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Old Jan 9, 2005, 10:30 AM
John Doheny John Doheny is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 1,062
Chickee Le Pas. Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras arrives early this year, Febuary 8th. I've already wolfed down my first piece of King Cake at the music department on Thurday (I didn't get the baby, thank God).

This year, I'm lucky enough to be living in serious "Indian" country, the 13th Ward, home of the Wild Tchoupitoulas. In working class neighborhoods like ours, "carnival season" starts way back around September when members of the various Indian gangs get together to sew a new suit for the next years Carnival Day. My wife Darlene thinks the sight of middle-aged men traipsing off to each others houses for sewing parties is cute beyond description.

Ever since late fall, whenever I've passed by the Rock Bottom Lounge on Tchoupitoulas St. of a weekend, I've heard the chants and singing of "Indian Practise" coming from within, accompanied by homemade percussion playing on bottles, ashtrays, plastic buckets and sometimes the side of the building. Traditional songs like "Indian Red" and "Hu Ta Ney" (supposedly a corruption of the French "Ou Tendais") are now joined with new jams like "Old Time Indian" and "New Suit."

The old line white crews in the ritzy parts of town are swinging into party mode, which means a spate of "tuxedo gigs' for guys like me, but frankly I find the street Mardi Gras stuff much more interesting. It blows me away to be able to step out my front gate right into this incredibly rich vernacular culture of music, costume and food.

Last edited by John Doheny : Jan 9, 2005 at 11:00 AM.
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