Portraits in Red, White, Blue and Black

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Red feathers.
Red feathers.

Red, white, blue and black. Feathers. Suits. Masks.

Sheer luck. The picture making, not the editing. Once I saw the images, I knew what I had. And, as you know, I never “chimp” while I’m on the scene.

I made these pictures at the Keep N It Real second line. As I wrote yesterday, this is a big second line that passes through a lot of neighborhoods. But, then I read something in the New Orleans Advocate that completely confused me. The reporter said that there hadn’t been a Downtown Super Sunday since before the storm. That this was the first one.


What did I photograph last year? And, the year before?

According to his source, those didn’t count because there were no children leading the parade. I don’t know about that. There was a small cluster — maybe 15 — of Indians who were in one division of a much larger parade on Sunday.

That was it.

The last two times that I photographed what I believe was the Downtown Mardi Gras Super Sunday, there were at least 100 Indians dancing, singing and chanting.  The paraders were all Indians, brass bands and a couple of Baby Doll groups. I don’t believe there were any dressed benevolence clubs walking.

That’s kind of the thing about anything New Orleans. All opinions. Very few facts. A lot of noise. Very little signal. Sheesh. I can tell you the history of the city maybe ten different ways. Every one of them will be different. Every one of them will be wrong. Every one of them will be right.


That’s why it’s so hard to learn the proper way to say the city’s name. New Orleans. It’s a neighborhood thing. Depending on where you grew up, or where you live, you pronounce it differently.


Red, White, Blue and Black feathered Mardi Gras Indians. Pretty cool. Pretty, lucky on my part.


4 Replies to “Portraits in Red, White, Blue and Black”

  1. Hey Ray, fabulous photographs, as usual. I enjoy seeing New Orleans through your eyes. I’m trying to figure out why we have never visited your beautiful city…its always been on the list!


    1. Hi. Thank you. There’s a list? 🙂 Nobody ever tells me these things. Seriously, you should come down. We are heading into festival season. Go time to come, but we can get very crowded around here.


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