A lifetime of masking for Chief Monk Boudreaux

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NEW ORLEANS - When folks start throwing around titles and awards like lifetime achievements, one would think it's time to take it easy and sit back.

But if you're Mardi Gras Indian Chief Monk Boudreaux, this time of year means working on a new suit.  And he's been masking for a lifetime.

"Aww man, since I was 12. So what year was that? I don't know," Boudreaux says.

Legendary Big Chief Bo Dollis was his friend and together they not only led indian gangs, but also performed on the groundbreaking songs that have become the soundtrack for Mardi Gras.

Those songs and the sound were passed down to him like so many other generations.

"When you're coming up, you know young, 12 or 13 years old, and you showed the chief interest in being an Indian, they took you (and showed you). Practice wasn't held at the bar room, it was at the chief's house, and they would take you and teach you everything that you're supposed to know to be out there in an Indian suit," said Boudreaux.

Masking as an Indian during Mardi Gras is a passion, but Boudreax's family roots are traced upriver and include Cherokee heritage on one side, and Choctaw on his mother's side.

Living proof of the marriage of cultures that produced him and many others.

"They have more black indians in New Orleans than people think they do. I mean all of us. We came from somewhere," Boudreaux told us.

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