warriors pour onto the street in beautiful form.
This is their day so they must hurry.
Cares are forgotten; there is no worry.
Spy boys run with flags waving high
do their duty with lots of pride,
chanting loudly Indian ditties
as they wind their way through the city.
Chieftains dressed so fine and neat
with large feather crowns from head to feet.
Satin, silk and beads to suit their style,
one glance of them is worth your while.
Braves line the street dressed so pretty.
Mardi Gras lasts only a day – what a pity!
Primitive beauty at a fleeting glance,
watch as they prepare for the Indian dance.
Tambourines beating savagely all the while,
they sing and dance in war like style.
Bowing, kneeling and leaping in the air,
Chock-a-ma-fi-na sung everywhere.
Little boys eyes open wide
when Mardi Gras Indians walk by.
Holding tight to their mother’s hands,
every one loves the Mardi Gras Indian bands.
Mardi Gras 2016 is February 9. Mardi Gras Indians have a long history in New Orleans and have been a part of Mardi Gras celebrations for generations. My mother, Lucy Francois Hymes, experienced Mardi Indian culture as a child coming of age in New Orleans. A high-light of Mardi Gras for the Hymes family was walking or driving through back-a-town in search of Indians and King Zulu. This was back in the day when neither group was permitted to parade on any downtown streets. This poem captures my mother's memories of Mardi Gras Indians.