One of the most interesting, colorful, and mysterious New Orleans traditions is Super Sunday. Aside from Mardi Gras, it’s another important day for Mardi Gras Indians. This year Super Sunday falls on March 20th, the day after St. Joseph’s Day. Mardi Gras Indians will be parading through the neighborhoods of Central City, showing off their beautiful craftsmanship with song and dance.
No one is really sure when the tradition of Mardi Gras Indians coming out on the Sunday closest to St. Joseph’s Day began. However, it is recorded that it became a day-time parade in 1970. Mardi Gras Indians make all of their costumes by hand, and the combination of beads, feathers, and clothing can sometimes weigh as much as 150 pounds. Different tribes meet each other in the streets on Super Sunday to compare outfits, sing, and dance. Many city residents have come to love the tradition of Super Sunday because they admire the craftsmanship and artistry so much.
Every August, the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame holds The Crystal Feathers Awards ceremony to celebrate members of tribes who are making a difference in their community. Big Queen Cherice Harrison-Nelson, curator of the Hall of Fame, created the ceremony to honor the history and traditions of Mardi Gras Indians. Every year, she presents the Crystal Feathers Award created by New Orleans glassblowers and Where Y’Artists Teri Walker & Chad Ridgeway. Teri & Chad donate many of these awards free of charge. Their artwork has long honored the Mardi Gras Indians, their blown glasswork details imitate the beadwork and feathers seen on Mardi Gras Indians costumes and headdresses.
Teri & Chad’s journey together as a couple and as artistic partners began in 2007 when they met and fell in love. Chad Ridgeway was an American metal sculptor and chef living and working in Paris, and Teri Walker was a Canadian glassblower and painter living in New Orleans. Suddenly the possibilities seemed endless for them to create sculptures together and combine all their artistic skills to reflect their whimsical way of life.
Living between the French Quarter and the Mississippi river and the swamp, on any given day they may see pelicans, egrets, herons, as well as feathered costumed people riding their bikes through their neighborhood. What they find most inspiring about working in New Orleans is they can be as creative as they want, and love it.
Visit New Orleans artists Teri & Chad’s Where Y’Art page and discover more of their glasswork.