Oxford AASC: Photo Essay

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PHOTO ESSAY

African Descendants in New Orleans: A Visual History

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Alison "Big Chief Tootie" Montana

Sheleen Jones, Alison "Big Chief Tootie" Montana, 2010 (Armstrong Park, Tremé, New Orleans) Photo: Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd

Sheleen Jones's commissioned sculpture of Big Chief "Tootie" Montana (1922–2005) celebrates a legendary icon of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian tradition that has endured for more than 120 years. The Mardi Gras Indians are African Americans who have annually paid tribute to Native American traditions by producing vibrant and colorful suits, comprised of beadwork and feathers, that reflect a rich, complex melding of Native American, African and Caribbean influences.

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