Footage from the Alan Lomax Archives take us inside a White Eagles practice.
It’s hard to imagine what musicologist Alan Lomax thought he heard when he visited a Mardi Gras Indian practice in 1982. At that point, Indians were still largely a neighborhood parade music that had to sound exotic, even to someone as traveled as Lomax.
Last Jazz Fest, we posted videos of footage Lomax shot in New Orleans on that visit, including film of the festival and the Dirty Dozen live at the Glass House. In time for Carnival, here are a series of films shot by Lomax of a White Eagles Mardi Gras Indian practice, as well as Jelly Roll Morton remembering Mardi Gras Indians in 1938. The footage comes courtesy of the Alan Lomax Archive and the Association for Cultural Equity, which works to keep Lomax’s archive active in the conversation about music and culture.
After the spectacle of Bo Dollis’ funeral and second line, these 42 year-old films are a window into a very different time in Mardi Gras Indians’ history.