She’s also a dynamic presence on the podium.
Speaking at the recent Hall of Fame ceremony at the Ashe Cultural Art Center, the Queen led a crowd of several hundred people through the history of the Mardi Gras Indians in south Louisiana. Verbose and often hilarious, Harrison-Nelson could earn a good living as a stand-up comedian if she ever relinquishes her Maroon Queen crown.But the real star of the show was Ike Edwards the oldest living Mardi Gras Indian. When Mr Edwards was a teen he masked with Creole Wild West before joining splinter Indian gang the Golden Blades. After a short time with them he formed the White Eagles in 1948 alongside Lawrence Fletcher and Robbe Lee.
Mr Ike had first started masking in 1932 (after asking his mama for permission)
The elder Indian last masked (made a costume for himself) in 1952 ending a two decade run but that has not stopped the man from continuing to sew. His beadwork is legendary in Louisiana culture and his creations have been worn by dozens of Indians across the New Orleans area.
Edwards spoke poignantly on his craft and informed the crowd that he would continue sewing until ‘his last day’.After Mr Edwards finished speaking, Kelly A. Pearson received the 2016 Queens’ Choice Award. Ms Pearson is Flag Queen for the Creole Osceolas tribe. The crowd erupted when she rose up to receive her award with Big Queen Keyonna Braxton of Comanche Hunters and Tribal Queen Bee Littdell Banister of Creole Wild West both gyrating quite effectively.
Big Chief Keith “Keke” Gibson of the Comanche Hunters was inducted into the Hall next. He’s been masking for 26 years. “Damn I must be getting old if I’m getting in here with these guys” he said gesturing toward the stage.
And on that stage? Creole Osceola Big Chief Clarence “Delco” Dalcour, Big Chief Kevin Goodman of The Flaming Arrows, Fi-Yi-Yi Big Chief Victor Harris and Yellow Pocahontas Big Chief Darryl Montana.
With that we made our way to the door. We have no doubt that there were after-parties that will be spoken of for the next one hundred years but we just wanted to sit down at Little People’s Place and have a cold beer or two and reflect on our lives in this great city.
Read a NYT obituary on the only Chief of Chiefs in the history of the Mardi Gras Indians Robbe Lee