Big Chief Allison “Tootie” Montana- unselfish service and determination

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NEW ORLEANS-- February is Black History Month, a month-long celebration remembering the important contributions that African Americans have made in our nation's history.

In honor of Black History Month, News with a Twist is featuring the people and places of New Orleans and beyond that helped to shape our community.

Today we salute Big Chief Allison "Tootie" Montana.

According to Darryl Montana, "My dad, Big Chief "Tootie" Montana was known for Mardi Gras Indian but he was just as much as a teacher as he was a mentor. My daddy masked 52 years. He never quit, meaning that he would leave and go into the street and still have peace sitting on the table."

Civil rights activist and friend Jerome Smith explained, "If you happen to be born and be involved in that neighborhood, you knew following him, you know something about doing your best and then unselfish service because nobody gave him a dime"

The younger Montana also spoke of his father's determination to mask during the Mardi Gras season, "This man wouldn't sleep from Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. Once he put that suit on, he could go and go to sleep. How he was doing it in his 70s, only God knows cause I know I couldn't do it."

Our Black History Month series is brought to you by The King Firm.