Irish film artist Moira Tierney investigates the historical and political underpinnings of the artistic traditions of Mardi Gras Indians in Tremé, New Orleans.
Defying a highway overpass that divided their neighbourhood, the Mardi Gras Indians reclaim their territory by painting murals and continuing masking traditions in an assertion of cultural identity. With their black neighbours, they create an alternative version of their history, referring to the Civil Rights movement and the Maroon tradition that united runaway slaves and Native Americans. Their efforts build to a celebratory climax and a proud display of cultural resistance as they proceed down Claiborne Avenue on Mardi Gras Day.
Having earned the trust of community leaders, Tierney filmed activities on super 8mm and 16mm, creating an illuminating soundscape of spoken word, contemporary jazz, Mardi Gras songs, and voiceover by Big Chief Kevin Goodman.