation of ongoing tensions between the Indians and the New Orleans Police Department. This is must reading for anyone who cares about the continuing storyline of what those beads and feathers mean, and how embattled traditional culture remains in NOLA.
Here's how it starts:
As seven New Orleans police cars converged on the corner of Second and Dryades streets on Mardi Gras night, Big Chief James Harris of the Seminole Warriors grabbed for the five youngest members of his Mardi Gras Indian tribe, all of them younger than 6.
Holding up his feathered purple, green and yellow wing, Harris tried to slow the cars, but they kept moving through the thick crowd of parading Indians and spectators, sirens blaring and tires squealing.
Harris said he barely was able to pull the children to the sidewalk. "They were scared," he said. "One ran this way and the other ran that way."
All of this of course figures into what I have to say about Simon's show (and in fact, figures into his show). And I still cling to the promise of the moment in May when C. Ray Nagin leaves office and Mitch Landrieu takes over as mayor: Hoping for change in the long history of dysfunction between the city and its culture-bearers may brand me naive, but I'm looking for some enlightened direction from City Hall come June.
(The picture at top is one of mine from MG Day: Big Chief Donald Harrison of Congo Nation. More to come.)