In 18th-century Louisiana , escapee African slaves would make a break for the bayous. Here they might encounter Native Americans and occasionally find asylum with them: two peoples who had in common a struggle for freedom from oppression.
That this episode in history is remembered is in part thanks to the Black Masking Indians of New Orleans , who are best known for their unmissable presence at the city’s Mardi Gras celebrations. Lavishly dressed in intricately beaded suits, the Black Masking Indians are a unique synthesis of African and Native American cultures and a celebration of the universal struggle to express our identity.
In this final episode of Season Three of The Rough Guide to Everywhere, host Neil McQuillian speaks to Cherice Harrison-Nelson, founder of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame.
Thanks to Cherice Harrison-Nelson for telling us her story; to Owen Wagner for recording Cherice’s side of our interview in New Orleans; to Ken Eng for all the wonderful music and sounds of Black Masking Indians in New Orleans; and to our producers Jessie Lawson and Alannah Chance of Reduced Listening.
Subscribe to The Rough Guide to Everywhere now (iTunes; Soundcloud) to catch up on the rest of Series Three. Get in touch with us on Twitter using #roughguidespod, and please do rate us on Apple Podcasts.
Top image: © amadeustx / Shutterstock. Podcast image: © Ken Eng