Jazz Fest: Cha Wa Hits Refresh on the Mardi Gras Indians Album

It’s hard to know what to think of Mardi Gras Indians in 2016. The neighborhoods that spawned them aren’t what they used to be, and many of the figures who dominated the conversation are gone. Listen to long-time Indians talk and they say new Indians don’t respect traditions and are all chiefs, no followers, but it’s hard to know if some of that is standard issue generational grievances. Because Mardi Gras Indians remain an insular community—even today, certainly by 2016’s oversharing standards—it’s hard to be sure of what’s real.

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