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PHOTOS: Before state event order limit came down, tribute paid to Big Chief Leonard Brooks of Golden Spears

Before event limits over COVID-19 were in place, hundreds of mourners and several dozen Mardi Gras Indians paid tribute to Big Chief Leonard Brooks of the Golden Spears and second chief of the Golden Blades.

by Matthew Hinton
March 16, 2020

Before the order from the Louisiana Governor came down to end events of more than 250 people, hundreds of mourners and several dozen Mardi Gras Indians paid tribute to Big Chief Leonard Brooks of the Golden Spears and second chief of the Golden Blades on Friday, March 13, 2020 at the My Redeemer Missionary Baptist Church in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. Brooks (Sept. 8, 1974-March 6, 2020) was bounce musician Big Freedia’s first cousin and Freedia helped with funeral arrangements.

The procession passed by A.L. Davis Park, formerly Shakespeare park, where the Uptown Super Sunday parade was scheduled for this Sunday, but because of the coronavirus pandemic from COVID-19 the annual gathering of Mardi Gras Indian gangs and tribes was canceled.

But that didn’t stop Big Chief Derrick Hulin of the Golden Blades from celebrating his former 2nd Chief, and he was joined by Golden Blades flag boy Jada Gos, Spy Boy K-Nine Alphonse Feliciana, and First Queen Chianti Berry. Surrounded by drums and tambourines Second Queen Tahj Williams of the Golden Eagles sang “My Big Chief’s got the golden crown, Big Chief Leonard has a golden crown. . .” From a traditional song that was recorded on The Wild Tchoupitoulas 1976 album arranged by Art and Charles Neville.

Matthew Hinton is a New Orleans area freelance photographer whose work has been recognized by the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Best of Photojournalism Awards in 2014 and 2016, and by numerous awards from the Press Club of New Orleans, including the Hal Ledet President's Print Photography Award, the highest honor the Press Club can bestow upon a photographer. Matthew Hinton has previously been a staff photographer at both of the daily newspapers in New Orleans. His work has appeared nationally and internationally through freelance work with the Associated Press and AFP, Agence France-Presse.

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