NEW ORLEANS-- We are a month away from the glorious colors and displays of the Mardi Gras Indians and one of the most celebrated gangs is the Mandingo Warriors and the Spirit of Fi Ya Ya. Big Chief Victor Harris allowed us the rare opportunity to see their work in the final weeks leading up to their big day.
According to Chief Harris, he's no longer in charge, "This is where the spirit comes thru. It guides me and takes me all around this piece right here and it takes me out so far that it says ok, oit's on you know, but there's no pencils or patterns to follow."
After 54 years of masking, the spirit is alive and well in Chief Harris, but these suits can take up to a year to prepare. At one month out, this is serious business.
Harris said, "The closer it gets the meaner I get. For some reason you can't find this, you can't fine that and everything somebody do or don't do aggravates you."
On Mardi Gras morning that testiness is well worth in the beauty the warriors show and the love they receive.
"The moment I put the suit on that's when the spirit is inside of me but when I step outside of that door...I'm empowered with all that strength I feel the power within," said Harris.