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All photos © Rob Brown

Rhythm and Rhyme

Artist: Rob Brown

Project: Don’t Bow Down on that Dirty Ground: The Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans

Description: With an anthropologist’s dedication to understanding a distinct subculture, Rob Brown has spent two decades working among the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians, whose “ceremonial dress, mysterious vernacular idioms, a song canon of complex rhythm and rhyme, [and] unique style of dance and movement,” according to Brown, “constitute a folk group that has maintained its cultural richness and singularity for more than a century.”

Ostrich plumes and intricate beadwork adorn the participants’ handmade suits as they take to the streets in a parade unlike any other in the city. Documenting the unique traditions of the Uptown neighborhoods, Brown captures the lively atmosphere of “masking” on Mardi Gras.



Eyes on the South is curated by Jeff Rich. The weekly series features selections of current work from Southern artists, or artists whose photography concerns the South. To submit your work to the series, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Rob Brown

Rob Brown is a cultural geographer and photographer at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. He earned a PhD in Geography from Louisiana State University in 2001. Rob’s photographs seek to document ordinary spaces and landscapes that are made sacred through sense of place and culture.