Iniko McNeil Data News Weekly Contributor
When clocks roll back an extra hour this weekend, one way to enjoy the cooling weather this Sunday is at the 4th Annual Fall Cultural Fest. Organized by The Feather Fund Nola, a local cultural preservation non-profit, the event was created to celebrate and uplift the ancestors who occupied and thrived on the land called Louisiana today.
“The Feather Fund and (previous organizing group) ‘Black Masking,’ was designed to give back to our cultural community known to many as the Mardi Gras Indians but we refer to them as the Aboriginal Carnival (Injuns) Indians,” said event organizer, Glenn “Chayil” Jones.
Artists will gather at the West Bank Bridge Park in St. Charles Parish on Nov. 5, 2023, from noon to 7 p.m., to participate in performances from local schools, community organizations, and Indian tribes. The festival will feature artwork contributed for display by several St. Charles Parish Schools. The family-friendly festival includes face painting, art displays, and artisan crafts. The festival is free for children 12 and under.
The Feather Fund is hosting the festival alongside partners Shell, the United Way of St. Charles Parish, and the Port of South Louisiana, among other sponsors. Families can dine from a number of food trucks while enjoying musical performances from the Grammy-nominated The 79ers Gang, Amanda Shaw, Bettis 3rd Degree Hip Hop Brass Band, the Brasshearts Brass Band, and the Harold Jackson Quartet.
“We are an education company, and our goal is to educate everyone on the history from Poverty Point, which is a World Heritage site to what they call modern day Mardi Gras Indians,” Jones said of the festival’s mission to preserve cultural practices in the state.
“And to explain how our culture here in Louisiana matured to where it is now or evolved to where it is now,” Jones added.
Poverty Point received its UNESCO World Heritage site designation only in 2014, but over 2,200 years ago it served as a residential, trade, and ceremonial space for Native Americans. It became a National Historical Landmark in 1962, becoming one of only 3 archaeological sites in the country with this designation.
The Fall Festival aimed to celebrate the intersection of many cultures over the History of Louisiana, uplifting and uniting these cultures that make the City of New Orleans so unique, Jones explained. Jones said those who attend the festival can both enjoy themselves while learning more about these connecting histories.
“To make that connection with the River Parishes which are very strong in their culture and their history involving the Spanish, French, Irish, and German and then now explaining how all of those cultures came together through our festival with some entertainment and some food; we are just very thankful of [Matthew] Jewel, the President of St. Charles Parish, who has really opened his arms and his office to bring us [here],” Jones said.
Through a partnership with the St. Charles Parish School System, which is recognized as having one of the top Robotics Departments in the state, the festival will spotlight a Robotics Show from noon to 2 p.m. to start off the entertainment slate. Live performances will follow, kicking off first by local star Amanda Shaw, the Harold Jackson Quartet, and homegrown world-renowned Grammy-nominated funk band, The 79ers.