During Mardi Gras, spectators wait for the approach of the Mardi Gras Indians, a sublime spectacle of dancing, chanting, and gorgeous hand-sewn costumes. But rarely are they shown the human stories behind this unique New Orleans tradition. Told through a collective oral history, Fire In The Hole weaves together the voices of costumers, anthropologists, and photographers to offer the previously undocumented stories of crafting costumes, tribe formations, and political engagement that has been so important to generations of New Orleanians. Accompanying these stories are over 200 color photographs, which capture the intimate, candid, and ecstatic moments of Fi Yi Yi and the Mandingo Warriors.
Rachel Breunlin is co-director of the Neighborhood Story Project. She is currently the ethnographer-in-residence in the Anthropology Department at the University of New Orleans where she teaches courses on public culture and collaborative ethnography.
Jeffrey David Ehrenreich is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Orleans.