Reggie & The Big Chief
My friend Laura Cayouette, one of the stars of DJANGO UNCHAINED, already blogged about this awesome day, so I’ll just use some of her words:
Then the moment we’d been waiting for arrived as Mardi Gras Indians from the tribes of Wild Magnolias, Fi Yi Yi and the Mohawk Hunters battled in the Square. At first it was hard to see anything more than brightly colored plumes rising up through the crowd. Then, they started winding their way through the people and passed right by me in all their beaded glory. Reggie had wanted to experience the Indians since seeing a documentary on them in the late 70′s. Now, he said, he could cross that off his bucket list.
Then, because it was a perfect day, we came across Big Chief Fi Yi Yi, Victor Harris, standing next to his suit surrounded by band members in matching turquoise and white outfits. Not only did I get to study his intricate beadwork up close and personal, he let me hold the suit to feel the weight. As readers of this blog know, I’ve always had the deepest respect for the detail-oriented craftsmanship of these suits, but holding that suit, it was clearly about half my body weight (without the beaded boots, cuffs and huge headdress). Beyond the tenacity and commitment it takes to craft one of these suits, I gained a whole new understanding of the physical stamina and commitment it takes to wear that hot, heavy suit while dancing and chanting for miles. Wow. As Reggie held the suit then put his arm around the Chief for a photo, I thought he could scratch “see the Mardi Gras Indians” off his bucket list with indelible marker.
I also got to see the ReBirth Brass Band, who combine cascading horn lines over a raw dog funky beat creating an experience that hits you in all your chakras.
This shot of me and Laura’s guy Andy was unusual in that I was making the stink face of funk enjoyment most of the set.