Mardi Gras Indian Wedding
It's hard to describe the level of intensity in the Tremé community on Fat Tuesday, but I have tried faithfully to recreate the experience in these pages. However, nothing I have ever witnessed even comes close to the energy at this wedding.
A dozen or so Indians, members of the Creole Wild West among them, waited out front for the wedding party. The Zulu parade had broken up nearby and the streets were filled with people celebrating the day. Off in the distance the faint rumble of an approaching brass band mingled with raucous laughter.
The bride and groom arrived decked out in matching pink Indian suits bespeaking the nature of the day. There was some confusion getting the wedding started, it was Mardi Gras after all, but Cook waited patiently for his bride to walk down the aisle.
She arrived to the accompaniment of drums, tambourines and chanting Indians. The ceremony was short and then the entire congregation serenaded the couple with the Indian prayer song, "Indian Red."
It wasn't even close to being a traditional wedding as everyone was in full Mardi Gras mode. After the brief ceremony, the Bayou Renegades began playing their searing Indian blues-funk and the reception began. The sight of dozens of Indians with their bejeweled suits and massive feathered crowns was breath-taking.
It was an absolutely amazing experience. When the ritual was over, I returned to the streets, which were still packed with revelers, overwhelmed with the emotions associated with ceremony, community and culture.