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Feb 5, 2013 9:50 AM by Kristen Holloway

The Tradition Behind Urban Masking and Mardi Gras Indians

For many, New Orleans is the Mardi Gras capital of the world but this time of year Lafayette also has plenty to offer.
Different tribes in Lafayette bring us unique traditions and elaborate costumes representing their neighborhoods tonight at the Vermilionville Performance Center. The Mardi Gras experience in Lafayette is one to remember. Tonight its all about the history behind the tradition of urban masking and Mardi Gras Indians. Masking simply means designing and creating new costumes.
"It's also very localized and speaks to the neighborhoods of where people live and interact. They create these costumes and mask and chats like that to show off their neighborhoods to one another," said Assistant Director of Louisiana Studies Jennifer Guidry.
Mike of the Creole Headhunters will host the back yard series on Creole Masking and parading traditions.
"A lot of work goes into to making these elaborate costumes and mask," said Guidry.
Members of several tribes will share their experiences in creating elaborate costumes like this one.
"It wasn't so elaborate back then but as time has went on, it's much more elaborate much more in line with what you see from the Mardi Gras Indians in New Orleans but still very distinct and local to Lafayette," said Guidry.
The tribes will talk about what goes into make the costumes and what it means to them.
"It really brings the community together within these neighborhoods everybody comes out and shows their support. It's a way to socialize and have a good time and really express themselves during Mardi Gras," said Guidry.
The Backyard Series starts at 6:30p.m. at the performance center and is free and open to all ages.

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