What is the most famous tradition that New Orleans is known for worldwide?
Most of us grew up in Mardi Gras culture and lived for Super Sunday. Being young, waking up early on Fat Tuesday to go catch Zulu and fight for a coconut. Or being a teenager and waking up on Tuesday and styling yourself head to toe like its fashion week in Paris. But do we ever think deeper than that?
A quick google search will tell you that New Orleanians “mask” or dress up as “Native Americans” because we are paying homage to them.
Some Native Americans gave refuge to African runaway slaves. While that is true, slavery records show that only a small percentage of the millions of African slaves actually was brought to America. Most African slaves were brought to South American and the Caribbean Islands.
If this is true then how do we accurately account for the millions of black people in America?
In a well know book called “They Came Before Columbus” by Ivan Van Sertima, he provides factual evidence that Africans did in fact come to America before Columbus. What does this have to do with New Orleans? We have a parade where black men and women don beautifully crafted Indian suits, over thousands of hours of work. Do New Orleanians “mask” to keep alive a hidden fact of history? Is New Orleans the proof that we came before Columbus? Big Chief Demond and I believe so.