As well as being the museum’s director and curator, Ronald W. Lewis, is the president of the Big Nine Social Aid & Pleasure Club, former Council Chief of the Choctaw Hunters, Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame inductee, former Gate Keeper of the North Side Skull and Bones gang, 2008 King of Krewe de Vieux and a central character in Dan Baums best seller, Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death and Life in New Orleans.To visit The House of Dance and Feathers on your trip to New Orleans, use our New Orleans trip planner.
Ronald: I was working on my Mardi Gras Indian costumes for the Choctaw Hunters, a Mardi Gras Indian tribe I helped start in the Lower 9th Ward. While I was working on the suits, I had feathers and memorabilia all over the house. I came home one day & everything was in my backyard. My loving wife (who we call Minnie) said "I can't take this no more. You've got to find something to do with this." I moved the artwork into the shed and started putting up my various artifacts. The children in the community started calling it a museum and I gave it a name, "The House of Dance & Feathers", which means second lining and Mardi Gras Indians.
I was at the point in my life where, "Okay, I can make a Mardi Gras Indian costume, but I want to educate the world about our great culture, how we do this, and why we are so successful at it even though the economics say we ain't supposed to be."
Ronald created the museum in 2003, and then once again rebuilt in the wake of Katrina in 2005. Based at Ronalds house on Tupelo Street in the Lower 9th Ward, The House of Dance & Feathers is a unique experience as Ronald Lewis weaves his personal stories into each artifact in the museum and encourages a dialogue with his guests, so no two visits are ever the same. Although you'll arrive a stranger, you'll almost certainly leave as a friend.
The House of Dance and Feathers Reviews
This is private museum of Mardi Gras Indian culture in New Orleans. Mr. Lewis, the owner & operator, is a retired streetcar driver and longtime Indian, skeleton member and Lower 9th Ward homeowner. Hi... more »
It’s small and laid back, but full of interesting and authentic items. Ronald is willing to answer any questions and is interested in you and where you’re from. When you’re visiting from abroad he lik... more »
The preservation of culture was spot on. It was powerful seeing and feeling the history about a community from a community member. His beading work was 🔥. I highly recommend this experience to all.
Ronald is such a knowledge person about the history and culture of New Orleans. He's so nice and approachable. Be prepared to learn a lot and see a lifetime worth of local history
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