Last week, while in New Orleans with the Recession-Where Y'at student group from UT, I made the connection I thought would take me at least 5 years to make within the Mardi Gras Indian community of New Orleans!
While at the Original Four Social Aid and Pleasure Club's Annual Secondline, with music from the Stooges Brass Band....
...(which was way fun, per usual) an extremely photogenic lady I have shot many times throughout the years at these parades entered my lens.
Yaa, as she likes to be known, told me that she recognized me and wants to see some photos I've taken of her. I of course gave her my card and then our conversation was distracted by something so, I went on shooting and she went on dancing. After a few minutes I felt a tug on my shirt. As I looked back to see who it was, Yaa let out her signiture "Yaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!" yell and smiled real big and pulled me down to her level. (Yaa is probably no taller than 4 feet 9 inches, in my estimation....but her personality is at least 7 feet tall!) She hollered in my ear that she is in a Social Aid and Pleasure Club, but her parade had just rolled last weekend. Then she said the magical words I've always wanted to hear. "Reno, baby, I want you to take my S & P Club's picture all the time. Maybe you can come to next year's parade?" Ummm, "No problem! Of Course! I love that," all came out of my mouth in one breath. And then, just when I thought it couldn't get any better she adds in, "AND I'm a Mardi Gras Indian and we got practice tonight. You wanna come?" WHAT? Is this real? Do I wanna come?! Not only do I wanna come"\, I think to myself, "but I also want to switch Master's Projects and move here now!!! Dang.
Here's a small (very small) sneak peak of what's to come. (Truth be told, shooting Mardi Indian Practice that night was one of the most difficult things I've ever tried to shoot. There is basically no light at all in the small bar where The Wild Magnolias hold practice every Sunday night. Its also jam-packed with people and includes some very fast movements. I've got to figure out how I'm going to over come the lack of light situation so, if any of you photogs out there have a suggestion that does not involve flash, Id love to hear it!):
Stay tuned on this one for sure...........
(Also, for more information on what exactly a Mardi Gras Indian is - check back in a couple of days. I'm gonna throw together a little something to help explain it all, but in the meantime, just know that it's completely RADICAL to the MAXXXXXXX!)