One of my favorite days of the year in New Orleans, and one that may be the hardest to explain to non-locals, is Super Sunday.
I’ve been lucky to have made acquaintances with a couple of Mardi Gras Indians and I’ve researched their history and jargon so as not to embarrass myself or the Indians (or set a bad example for those around me).
If an Indian makes eye contact with me and poses, that means that he or she is allowing me to take a photo and I thank them for it; contrarily, if he or she breaks eye contact, makes a bad face or turns his or her back, I put away my camera and thank them as well. I don’t get in the way when they need to walk more quickly. I try to stay aware of where the Spy Boy, Flag Boy and Witch Doctor are all at times. (I mean, you wouldn’t step in front of a Mardi Gras float in motion or walk into a movie shoot to ask for a photo with a celebrity, would you?) And, I make certain to tell the prettiest just how pretty they are.
I was also lucky enough to see a very young tribe interact with an older, more established tribe. It took my breath away and made me tear up and laugh, all at the same time. I am so very happy that New Orleans’ unique traditions are thriving.
This year a good friend of my husband’s and mine (next blog will be on the wedding, I promise) brought his wife and three young daughters to Super Sunday with us. The middle daughter, who’s 5, asked me why we were there. I replied that each of the people walking by had most probably spent at least a year hand-creating the beautiful suits they were wearing, and our job was to tell them how pretty they are. “Now that I can do!” she said.
Next year I promise to get names and tribes for these photos, but in the meantime if you recognize any of these 40-odd Mardi Gras Indians, please let me know their name and/or tribe in the comments. Also, feel free to discuss amongst yourselves who you think is prettiest – I can never choose.