Mardi Gras is a season of abundance. Best-of king cake lists include dozens of must-trys, krewes are plentiful and the traditions are endless. Even New Orleans natives are never far from an undiscovered Mardi Gras treasure. From a new krewe honoring Haitian roots in New Orleans to the storied traditions of Mardi Gras Indians, Louisiana is full of authentic, historic, never-to-be-forgotten moments.
Our dedication to Louisiana is part of our love for these inevitable moments and the immersive experiences we are fortunate to come across in our work for the Louisiana Office of Tourism. So when it came time to brief the creative team for a new campaign, it was only appropriate to step out of the office and into our own backyard—or, really, Ronald Lewis’ backyard, at the House of Dance and Feathers.
Head north on Claiborne, cross over the industrial canal, then turn right on Tupelo street. You will probably double check the GPS a few times, but don’t worry, you are in the right spot. Find the small banner hanging on the fence, and you have arrived at the House of Dance and Feathers. Make sure to call ahead for an appointment, as sometimes Mr. Lewis has plans of his own; if you are lucky enough to catch him, he will be standing on the porch awaiting your arrival.
About 40 feet down his driveway you’ll find a shed of sorts, which houses a gem of a collection of Mardi Gras Indian and Social Aid & Pleasure club lore that is only rivaled by the stories and knowledge presented by Mr. Ronald Lewis himself. It’s a personal collection of figures, books and images haphazardly mixed with donated costumes and newspaper clippings which seem to exist solely as conversation starters. It is difficult to describe exactly what you will find as there is no guided tour—and, as his website promises, no two visits to House of Dance & Feathers are ever the same.
What I can promise is you’ll collect plenty of stories from a very sweet and knowledgeable Ninth Ward legend, you will fill your phone’s photo library with dozens of close-ups of feathers and beads, and you will walk away with respect for and insight into one of the true Mardi Gras traditions that you may have seen before, but never truly understood.