Sippin’ and sewin’: Mardi Gras Indians offer unique spin on wine parties

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NEW ORLEANS — The Young Maasai Hunters are inviting you to an experience like no other.

You may have heard of paint and sip — but what about sip and sew? Mardi Gras Indians are offering the sacred art of bead work to everyday people, all while enjoying a glass of wine.

“You get a chance to learn how to sew if you don’t know how.  If you do, you get to learn how to sew how Indians sew,” said Big Cheif Keelian “Dumpster” Boyd.

Many in New Orleans preserve the Mardi Gras Indian culture by keeping it a secret, shrouded in mystique. This tribe says it’s time to answer the questions.

“Super Sunday, or on Mardi Gras Day, people have questions: How do you create the suit?  How much time does it take? Where do you get your sequins?  Where do you get your beads?  How do you do it?  So I said, we can start teaching people and start introducing them to this indigenous culture,” Queen “Mimi” Shawmika Edwards Boyd said.

A full Indian suit can take upwards of a year to complete. These classes can have you finish a take-home patch in about two hours.

“You don’t even half to know how to thread a needle.  We’re going to show you from beginning to end,” said Queen Boyd.

Sip and Sew is their way of sharing the culture, altering perceptions and sending folks home with a bit of authentic New Orleans flavor.

“It’s a piece of what we do.  So with that being said, we are welcoming you into our world,” Big Chief Boyd said.

Classes are on Sundays from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Second Vine Wine off of St. Claude Avenue. It costs $45 a person.

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