The Mardi Gras Indian Council, in partnership with the Foundation for Louisiana, recently received a $500,000 grant from ArtPlace America. Originally developed by Tulane City Center, under Maurice Cox's direction, the project will result in the creation of the Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus. The Center assembled a collaborative team that included the Louisiana State University School of Landscape Architecture and the Tulane Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development program, and proposed the renovation and re-use of several existing structures and empty lots on LaSalle Street in Central City. Located across from A.L. Davis Park, site of the Indians’ Super Sunday and St. Joseph’s Night celebrations, the Campus provides a central location for the celebration of Mardi Gras Indian cultural practices and traditions, and will serve as a means to maintain the culture as it passes from one generation to the next.
The ArtPlace grant will facilitate property purchases and renovations proposed by Tulane City Center, bringing the Cultural Campus to life. Visitors will be able to take sewing classes, attend celebrations, and get a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of the carefully guarded Mardi Gras Indian society.
Mardi Gras Indian Council president Bertrand Butler outlined the project’s intensive design process this way: “We worked together over more than a year to create a site that will bring people together, preserve our culture, and be meaningful to young people across the city. The City Center has been there from the beginning, and we never forget our friends.”
Tulane City Center is honored to have been able to play a role in helping the Mardi Gras Indian Council and the Foundation for Louisiana bring this vital hub of creative placemaking to the attention of ArtPlace.
The 2015 Spring 2nd Year Design Studio worked with the Mardi Gras Indian Council by installing an exhibition of their studies of Mardi Gras Indian suits during the Art Place site visit. The studio was taught by Professors: Maurice Cox, Marcella Del Signore, and Scott Ruff.