Fat Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras, kicks off very early in the morning. People have different ways of getting it started. In the Treme neighborhood of the 6th Ward, residents are awakened by the Northside Skull & Bones Gang calling them out. This African-American and Creole tradition has been performed for nearly 200 years.
The Northside Skull and Bones Gang is the oldest of the Black social clubs known as Mardi Gras Indians. They were originally formed by descendants of slaves and Native Americans. The video is from the Facebook livestream of Tuesday morning in the Treme.
Trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah was born in New Orleans’s Upper Ninth Ward, and grew up involved with Mardi Gras Indian culture, a family tradition. Early on he toured with his cousin, saxophonist and Indian chief Donald Harrison. Scott aTunde Adjuah also melds jazz and hip-hop beats. Critic Kevin Whitehead says, his new EP, Ruler Rebel, ties all those threads together.
“Ruler Rebel is inflected with the looping rhythms and drum samples of contemporary hip-hop. But where some danceable bands get so deep in the groove they neglect the solos, Scott serves up a lot of trumpet. He has what you want in a soloist: a commanding personal voice, and a sense of direction. He can play a line to pull you along.”
There are images that you fight for, and others that give themselves to you as a gift. When I saw him I immediately knew I had the signature image of my entire collection of nearly 600 photographs. I remember the feeling of perfect satisfaction when capturing this shot. He was so peaceful and self-assured, and gave me just enough time to capture him before moving along. I wish I knew who he was so I could send him a copy.