NPR logo The Comanche Hunters: Avant Le Deluge

The Comanche Hunters: Avant Le Deluge

The Spy Boy for the Comanche Hunters Mardi Gras Indians. Josh Jackson hide caption

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Josh Jackson

The Spy Boy for the Comanche Hunters Mardi Gras Indians.

Josh Jackson

Greetings from New Orleans. I've taken refuge from the storm in an air-conditioned production trailer behind the gospel tent, courtesy of my alma mater WWOZ. They're broadcasting live from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, though much of the music has been delayed by torrential thunderstorms.

I first heard music today while passing the Jazz and Heritage stage. The Comanche Hunters Mardi Gras Indians were beating tambourines, drumsticks, and a booming bass drum. The tribe was engaging in the call and response of "Indian Red," one of the most sacred songs in the tradition. Soon after, the big chief started into "Lightning and Thunder," the signature chant of Monk Boudreaux, the big chief of the Golden Eagles tribe. Big Chief Boudreaux was standing near the stage, smiling with approval upon hearing his song.

I'm no mystic, but the Comanche Hunters gave the benediction. We're getting plenty of lightning and thunder right now. I hope I hear another Indian lyric soon: "Walk through the water and I didn't get wet."

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