Under The Bridge on Claiborne on Mardi Gras Afternoon

083 St. Bernard Avenue084 Downtown Indians Under The Bridge086 New Orleans Invictus087 In The 6th Ward088 St. Bernard Avenue089 Music Stage Under The Bridge090 Mardi Gras Shakedown091 Young Sino092 North Claiborne093 Under The Bridge094 DJ Money Green095 Bikes and Four-Wheelers096 Under The Bridge097 Truck Floats098 Under The Bridge099 Under The Bridge100 North Claiborne Avenue101 Downtown Indians Under The Bridge102 Spy Boy103 Downtown Indians103 Downtown Indians104 Downtown Indians105 The Culture Renewed106 North Claiborne Avenue107 Downtown Indians108 Downtown Indians108 Bikes on Claiborne109 Downtown Indians110 Downtown Indians111 Downtown Indians112 Downtown Indians113 Downtown Indians114 Under The Bridge115 Back Dat Grill Up116 Under The Bridge117 Deep South Audio118 DJ-ing Under The Bridge119 North Claiborne Avenue120 Under The Bridge121 Maxxpain122 The St. Bernard123 Under The Bridge124 Joe T's Treme Spot125 North Claiborne Avenue127 Under The Bridge128 North Claiborne Avenue129 Under The Bridge130 Under The Bridge131 Indians Going Home133 Indian Drummers134 Indian Drummers135 Downtown Indians136 Laban Food Mart137 Downtown Indians in the Treme138 Downtown Indians in the Treme139 Downtown Indians in the Treme140 Downtown Indians in the Treme141 Downtown Indians in the Treme142 Downtown Indians in the Treme143 Downtown Indians in the Treme144 Downtown Indians in the Treme145 Downtown Indians in the Treme146 Downtown Indians in the Treme149 Downtown Indians Under The Bridge150 Downtown Indians Under The Bridge151 Downtown Indians Under The Bridge152 Downtown Indians on North Claiborne153 Downtown Indians at Claiborne & St. Bernard154 Downtown Indians
It took me nearly an hour to get from Metairie to the North Claiborne Avenue area where TBC Brass Band was supposed to be playing, and where, incidentally, Darren had told me I might run into some of the Mardi Gras Indians. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find any parking, but out north of the Interstate bridge, I found a vacant lot across from a church where nobody was charging any money and lots of people were pulling in and parking. It meant a long walk across a long, vacant commons towards the new Lafitte Project, but the sun had come out and the weather seemed a bit warmer. Under the I-10 bridge, the crowds were truly massive. There was a large stage on St. Bernard Avenue, where bounce rappers were performing, but I could not find any of the TBC Brass Band members anywhere. Since it was more than an hour after they were supposed to start playing, I might have missed them. There were vendors and food trucks, a DJ spinning on a street corner, people zooming around on motorcycles and four-wheelers, and up at the far end, elaborately-costumed Mardi Gras Indians, as I had hoped. I soon found, however, that eager crowds pressed around them so that it was hard to shoot pictures or capture video. But still, seeing the Indians in their beautiful costumes up close was amazing in itself, and I was able to follow one tribe and its drummers down into the Treme neighborhood as they were on their way home, and got some better pictures and footage there.
Choosing the area under an interstate bridge for a festival site may seem strange, but the evidence is that the neutral ground of Claiborne Avenue was a festive site for New Orleans’ Black community long before the interstate was built. Community leaders in the Treme neighborhood had tried to halt the interstate construction, but had failed. More recently, since Hurricane Katrina, some activist white kids had suggested removing the interstate in that area, redesignating I-610 as I-10, and restoring the neutral ground of Claiborne as the grassy, tree-lined site it once was, but with the Superdome so nearby, that is unlikely. Black residents resent the overhead interstate, but continue to use the space during Mardi Gras and also after second-lines, when large crowds often gather there. The one positive thing that I’ve had people tell me about the bridge is that brass bands sound really good under there.
Gradually, it got dark, and the crowds began to gradually disperse, so I left as well, headed Uptown to see if I could find any of the Uptown Mardi Gras Indian tribes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JivdmzzYcE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2avXMPuey6M

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.