New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indians return for Super Sunday 2022! 

Mardi Gras Indians or Black Masking Indians consist of several dozen individual tribes that flood the streets with spectacular handmade suits adorned with feathers, sequins, and beads three times—on St. Joseph’s Night (March 19), Mardi Gras day, and Super Sunday (the third Sunday of March).

Traditionally, these were the only times Mardi Gras Indians were seen in the city. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival began the practice of hiring tribes to appear at the Festival as well. These days you will find Mardi Gras Indians at many celebrations and events all over New Orleans. The Indians host educational programs and work private events.

Super Sunday is an annual gathering of New Orleans Black Masking Indian Tribes celebrating their heritage and culture in a magnificent display of hand-sewn suits, singing, dancing, and chanting. The festival is free and open to the public.

Uptown Super Sunday is the first of these celebrations. It will happen on Sunday, March 20, centered around A.L. Davis Park (Washington Ave. and LaSalle St.).

Sunday, March 20, 2022 – 12:00 pm

A.L. Davis Park

2699 LaSalle St
New Orleans, LA 70113
  • START: LaSalle St. & Washington Ave. (A.L. Davis Park)
  • Proceed down LaSalle St.
  • Left on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (against traffic)
  • Left on S. Claiborne Ave. (against traffic)
  • Left on Washington Ave.
  • END: Washington Ave. & LaSalle St. (A.L. Davis Park)

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Super Sunday 2022 Event

The New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Council has announced official route info and the music lineup for Super Sunday events.

Super Sunday 2022 falls on March 20th, 2022, after St. Joseph’s Night. Mardi Gras Indians from throughout the New Orleans area parade through Uptown, typically beginning around A.L. Davis Park. The procession starts around 1 p.m., with a festival in the park starting at 11 a.m., with food trucks and vendors on surrounding streets.

The daytime parades make the Indians accessible to the general public and allow visitors and locals to admire their incredible costumes, crowns, and accessories. If time permits, make it a point to participate in this unique New Orleans tradition.

The Tribes also take to the streets on St. Joseph’s night on Saturday, March 19th.

History

Mardi Gras Indians have been parading in New Orleans since the mid-19th century, possibly before. The history of the Mardi Gras Indians is shrouded in mystery and folklore

In 1740, New Orleans’ Congo Square was a cultural center for African music and dance. New Orleans was more liberal than many Southern cities, and on Sundays, enslaved Africans gathered to sing folk songs, play traditional music, and dance. A Northern observer recounted the lively parties as being “indescribable. The idea of letting loose and embracing traditional African music and dance is a backbone of the Mardi Gras Indians’ practice.

On Mardi Gras in 1885, fifty to sixty Plains Indians marched in the native dress on the streets of New Orleans.“The Creole Wild West” Mardi Gras Indians was formed that same year. It’s said that the tribe was most likely composed of members of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, but the masking culture predates this information. There are written accounts as early as 1805 of African American dancers with face and body paint; some dressed in various animal feathers, horns, and tails on Sundays in Congo Square.

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www-themardigrasindiancouncil-com

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Tribes of the Mardi Gras Indian Nation

Collectively, their organizations are called “Tribes or Gangs.” There are about 38 tribes. They range in size from half a dozen to several dozen members. The groups are largely independent, but a pair of umbrella organizations loosely coordinate the Uptown Indians and the Downtown Indians.

  • 7th Ward Creole Hunters
  • 7th Ward Hard Headers
  • 7th Ward Hunters
  • 9th Ward Hunters
  • Algiers Warriors 1.5
  • Apache Hunters
  • Black Cherokee
  • Black Eagles
  • Black Feather
  • Black Hawk Hunters
  • Black Mohawks
  • Black Seminoles
  • Blackfoot Hunters
  • Burning Spears
  • Carrollton Hunters
  • Cheyenne Hunters
  • Chippewa Hunters
  • Choctaw Hunters
  • Comanche Hunters
  • Congo Nation
  • Creole Osceola
  • Creole Wild West
  • Flaming Arrows
  • Geronimo Hunters
  • Golden Arrows
  • Golden Blades
  • Golden Comanche
  • Golden Eagles
  • Golden Star Hunters
  • Guardians of the Flame
  • Hard Head Hunters
  • Louisiana Star Choctaw Nation
  • Mandingo Warriors
  • Mohawk Hunters
  • Monogram Hunters
  • Morning Star Hunters
  • Northside Skull and Bones Gang
  • Red Hawk Hunters
  • Red Flame Hunters
  • Red White and Blue
  • Seminole Hunters
  • Seminole (Mardi Gras Indian Tribe)
  • Spirit of FiYiYi (aka Fi-Yi-Yi)
  • Trouble Nation
  • Unified Nation
  • Uptown Warriors
  • Washitaw Nation
  • White Cloud Hunters
  • White Eagles
  • Wild Apache
  • Wild Bogacheeta
  • Wild Tchoupitoulas
  • Wild Magnolias
  • Wild Mohicans
  • Yellow Pocahontas
  • Yellow Jackets
  • Young Navaho
  • Young Brave Hunters
  • Young Monogram Hunters
  • Young Cheyenne
  • Young Seminole Hunter

The Mardi Gras Indians play various traditional roles. The procession begins with “Spy Boy,” dressed in light “running suits” that allow them the freedom to move quickly in case of emergency.

Next comes the “First Flag,” an ornately dressed Indian carrying a token tribe flag. Closest to the “Big Chief” is the “Wild Man,” who usually carries a symbolic weapon.

Finally, there’s the “Big Chief.” The “Big Chief” decides the route to meet other tribes. Traditionally, the path was kept secret to prevent or ambush another gang. But today, the gang typically walks in the footsteps of their ancestors. They only stray off course unless it’s absolutely necessary. The entire tribe is followed by drummers, family, friends, neighbors, and anyone who wants to join.

When two tribes come across each other, they engage in a symbolic fight. Each tribe lines up, and the “Big Chiefs” introduce themselves and their Queen in their native tongue while showing off their suits. During this time, there’s chanting, war dancing, and the beating of drums. The end is marked with Big Chiefs shaking hands and the Big Queens embracing as the tribe crosses paths.

Years ago, this interaction would have resulted in violence, but today the battle is all about “Killing em dead with needle and thread. It’s a battle of the suits, who is the “Prettiest.” I’m told that hearing an elder Big Chief tell another member that he is ” Pretty” is priceless. It’s a badge of honor and affirmation that his Big Chief recognizes his ability to carry on their treasured legacy.

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