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Interview date: 7.03.15


Bo Dollis, Jr. is the son of the late Bo Dollis, Sr., Chief of the Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indians. In his role as Big Chief, Bo Dollis, Sr. helped to turn the Mardi Gras Indian culture away from violence. Instead, he encouraged the Indians to compete among themselves to see who could sew the most beautiful and intricate suit. Like his father, Bo Dollis, Jr. is a member of the Wild Magnolias; he continues his father’s tradition of using colorful feathers, sequins, and beads to create elaborate suits. In this podcast, Bo explains the origins of the Mardi Gras Indians and describes how Native Americans helped slaves elude their slave owners. The Mardi Gras Indian tradition began years later, when members began dressing in beads and feathers to honor these Native Americans. Over the years, the Indians’ suits have become more and more elaborate. Although some members try to outdo others with their designs, Bo competes only with himself as he tries to surpass last year’s suit. He explains that the suits are expensive to make and invites everyone to support these talented New Orleanians by attending a Mardi Gras Indian fundraiser at Tipitinas on September 19, 2015. For tickets, go to In the meantime, Bo will showcase the Indians’ unique culture and music on July 23, 2015, at the Ogden Museum as part of the Ogden After Hours series.


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