How cool is this?!?! Thanks to Shreveport Regional Arts Council, we're going to get the chance to experience the Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians from New Orleans right here in Shreveport/Bossier City!

While it's true, I'm all about Mardi Gras, I've never had the opportunity to see the real Mardi Gras Indians. The Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians are New Orleans oldest Mardi Gras tribe and they're coming to town to open an Artspace exhibition of beautiful, hand-beaded Indian suits with headdresses, crowns, blankets and embellishments Friday, January 27th. For fans of Mardi Gras, this is an event you don't want to miss!

Here's what the folks at SRAC have to say about the event:

TO THE “BEAD” OF A DIFFERENT DRUM
From Nick Cave to the Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians
The Shreveport Regional Arts Council Brings NWLA the Art of Beading
The Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians, New Orleans oldest Mardi Gras Indian Tribe, are coming to Shreveport as guests of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council to open an artspace exhibition of 10 beautiful, hand-beaded Indian suits with headdresses, crowns, blankets and embellishments on Friday, January 27th; to parade, Mardi Gras Indian style, through Shreveport Common on Saturday, January 28th and to host a beading and sewing workshop taught to the community by Big Chief Howard Miller on Saturday, March 4th.

The Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians have been dancing and “masking,” chiefly in New Orleans, for more than 200 years.  They are most often seen strutting,  swaggering, feathers flying, beads sparkling, drums thundering with chants of “Creole Wild West.”  Above all else, however, The Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians are artists.  Their elaborate bead work and sewing, the intricate rhythms of their music, the closely kept traditions of their heritage are woven into the fabric of a culture unique to New Orleans that has been preserved since the late 1700s.

“What excites me the most about coming to Shreveport is the chance to share the history of the Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians with the people of Northwest Louisiana and to bring awareness to a tradition that has been such an important part of the New Orleans culture for over 200 years,” explains Big Chief Howard Miller.  “Up until ten years ago, the Mardi Gras Indians were primarily secret societies.  People did not know that our history was about slaves who found safe haven with the Native Americans and that we saw our purpose as bringing spirit and joy to hopeless people.  I have shared the history of the Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians and our ties to Native Americans in universities across the country including Georgetown, Auburn, Tulane, LSU and Xavier, but we have never had the opportunity to educate on the scale that we will be able to in Shreveport,” added Miller.

SRAC recently hosted another well-known artist whose beading and sewing has made him famous—Soundsuit Artist Nick Cave.  Cave worked with the residents of Shreveport Common to bring a message to them—a message of hope and of accepting each other “AS IS.”

“With the Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indian Artist Residence, we hope to build upon the phenomenal success of beading that was developed during the Nick Cave residence, to learn new beading traditions and symbolism, and to celebrate the history and tradition that is Shreveport Common with the rest of the world,” explained Pam Atchison, SRAC Executive Director.  ” SRAC hopes that Big Chief Howard and his Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians will encourage people who currently live in and will potentially move into Shreveport Common to discover and empower the ethnic cultural traditions found within the Shreveport Common neighborhood,” added Atchison.

Shreveport Common is a nine-block area that encompasses western downtown Shreveport and east Ledbetter Heights that was once the region’s most significant hot-bed for culture.  This is where Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter wrote songs like, “Goodnight Irene” and where Architect Edward Neild (Harry S. Truman’s architect) designed the Scottish Rite Cathedral, B’Nai Zion Temple and the Calanthean Temple; developed by a group of African American women for their professional husbands’ business offices.  This is where Jelly Roll Morton and Count Bassie played at the Calanthean’s rooftop soirees, and where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams got their start with the KWKH Louisiana Hayride at the Municipal Auditorium.  Shreveport Common has a deep cultural history.  Big Chief Howard Miller and his Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians will pick up where Nick Cave left off, helping the neighbors celebrate what is authentic, creative and sustainable about their Uncommon community.

The Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indian Exhibition will open @artspace on Friday, January 27, 2017 from 5:30 pm – 8:30 p.m.  Admission is free and includes Mardi Gras Munchies and a cash bar.  Parking is complimentary at the head of Texas St.  On Saturday, January 28, the Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indian events will start with brunch served at Parish Taceaux! beginning at 10:30 a.m., an Artist Talk featuring Chief Howard Miller at 12:00 noon, and Hands-On Family Activities from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. along with Food Trucks, an Arts Market and much, much more.  The Creole Wild West will lead an UNSCENE! Parade through the streets of Shreveport Common from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. followed by a Texas Street Block Party at 5:00 p.m.  Big Chief Howard Miller will host a beading and sewing workshop on Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 10:00 am. – 2:00 p.m.  based on the traditions of the Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians.  Materials will be provided.  The cost for the workshop is $50.  The Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indian exhibition at artspace will run through March 18, 2017. For more information, visit www.shrevearts.org or  www.artspaceshreveport.com.

HIGHLIGHTS OF CREOLE WILD WEST MARDI GRAS INDIAN ARTIST RESIDENCY:

  • Friday, January 27, 2017, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.--Exhibition Opening

  • Saturday, January 28, 2017, 12:00 Noon--Big Chief Howard Miller Artist Talk

  • Saturday, January 28, 2017--Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indian Parade

    • 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.--Hands-On Family Activities Before the Parade,

    • 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.--Parade with the Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians

    • 5:00 p.m.--Texas Street Block Party

  • Saturday, March 4, 2017, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Beading Workshop with Chief Howard