They’re known as Mardi Gras Indians but they have always been Black Indians or just the Indians. They are as old as New Orleans, born out of Maroon communities that first sheltered the indigenous people and took advantage of the liberal racial attitudes of New Orleans to carve out their place, albeit still poor and marginalized. They gave the world music and dance, masks, and costumes of spectacular color. Mostly they gave themselves pride and honor.

For a look at the history and culture, The Jazz River takes you inside the raw and the polished fonk that is the Mardi Gras Indians. Tune in on Sunday, March 6 at 5 pm with Matthew Goldwasser.

Picture credits: this page-WGNO, homepage-Pableaux Johnson

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