The film opens up in New Orleans in 2005 just before Mardi Gras and a few months before Hurricane Katrina drastically changes the city. We are introduced to a little known subculture of Mardi Gras revellers gearing up for the festivities.
To honour Native Americans who, during slavery harboured escaped slaves, a group of African Americans dress up in ornate native inspired costumes and take to the back streets of New Orleans to parade during Mardi Gras.
We meet a series of “Tribal Chiefs” who organize the parade with their own “tribes” as they spend long hours gluing feathers to costumes preparing to as they call it ”out pretty” the competition and hear of the history of this custom. They tell stories of violence on the streets between tribes, brutality at the hands of the police, explain the complex hierarchy and the nearly forgotten music that accompanies this event.
The film does gloss over the historical roots of this parade, which seems like it could be a documentary on its own. However, when Hurricane Katrina hits, it changes the course of the film. After Katrina the filmmaker Aaron Walker tracks down the tribal chiefs who are now scattered around the south and follows them back to New Orleans as they not only set out to rebuild their lives and homes, but also to keep the tradition of the parade alive.
Bury the Hatchet
Director: Aaron Walker
Producer: Aaron Walker
Sun, May 1st 7pm
Tue, May 3rd 4:30pm