2000 – 2018 – Big Chief Thomas “Bo” Dean
1997-2000 – Big Chief Ferdinand “Pops” Bigard Continue reading →
2009 – Present – Big Chief Jermaine “Jigga” Bossier
Big Chief Jermaine “Jigga” Bossier was bitten by the masking bug at the age of 6. As he says, “it was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen”. It wasn’t until the age of fourteen that he was able join in the culture. Chiefs’ father and grandfather were musicians. His grandfather Raymond Lewis’ song, “Imma Put Some Hurt on You”, was covered by the Neville Brothers and he appeared on American Bandstand. His father was in a band in late 70’s early 80’s called Soul Dimension. Chief himself played baritone in the band and sang in the choir. His mother was the one that exposed him to the culture. His sister second lined for Tambourine and Fan with Big Duck Jerome Smith. Chief says, “when I was kid everybody wanted to be an Indian”. Spy Boy Fred Johnson of the Yellow Pocahontas is credited by Chief as a major influence in his early years of training along with the Great Tootie Montana, Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas. Continue reading →
2016 – Present Big Chief John Ellison
Culture? Where does it start? Is it a group decision? How does it expand? It seems the answer can be liner for the first three questions. It appears, it starts from one, then followed and evolves as it moves forward. The latter question can be a tangled web. Culture has Culture bearers not admission administrators. There are no written criteria for expanding a culture, or who can, and how they should do so. There is system of Respect, in the form of permission from forefathers (Big Chief) and mothers (Queens). Allow me the liberty to say that, the process works well in theory. In reality, that can get pretty muddy, to say the least. But this culture has its own way of flushing out the spiritually weak. One unwritten rule is, anyone desiring to bring out a gang must have permission from either a select group that speaks on your behalf or to be given the right to by an original culture bearer of that disbanded tribe. Obviously, there are many scenarios that can come out of that. Just for the fact it’s an unwritten rule. Continue reading →
2012 – Present Big Chief Edward “Freaky E” Johnson
There are very few good things that came from the Katrina catastrophe. The more we speak with younger chiefs we see the effect much more clearly. Before the storm Chief Edward was raised and still lives in the Heart of Uptown on the corner of Louisiana and Barone. he grew up across the street from the legendary Big Chief Bo Dollis Sr. of the Wild Magnolias and went to elementary school with Bo Dollis Jr. and his late father Joseph Johnson Sr. was a Music Minister and Member of Zulu. His spiritual roots given by his father while playing drums in the church connects to Chief also being immersed in the brass band culture as a member of “The Young Pinstripe Brass Band and VP of the “We are one” social aid and pleasure club and most of his tribe being comprised of brass band players. Those roots make it easy to see why Big Chief was destined to be an uptown Culture bearer. Continue reading →
2008 – Present – Big Chief Nelson “Mandela Jr.” Lewis
Chief Nelson started masking as a Wildman with no tribe. Chief first saw Black Masking Indians as a child on horseback from the Black Mohawks Tribe that used to come out of Shrewsbury, but now is out of Uptown. “I started carving masks and receiving spirits on how to draw”, along with the spirit of his mother’s sewing. Before the age of 12 he would watch his mom sew as he was honing his skills in mask carving. As Chief says, “she put that spirit in me, in my later years I started sewing”. It seems that the spirits have been guiding Chief Nelson since he was a child. These two accounts of spiritual connectedness are quite unique.
1951 – 1967 Big Chief Lawrence Fletcher
1967 – 1981 Big Chief Percy “P” Lewis
1982 – 2011 Big Chief Gerard “Rardi” Lewis
2012 – present Big Chief Curtis “Suge” Williams
2017 Hit the Streets
Big Chief grew up with his step father “Wild Man” Richard Ivory Turner of the 9th Ward Warriors, later with 9th Ward Hunters. In 2004 Big Chief and his stepfather with others went with Big Chief Nelson Burk to start the Red Hawk Tribe. Even though he grew up at the knee of Black Maskers (Mardi Gras Indians) he was a late bloomer. Chief started masking, as he said, once he made his own suit, at the age of 30.