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History of the Creole Wild West

Mardi Gras Indians

Creole Wild West - the oldest Mardi Gras Indian tribe

How far back to they go?

Don't answer so quick.

It's popular to say that the Mardi Gras Indian movement started in reaction to a visit by Buffalo Bill's "Wild West Show" to New Orleans.

That may have given some costume ideas, sure - but the source of the spirit of the thing? You've got to be kidding.

Recently, official reference to this tribe has be discovered as far back as the early part of the 1800s.

Remember, the "Wild West" was a moving boundary. It used to be upstate New York, then the Ohio Valley. Louisiana surely had its turn. All long before the Marlboro man.

Anyway, I caught this last night at the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities' Turner Hall on Lafayette Street.

This performance was followed by a panel featuring leaders of the tribe.

What an experience!

Here's a thin, electronic slice. Come out and see the real thing sometime.


The History of the Creole Wild West, as Told by Themselves
Bruce Boyd Raeburn (Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University), moderator

A panel discussion and oral history project presented by the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Council, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, and the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago.

The event will feature a live performance from the Creole Wild West, the oldest of New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian tribes, followed by a panel with tribe members to discuss their history, practices, and the current state of the culture.

Saturday, April 19th, 8 p.m.
The Louisiana Humanities Center at Turners' Hall
938 Lafayette Street
New Orleans, Lousiana

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