“Ya’ll take pictures of us. Ya’ll put us on your commercials. You send us all over the world and we don’t get a dime!” one concerned resident said.


Janice Kimble has been a Baby Doll her entire life. Her cultural ties go back generations.

“My grandmother was a Gold Digger Baby Doll in the 1920s and my sister took up her name. And I branched off to be my own Treme Baby Doll,” Kimble said.

“People come to New Orleans to see all of this and so that’s what we try to keep it alive,” she said.

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A Sunday New Orleans 2nd Line feels like a march to Heaven rooted in American Aboriginal Cultural traditions. Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs march through NOLA backed by electric brass bands, percussive street orchestras, the neighborhoods providing the footwork, and all the heritage one heart can handle. Stay tuned for a closer look at Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs and 2nd Line culture from the forefront.

By Jamie Saxon, Princeton Office of Communications, and Morgan Kelly, Princeton Environmental Institute

In a panel discussion held April 3 at Princeton University, two “big chiefs” of New Orleans’ Black Masking Indian groups explored the complex artistry and deep-seated community of the Black Masking tradition.

Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters and Big Chief Darryl Montana of the Yellow Pocahontas Hunters are leaders of two of these groups, known popularly as Mardi Gras Indians. Referred to as “tribes,” the groups organize by neighborhood and perform during Mardi Gras (or Carnival) and other celebratory occasions wearing these intricately beaded and decorated suits. This process of creating elaborate ceremonial suits and aprons originated by African Americans almost 200 years ago to pay homage to American Indians and tell visual stories of hardship and redemption.

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Tribal Timeline: Golden Blades
1936 – 1944’s Big Chief Ben Clark
1945 – 1947 – Big Chief Leon “Happy Peanut” Robinson
1948 – 1949 – Big Chief Robert Nathaniel “Robbe” Lee
1949 – 1950 – Big Chief Leon “Happy Peanut” Robinson
1950 – 1970 – Big Chief Paul Longpre
1999 – present – Big Chief Derrick “Golden Blade” Hulin

“When that machete hit that flag, all butterflies, all the nervousness, all that went out the door! Cause at that point I knew it was serious business. Continue reading →

Coming home to the culture:

Although this was the first year Black Flame Hunters has hit the streets, their Chief is a Wiley Vet. Growing up, uptown at the age of six he and his friends started imitating the Wild Magnolias and Creole Wild West, Big Chief Jeremy “Black” was destined to have his own tribe. Playing Football successfully all the way to college pulled him away from his first love. Coming home, he started masking with Jeronimo Hunters and Big Chief Tom Landry for fourteen years where he honed his skills and love for this culture. Continue reading →

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