When I was a little girl, I remember not being able to sleep after being told stories about giant skeletons walking through New Orleans’ streets with bloody animal parts (particularly roosters who did not cock-a-doodle-doo because the Skeleton Men killed them) before the sunrise on Mardi Gras Day. I used to be scared as hell. I couldn’t sleep because I was worried about the Skull and Bone Gang showing up on my doorstep or peeking through my window with a bloody rooster in hand. I thought up the most gruesome tallest skeleton man would yank me out of my bed with his blood-covered skeleton hands off to some newly opened grave at some of the hidden New Orleans path cemetery for the devil (it never happened, lol). Still, tonight I’m up worried about not waking up to chanting, bell ringing, and the Gang drumming. They would sing:
“Wake up, wake up, do not be late. It’s Mardi Gras Morning. To celebrate!”
“Young and old got to go. Make your move to change your life now, or else you will become like me.”
“If you do not stop your killing, you are going to have to come with me. If you do not stop your lying, you are going to have to come with me…”
Unlike the scared little girl of yesterday who couldn’t sleep because I was frightened, tonight I’m worried about not hearing the songs of the Skull and Bone Gang. I’m also concerned about the culture and traditions of New Orleans. Our ancestors endured so hard for us to have this precious legacy. I view it all like a treasured keepsake that I’m entrusted with to pass down to the next generation.
I do not blame our Mayor for putting us first. Nooo, I blamed Coronavirus and the weather. Either way, you cut it; we can’t blame her; either way, we would end up inside. I’m pretending it’s so damn cold and rainy the parades were canceled.
But a part of me wishes that these scary-looking cultural bears dressed as flesh-eating skeletons would knock on my door if only #fortheculture. If it wasn’t so cold, they could actually pull it off if they were to walk the route without meeting up at the Backstreet Museum. I believe this will be their 202nd year waking up in New Orleans. But just in case their goolish threats don’t wake ya up, “Wake Up, New Orleans, it’s still Mardi Gras!!!”
Dee, NOLA Chic
Mardi Gras 2016 6:00 AM Skull & Bones
5 years ago
The Northside Skull and Bones Gang wakes up the Treme neighborhood early on Mardi Gras morning. The Skull and Bones reminds people of their mortality and encourages people to live good lives or suffer the consequences of becoming skull and bones themselves. It is also a time to honor the dead and ancestors.
See the rest of our Mardi Gras 2016 video diary here: vimeopro.com/wwoz/mardi-gras-diary-2016/
I happily stumbled upon the blog entry below written by the photojournalist, Federicaville. I was quite surprised that a “visitor” and I, a New Orleans native, had almost mirroring feelings about waking up to the Skull and Bones Gang on Mardi Gras Day. Well, early in the morning. She has some stunning photographs of the Gang that the world should see
You may not think it’s pleasant to be awaken by strange men dressed up in skeleton costumes, knocking at your door with a dead pig leg at 7 in the morning. But in New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day this is the tradition and just about everyone loves it. Chris and I set the alarm […]The Skull and Bone Gang wakes you up on Mardi Gras day…