SUPER SUNDAY 2013 & The Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame – What Is It All About Anyway?

Perhaps many cities have co-opted – or flat out copied – one of New Orleans’ truly original holidays with their various imitations and versions of Mardi Gras, but there is one sacred Crescent City day that has not, and can not, be duplicated anywhere else in the world, and that is Super Sunday. Each spring, while many Christians are spending over a month sacrificing something in the name of Jesus Christ in preparation of Easter Sunday, New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indian tribes prepare us to usher in what is most popularly known as St. Joseph’s Day.

Mardi Gras Indian Child green by Kim Welsh 2012

Mardi Gras Indian Heir | Photo: Kim Welsh


Traditionally celebrated on the third Sunday after Easter as a feast in honor of Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary, the Roman Catholic Church moved this religious holiday to the preceding Wednesday, and actually has moved it around the calendar year quite a bit since its inception. Regardless of when the exact date is that any group may regard as St. Joseph’s Day, this celebratory holiday has always coincided with recognition of the average laborer (which legend says was the husband of the Virgin Mary’s occupation) and of regular fathers everywhere. In some places, this day has even become a national Labor Day or Father’s Day. So it does sort of make sense to host this celebration of working class fathers right around the time of a prophet’s birthday or resurrection day, no?

However, like most Christian holidays in the West, St. Joseph’s Day is a bit different in New Orleans. One of the beautiful characteristics that makes our city so unique is its incomparable hybrids of Native American tradition, colonial French and Spanish Catholicism, and African Yoruba practice all rolled into quite possibly the most inclusive, and sometimes confusing, act of cultural preservation. But no matter how confusing, the result is one of our favorite days of the entire year. In all its rainbow plumed, often drunken, parading glory, there is literally not a color on this Earth not represented on the Sunday before St. Joseph’s Day, or the Sunday before Spring Solstice. If you’ve ever been to a Super Sunday, then you know that even if you were not quite sure why you were there, you were darn sure celebrating all the hundreds of just regular folks on parade. New babies to meet, new costumes to admire, new dances to try, new neighbors to see? Can you think of a better way to let Mother Nature know that you are ready for spring? This is the day we let the Mardi Gras Indians show us how to welcome spring.

Mardi Gras Indian pink and grey by Kim Welsh 2012

Mardi Gras Indian | Photo: Kim Welsh



Last year, we saw the Super Sunday parade route move back to its more original starting location at A.L. Davis Park (Central City), where the Super Sunday parade festivities will begin again this year at 11:00am on Sunday, March 17. Following two hours of ceremony and activities, the annual Super Sunday Parade will start at the corner of Washington Ave. and LaSalle St. (Uptown) at 1:00pm.

New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Council Chief, Howard Miller has announced this year’s official Super Sunday parade route, presented by all of  the city’s Mardi Gras Indian tribes and the R.E.A.L. organization. The procession will begin at Washington Ave. and LaSalle St.; moving onto Simon Bolivar Ave.; turning left onto Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; turning left onto Claiborne Ave.; turning left onto Washington Ave.; culminating back at Washington Ave. and LaSalle St. at A.L. Davis Park with cultural activities and live musical performances until approximately 6:00pm. But we all know the closing festival may last well into sundown.

Musical performers confirmed for this year’s parade and closing festival at A.L. Davis Park include: the Hot 8 Brass Band, the Soul Rebels Brass Band, the Stooges Brass Band, the To Be Continued Brass Band, the B.R.W. Singing Group, the Young Men Olympians, the Lady Buckjumpers, the Lady Divas, Joe Cool Davis, DJ Jubilee, DJ Captain Charles and more.

All Super Sunday official activities are free, all ages and open to the public.


Mayor Mitch Landrieu with Mardi Gras Indian by Kim Welsh 2012

Mayor Mitch Landrieu with Chief Darryl Montana | Kim Welsh


On Tuesday, March 19 the Guardians Institute, in partnership with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the National Performance Network, and Paige Royer and Kerry Clayton, present the 2nd Annual Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame St. Joseph’s Day Open House at the Blue Plate Artists Lofts (formerly American Can Co) located at 1315 S. Jefferson Davis Highway from 6:00pm – 7:30pm.  Please RSVP to or 504-214-6630 by Friday, March 15.

More Info:

  • poppyswag

    Truly I thought the same thing as JazzLunatique. Offbeat reporting should include the NAMES of people in pictures including the “Heirs”. And they’re not alone – Gambit did a piece on The Healing Power of Music Mar 5 and identified Big Chief Monk Boudreaux as a “Mardi Gras Indian”. Its embarrassing. You’d think photographers who hog the front of the stage continually could report the names of their supposed obsessions. Sloppy and rude.

  • OffBeatWebEditor

    @JazzLunatique – Thanks much for your keen sight on this post. We tried to email you directly, but the email address linked to your comment bounced back ( ? – maybe that’s some type of matrix glitch?). In this case, names were cut off due to limited characters in the web fields of the photo captions; people are named as they appear left to right, and in the case of the photo with Darryl Montana, for example, it originally read “…& Mardi Gras Indian Chief Darryl Montana” but got cut off. However, we will *certainly* look out for these glitches in the future to be sure that names are posted, rather than modifiers, if there is only limited space. For it would of course never be the aim of OffBeat Magazine to misrepresent any of our city’s leaders, especially Darryl. We have also reiterated to one of our photographers, Kim Welsh, the need for getting names for all photos at all events, as hard as that may be sometimes. Thanks again for your thoughtful feedback.

  • OffBeatWebEditor

    @f991adbf83c9cea36230913221eebb6e:disqus tagging you here so you’ll get a notice for the response below. We received notice from Disqus that our original email to you bounced. Thanks to @0d67ab9a3819a2ab21766f76c26b7f13:disqus for your feedback as well. Please see response to JazzLunatique in reply to your thoughts as well. Again, please know this was simply oversight in not editing the photo captions to remove “Mardi Gras Indian” and “Mayor” when there is only so many character spaces available in a caption. Yet, a crucial oversight nonetheless. We will be sure this is attended to in the immediate future.

  • OffBeatWebEditor

    @f991adbf83c9cea36230913221eebb6e:disqus Response to the second portion of your note: All information provided in said post from 3/13 was sent directly from the Mardi Gras Indian Council and its assigned representatives, as well as info from the Guardians of The Flame Institute. We are aware that there is more than one organization representing various tribes and families, and we are in touch with them regularly. If you believe the Uptown events as listed above to be named something different, then that is not in line with that was submitted to us directly. We do not change the titles submitted directly to us. Thanks again.