Another Battle of New Orleans: Mardi Gras

  1. The little shotgun house is peeling and the Oldsmobile in front is missing a rear bumper, but Larry Bannock can glimpse glory through the eye of his needle. For almost a year he has hunkered over his sewing table, joining beads, velvet, rhinestones, sequins, feathers and ostrich plumes into a Mardi Gras costume that is part African, part Native American.

    "I'm pretty," said Mr. Bannock, who is 6 feet tall and weighs 300 pounds. "And baby, when I walk out that door there ain't nothing cheap on me."

    Most days, this 46-year-old black man is a carpenter, welder and handyman, but on Mardi Gras morning he is a Big Chief, one of the celebrated -- if incongruous -- black Indians of Carnival. He is an important man.

    Sometime around 11 A.M. on Feb. 28, Mr. Bannock will step from his house in a resplendent, flamboyant turquoise costume complete with a towering headdress, and people in the largely black and poor 16th and 17th Wards, the area known as Gert Town, will shout, cheer and follow...

The complete text of “Another Battle of New Orleans: Mardi Gras” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on www.pulitzer.org.

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