Louisiana Legacy: Mardi Gras costume makers
IOTA - A woman in Acadia Parish has been sewing and crafting Mardi Gras costumes for people in Louisiana and around the world for decades. Jackie Miller has even been inducted into the Louisiana Folklife Center Hall of Fame.
For more than forty years, she's handmade more than 1,000 costumes for the Courier de Mardi Gras. Carnival season is celebrated differently in rural areas than in New Orleans. Historians link rural Mardi Gras to earlier French versions of the holiday.
That's when bands of costumed merrymakers would travel from house to house begging for charity. The shirt and pants were made with scraps of fabric revelers found around the house, the hats mocked nobility like the royals or clergy and the masks were for hiding their identity.
"You can't go out and buy it," Miller told News 2's Kylie Dixon. "You either have to make it or have someone make it. "A lot of people don't sew or they can't do it, so I get really busy this time of year."
Her husband, Larry, is an accomplished accordion player and legendary accordion maker. He's turned his love for music into a mission to spread the unique cajun sound around the world.
"I went out and bought an accordion...and...within 30 minutes after I put my deposit...it struck me that I really wanted to learn how to build as well," he explains.
The costumes and music come together in the Tee Mamou Mardi Gras that locals say is the "real" Mardi Gras. The costumed characters ride the countryside, dancing and begging for chickens and other ingredients for their Fat Tuesday gumbo.
Visit the Millers and you'll cut up because through her costumes, his music and their love of tradition, everyday is Mardi Gras, as they carry on a Louisiana Legacy.
INFORMATION FOR LARRY AND JACKIE:
INFORMATION FOR FESTIVAL: