Since 1998, the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame has aimed to preserve and positively perpetuate the authentic indigenous culture of all individuals who masquerade as Mardi Gras Indians. For its 20th anniversary, the organization will kick off a series of week-long events including a book signing, panel discussion, meals, parties and more.
On Sunday, August 5, the 20th Annual Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Kick-Off will get things started at the Donald Harrison, Sr. Museum (1930 Independence St.). This event is free and open to the public and encourages a BYOC policy (Bring Your Own Chair). The Kick-Off kicks off at 6 p.m. and lasts approximately 90 minutes.
A panel discussion and book signing will follow on Monday, August 6, at Three Keys at the Ace Hotel. There, featured authors Dianne “Gumbo Marie” Honoré (Living the Black Storyville Baby Doll Life), Al Kennedy (Chief of Chiefs: Robert Nathaniel Lee and the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans), David Kunian and Eric Waters (Freedom’s Dance: Social and Pleasure Clubs in New Orleans) will sign their works and engage in a panel discussion moderated by Cara Harrison Daniels. This event is also free and open to the public, and the first 20 Indians get a free drink ticket. This runs from 6-8 p.m.
On Friday, August 10, the Mardi Gras/Black Masking Indian Honors Breakfast will be housed at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center from 9:30-11 p.m. There, Efforts of Grace will host the Mardi Gras Indians and 2018 honorees.
Of special note this year is a renaming ceremony for the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, which takes place on Sunday, August 12 from 3-4:30 p.m. A limited number of tickets are available by request to Queenreesie@aol.com or 504-214-6630.
The 2018 Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Honorees are:
Donald Harrison, Sr. Chief’s Choice Crystal Feather Award – Big Chief Alphonse “Dowee” Robair, Black Hatchet
Honorary Queen Crystal Feather Award – Roslyn J. Smith, MGIHOF Co-Founder
Peace and Justice Purple Feather Award – Sis. Alison McCrary
Music Heritage and Innovation Award – Big Chief Donald Harrison, Jr., Congo Square Nation Afro-New Orleans
Scribe Award (Female) – Karen A. Celestan
Scribe Award (Male) – David Kunian
Community Supporter Award (Business) – Three Keys at the Ace Hotel
Community Supporter Award (Individual) – Scott Hutcheson
Capturing the Spirit Award – Dianne Honoré
Donald Harrison, Sr. Historical Preservationist Award – Amistad Research Center
Donald Harrison, Sr. Cultural Preservationist Award – Ray Charles Material Culture Program at Dillard University
Outstanding Volunteer Award – Eugenia “Miss Jeanie” Adams
Capturing the Flash Photographer Award – Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee
Inaugural Donald Harrison, Sr. Guardian of the Flame Award – Second Queen Elenora Rukiya Brown, Creole Wild West
Big Chief Donald Harrison, Sr. Youth Rising Star Award Honorees:
Little Tribal Queen Journi “Queen Bee, II” Banister, Creole Wild West
Little Princess Ariya Smith, Young Guardians of the Flame
Princess Scottlyn Marquez, Young Guardians of the Flame
Little Wild Man Niccolas Smith, Young Guardians of the Flame
Spy Boy Robert Brumfield – Golden Star Hunters
Chief Bruce Gaten – Creole Wild West