Mardi Gras Indians are a selective group of individuals who parade with the most elaborate costumes you will see during Mardi Gras. Most of the hand beaded, colorful works of wearable art take years to complete!  Though it is said that the tradition of the Mardi Gras Indians was born during a time of racial tension and violence, today the Indians tribes compete in a theatre of art and culture. The tribes challenge each other with unique songs and dances, and compare one anothers craftsmanship in an expressive parade unlike any other. The history of the Mardi Gras Indians as well as their current operations remains mysterious. They never announce where they will be parading or what the route will be. It is up to the Big Chief to decide.  Look out for these beauties this Mardi Gras season!

photos courtesy of Larry Schirling