The Ella Project was proud to work with Chief Howard Miller of the Creole Wild West, the Mardi Gras Indian Council and the Shreveport Regional Arts Council to co-produce the first-ever comprehensive exhibition of Mardi Gras Indian suits at ArtSpace in downtown Shreveport. This immersive exhibit and parade through downtown Shreveport was part of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s Unscene creative placemaking project. January 27-28th was a beautiful weekend, and it was kicked off Friday night with a gallery exhibit of ten Indian suits, followed the next day by a standing room only artist talk presented by Chief Howard Miller. On Saturday afternoon, Chief Howard led the parade with help of other Mardi Gras Indians, including Chief Victor Harris of Fi Yi Yi, Chief Keke Gibson of the Comanche Hunters and Chief Lil’ Charles Taylor of the White Cloud Hunters. A diverse crowd danced alongside the Indians throughout Shreveport Common to the parade’s end at ArtSpace Shreveport.
With the National Endowment for the Arts in the national spotlight, it’s important to note that this project was supported by the NEA, and is exactly the kind of important work that the Endowment specializes in. This project worked with Chief Howard Miller from the very beginning, and identified how he and his tribe wanted to present this cherished New Orleans culture and then presented it in a way where people of all ages and ethnicities could experience the beauty and integrity this culture brings to those who are fortunate to embrace it. We talk about art creating common ground, and, for Ella, it was a pleasure to be a part of. It was also too much of a success to just do one time, so right now, we’re working on our next project to promote and share our beautiful culture.
For videos and photos of this amazing event, visit our Facebook page.