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Mardi Gras Indians
(Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Mardi Gras Indians are black carnival revelers in New Orleans, LA, who dress up for Mardi Gras in suits influenced by Native American ceremonial apparel.  Collectively, their organizations are called "tribes."  Mardi Gras Indian suits can weigh upwards of one hundred pounds.  A suit usually takes between six and nine months to plan and complete.  Each Indian designs and creates his or her own suit; elaborate bead patches depict meaningful and symbolic scenes.  Beads, feathers, and sequins are integral parts of a Mardi Gras Indian suit.  Uptown New Orleans tribes tend to have more sculptural and abstract African-inspired suits; downtown tribes have more pictorial suits with heavy Native American influences.
Mardi Gras Indians
at Jazzfest
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 
"I am drawn to the music, food, heritage, and  festive spirits  of N'awlins.  The party never stops in the Crescent City—but it's more than just parties.  The culture in New Orleans values art and music and dance and history like no other city in America.  Mardi Gras Indians embody this spirit.  They are exceptional Americans who wear their unique sense of liberty and history on their sleeves (and on every other part of their body).   There may be no one else in this land who so expressively and generously shows off and shares their self-made traditions of art, fashion, music, and dance.  I am grateful to each proud person depicted in these pictures.  They may be my pictures, but it's all about them."  
- Gabriel Barkin
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