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Mardi Gras Indians fight to survive in a new state

Big Chief Kevin Goodman of the Flaming Arrows Mardi Gras Indian Tribe performs this month at Jovita's in Austin. The hurricane evacuee says he plans to stay in Texas.
SPECIAL TO THE STAR-TELEGRAM/CHRIS CARSON
Big Chief Kevin Goodman of the Flaming Arrows
Mardi Gras Indian Tribe performs this month at
Jovita's in Austin. The hurricane evacuee says
he plans to stay in Texas.

Posted on Mon, Jan. 30, 2006
By R.A. DYER

Big chief a comin'

Hoopin' and a hollerin' ...

Early in the mornin'

Get outta the way

AUSTIN -- Dancing and chanting and spinning his wild pirouettes inside the terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, here he comes: Big Chief Kevin Goodman, the prettiest Big Chief you've ever seen.

On the stage -- at 2:30 in the afternoon beneath harsh fluorescent lights -- his five-piece Flaming Arrows have standby passengers confounded. A man in a business suit shuts down his laptop and stares at Goodman's neon Indian attire. A woman dances a tentative boogie-woogie but then sheepishly stops.

With bright yellow ostrich feathers and long black tresses that swing like ropes, Goodman and his giant headdress are like nothing ever seen at Gate 10.

He's a real live Mardi Gras Indian -- part of a centuries-old New Orleans tradition that blends hypnotic rhythms, flamboyant costumes and wild dances into a funky combination of performance art and street theater. In Hurricane Katrina's wake, Goodman made a forced landing in Texas along with the brass bands, the jazz hipsters and all the other traumatized and talented music makers displaced by the storm.

But unlike New Orleans jazz, the Indian gang tradition might not survive the move. ... [MORE]



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