This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Art4Moore Foundation, and the Sewing Machine Project.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

2007 Graduates Attend the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Free Of Charge

Thanks to the generosity of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation (, graduates of the 2007 Mardi Gras Indian Arts Intensive were able to attend one day of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which took place April 25-27 and May 1-4, free of charge. Mardi Gras Indians performing at the festival included Big Chief Bo Dollis & the Wild Magnolias, Creole Wild West, Golden Star Hunters, Fi Yi Yi & the Mandingo Warriors, and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles.

A Special Thanks!

Thank you to Margaret Jankowski and the Sewing Machine Project for a generous gift of five sewing machines. Margaret conceived the Sewing Machine Project in 2005 in response to the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia. She’d read an article about a woman who had lost a sewing machine, and her primary source of income, as a result of the storm. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in September 2005 the project shifted its focus to New Orleans. To date, the Sewing Machine Project has delivered 350 machines to the city. These machines are distributed to individuals as well as schools and community centers. People are using them not only to rebuild their lives but also to start small sewing-related businesses.

Margaret is a generous woman doing incredible work! We love her and the Sewing Machine Project. Please support them both. For more info, go to

Filmmaker Royce Osborn to Document the 2008 Program

Filmmaker Royce Osborn will document the 2008 Mardi Gras Indian Arts Intensive. Osborn is a New Orleans-born writer and producer who grew up in the rich environment of the city's Seventh Ward. In 2003, he created the popular documentary All on a Mardi Gras Day, which explores New Orleans' black carnival traditions in an historical context. The program was broadcast nationally on PBS and was awarded at the New Orleans Film Festival. It has been called one of the best documentaries ever made on New Orleans history, and has been used as a teaching tool in both K-12 and higher education settings. He is currently at work on the documentary Walking to New Orleans, about the city's cultural recovery post-Katrina.

View clips from All on a Mardi Gras Day and Walking to New Orleans at

Monday, May 26, 2008

Darryl Montana, Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas, Returns As An Instructor

Darryl Montana, Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas and one of the most respected bearers of the Mardi Gras Indian tradition, will return in 2008 as an instructor for the Mardi Gras Indian Arts Intensive. Chief Montana is an internationally acclaimed artist who constantly challenges himself to make "bigger and better" suits. His suits, which are created in the "Downtown", three-dimensional style, are beautiful works of sculpture. In recent years, they have consisted of as many as 500 intricate hand-sewn pieces.

Zulu Connection Will Kick Off the 2008 Summer Intensive on June 2

Zulu Connection, masters of the African form of stiltdancing and ancient mystical masquerades, will kick-off the 2008 program with a special performance on June 2. Zulu Connection spellbinds its audiences with colorful and elaborate costumes, tremendous heights, extraordinary acrobatics and magnificent dance moves. The highly rhythmic music that accompanies each performance has been characterized as captivating and invigorating, pushing most audience members to get up and dance. In the course of a concert the program entertains, but educates as well on African customs, history, musical instruments, masquerades and legends, dispelling commonly held myths.

Since its inception in 1990, the company has pioneered the emergence of works by both African and African-American choreographers and has been dedicated to preserving the rich culture of Africa, the Caribbean, and Haiti which are all inherent in the make-up of New Orleans culture. Founders Shaka and Na'imah Zulu are committed to exposing audiences to the cultural arts of these nations in order to foster cross-cultural appreciation and understanding across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Bermuda.

The Zulu Connection has regularly presented seasons at the Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Kuumbaa Festival in Knoxville, TN, Black Dance USA in St. Louis, Goombay Festival in Hamilton Bermuda, England Arts Festival, Liverpool, England and the Point After Fest in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Zulu Connection has a strong impact on youth, performing and teaching for many schools and community centers including: The Africana Studies Enrichment Program with New Orleans Unified School District, the Community Arts Center of New Orleans, and the Archdiocese of New Orleans Catholic Schools.

For more information on Zulu Connection, visit