2009 – Present – Big Chief Jermaine “Jigga” Bossier
Big Chief Jermaine “Jigga” Bossier was bitten by the masking bug at the age of 6. As he says, “it was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen”. It wasn’t until the age of fourteen that he was able join in the culture. Chiefs’ father and grandfather were musicians. His grandfather Raymond Lewis’ song, “Imma Put Some Hurt on You”, was covered by the Neville Brothers and he appeared on American Bandstand. His father was in a band in late 70’s early 80’s called Soul Dimension. Chief himself played baritone in the band and sang in the choir. His mother was the one that exposed him to the culture. His sister second lined for Tambourine and Fan with Big Duck Jerome Smith. Chief says, “when I was kid everybody wanted to be an Indian”. Spy Boy Fred Johnson of the Yellow Pocahontas is credited by Chief as a major influence in his early years of training along with the Great Tootie Montana, Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas.
Chief left the Yellow Pocahontas in the late 1990’s with Big Chief Emmanuel to help establish “Trouble Nation Tribe. Big Chief Emmanuel passed before he could bring the tribe out and mask as Chief. The following year Trouble Nation Tribe was led by Big Chief Marquis, who took on the role as Chief. Big Chief Jigga says “sometimes Indian practice was just me and Marquis, ask anybody we got it out the mud!”. He started Creole Hunters Gang in 2009 and will be making his ten-year masking anniversary this Carnival 2019.
When I spoke with Big Chief Jigga several things became very apparent. He is a straight shooter. Meaning, he is to the point. He does not mix his words. He has a deep respect for the old traditions of this culture, which makes him a staunch culture bearer with no time for play. His aura is of 65 years old war-tested general. In many urban Black cultures, he would be referenced as “OG” in his approach to his tribe and cultivating the musical representation of downtowns, 7th ward and 9th ward sound.
Chief teams up with Big Chief Romeo of the 9th Ward Hunters to form this downtown alliance called the 79ers Gang. In my opinion, the sound is hot! Already becoming a staple in New Orleans’ live music scene, they are about to embark on a 35-city tour with the band. It also apparent that this old soul is being blessed by the ancestors of this culture to bring their sound to the four corners of the earth. I
Q) How important is it to teach this culture?
A) The traditions in this culture are handed down through word of mouth. If you don’t teach, then you’re going to lose because it is not written down. We’re doing this interview now but on the slick, it’s still a secret. It’s important to teach. If my mom wouldn’t have brought me out there and if I wasn’t in the neighborhood where I was living, I’d probably be doing something totally different. Look up the definition of tradition, this is handed down culture from generation to generation and it’s not changing. If we plan on doing that then we have to teach the young people and the other Chiefs. There’s a lot of people who live in this City and this culture is still elusive to them. So, you have to teach, without teaching its dead.
Q) What is the spirit of your tribe?
A) I would say the spirit of my gang is very warrior-like. We are serious, we aren’t meeting nobody with a smile on our face. We really take this thing seriously. Some people say they mask Indian and it’s a hobby for them, man it’s a way of life. I’m a Chief 365 days a year. My gang calls me for anything. As long as I have a roof over my head, they have a roof over their head, It’s like that. We are family. We are going to ride for each other and everything. Our spirit is very warrior-like.
Q) What do you want the world to know about 7th Ward Creole Hunters?
A) I want people to know that we come from the Yellow Pocahontas, Tootie Montana and Darryl Montana from out the 7th Ward front of town. We got old time ways and old-time tradition and we’re out there having fun. When you come see the 7th Ward Creole Hunters I really want people to feel like, “man I just seen New Orleans, that’s the 7th Ward right there. Look at our suits and how much time we put into these suits. Look at the financial sacrifice we make and just appreciate what we are doing.
By Glenn Jones