NEW ORLEANS — Since he was a teenager, Monk Boudreaux has been donning a Technicolor suit of beads and feathers and taking to the streets as a Mardi Gras Indian, shaking a tambourine and singing songs that have made him famous well beyond the streets of his Uptown neighborhood.
Boudreaux, 80, is big chief of the Golden Eagles, one of an estimated three dozen “tribes” of Black men and women across New Orleans who emerge every spring to show off their elaborate creations in a series of parades. It’s a tradition that dates back more than a century to when segregation barred Black residents from participating in the city’s parades.
“Nothing has stopped us, not even Katrina,” said Boudreaux, an elder of the tribes who is credited as one of the first Mardi Gras Indians to record music. His decade-spanning career has taken him around the world and earned him a Grammy nomination this year.
Monk Boudreaux, big chief of the Golden Eagles in New Orleans.
Members of the groups — also known as Black-masking Indians — design and sew their own elaborately beaded suits, which alternately pay homage to Native Americans who helped protect runaway slaves and celebrate African culture. The suits include patch-like elements sewn with thousands of tiny beads depicting historical figures and scenes, as well as intricate headdresses sewn with colorful plumes of feathers.
Even with round-the-clock sewing, many suits take upward of a year to create, a costly labor of devotion that has kept going despite all the challenges faced by New Orleans’ citizens.
The historic megadrought in the western United States, compounded by human-caused climate change, has curtailed the flow of the Colorado River to critical levels with no relief in sight. However, keen observers predicted this situation over a century ago, so how did we end up here?
Listen in as Ten Across founder Duke Reiter talks to water experts Anne Castle and John Fleck about the history and future of the Colorado River including the 40 million people and 5 million acres of farmland that rely on its diminishing water supply.
Anne Castle is a senior fellow at the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment at the University of Colorado Law School. From 2009 to 2014, she was Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior where she oversaw water and science policy for the Department and had responsibility for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey. She previously practiced water law for many years with the Rocky Mountain law firm of Holland & Hart.
Sick of having a gun-toting bimbo represent you in congress? … you can either go to the voter registration below and change your affiliation from Democratic to Unaffiliated (and sleep peacefully at night) then you can vote in either primary … Or go to your local court house and complete the change. That’s the only way we’re going to get her out of office.. Democrats don’t have a chance in hell of defeating her. Don Coram is a decent gentlemen and Boebert is a pendejo … Seems the choice is clear.
UNAWEEP DIVIDE — The honey bees are over there, by the organic garden. The peregrines nest up on the cliffs. A mess of metates — Native American grinding stones — are over in the dense pinion. Every winter the elk gather in the meadow below the granite cliffs. There’s a table up in those cliffs, for “sunset dinner on the rocks,” said Paul Ashcraft.
A few months ago, Ashcraft and several of his neighbors at the highest point in Unaweep Canyon saw a plan proposed by Xcel Energy to build a hydro power plant that will help the company reach its renewable energy goals. The plan put a 75-foot dam holding back the edge of an 88-acre reservoir in Ashcraft’s front yard. The proposal also puts his neighbors’ homes and Colorado 141 underwater.
When James “KG” Kagambi was 23, he climbed Mount Kenya in his homeland, the second tallest peak in Africa — and swore he’d never do it again. “I hated it,” he recalls. “By the time I got to 15,000 feet, I had headaches.” But then he encountered a magical substance for the first time. “I just loved snow. I touched it and knew that I like this. I was looking back [at the summit] and saying, ‘You know what? I want to go back there right now.’ After that, I couldn’t stop.”
He soon left his job as a geography, music, and physical education teacher of grades 5 through 8. And for 39years, Kagambi has climbed the peaks of the world. He’s summited Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania “so many zillion times,” Denali twice, and Aconcagua (the highest peak in the Americas), among others. He’s taught mountaineering from Patagonia to the Rockies, and he’s trained climbers and guides the world over. Then, in 2020, he was invited to join the first all-Black climbing team to summit Mount Everest.