Carnival Noir by Rene Pierre
In the first book of its kind focusing on the expansive African American Mardi Gras experience in New Orleans, float designer and native New Orleanian Rene Pierre documents and explores the richness of his community's contributions. With two generations of family photographs and a firsthand knowledge of the African American krewes, Pierre brings to light this oft-neglected aspect of the Carnival tradition. The artistry and history of the floats and costumes of these krewes stand as testament to an undercelebrated group of New Orleanians who have consistently enriched their city and its traditions. As a participant and member of the community, Pierre charts the growth and influence of the oldest black Carnival clubs in New Orleans including the Original Illinois Club, the Exclusive Twenties, the Black Pirates, and the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club. Through one-on-one interviews with krewe elders, Carnival royalty, and artisans, along with family narratives from Pierre's childhood, Carnival Noir tells a very personal story of the black Carnival experience.