Black Feather Mardi Gras Indians | Al-Jazeera America

I spent some time following a Mardi Gras Indian chief as he made his suit for the 2016 Mardi Gras celebrations for Al-Jazeera America. The members of the various Mardi Gras Indian Tribes spend many months and thousands of dollars on their suits, yet wear them only a handful of times.

Corey Rayford, Big Chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe, parades through the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans on February 9, 2016 with his tribe.

Corey Rayford, Big Chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe, parades through the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans on February 9, 2016 with his tribe.

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Corey Rayford, Big Chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian Tribe, works on his suit at his home in New Orleans East. Rayford will spend months and thousands of dollars creating the suit, but will wear it only a handful of times.

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Corey Rayford, Big Chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian Tribe, works on his suit at his home in New Orleans East. Rayford will spend months and thousands of dollars creating the suit, but will wear it only a handful of times.

Corey Rayford, Big Chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian Tribe, works on his suit at his home in New Orleans East. Rayford will spend months and thousands of dollars creating the suit, but will wear it only a handful of times.

Corey Rayford, Big Chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian Tribe, works on his suit at his home in New Orleans East. Rayford will spend months and thousands of dollars creating the suit, but will wear it only a handful of times.

Photographs of the Black Feather and Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indians on January 27, 2016 in New Orleans, La.

A section of a Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian suit under construction on January 27, 2016 in New Orleans, La.

Photographs of the Black Feather and Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indians on January 27, 2016 in New Orleans, La.

Corey Rayford, Big Chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian Tribe, works on his suit at his home in New Orleans East. Rayford will spend months and thousands of dollars creating the suit, but will wear it only a handful of times.

Photographs of the Black Feather and Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indians on January 27, 2016 in New Orleans, La.

Feathers are impossible to keep contained at the home of Corey Rayford on January 27, 2016 in New Orleans, La.

Corey Rayford, Big Chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe, left, and his niece Raquise Hawkins, center, don their suits on Mardi Gras day before parading through the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans on February 9, 2016.

Corey Rayford, Big Chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe, left, and his niece Raquise Hawkins, center, don their suits on Mardi Gras day before parading through the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans on February 9, 2016.

Black Feather Mardi Gras Indians in the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans on February 9, 2016.

Black Feather Mardi Gras Indians in the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans on February 9, 2016.

Corey Rayford, Big Chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe, comes out in the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans on February 9, 2016.

Corey Rayford, Big Chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe, comes out in the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans on February 9, 2016.

Corey Rayford, Big Chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe, parades through the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans on February 9, 2016.

Black Feather Mardi Gras Indians parade through the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans on February 9, 2016.

Sam Jackson, of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe, parades through the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans on February 9, 2016.

Sam Jackson, of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe, parades through the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans on February 9, 2016.

Theris Valdery, flag boy with the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe, beneath Interstate 10 on Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans on February 9, 2016.

Theris Valdery, flag boy with the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe, beneath Interstate 10 on Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans on February 9, 2016.

Corey Rayford, Big Chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe, parades through the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans on February 9, 2016.

Corey Rayford, Big Chief of the Black Feather Mardi Gras Indian tribe, parades through the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans on February 9, 2016.

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