Mardi Gras kicks off this weekend in both New Orleans .. and Durham, NC. Durham's celebration has been growing over the last couple of years. There will be a big parade on Fat Tuesday (March 4) starting at the bronze bull on CCB Plaza at 6 p.m., followed by eight bands performing on five stages.
The weekend begins though, with a celebration called "Hey Pocky Way- A Mardis Gras Primer."
Musician Phil Cook talked with Eric Hodge about the weekend happenings. He says that the name of the event "Hey Pocky Way" has history: "When the Mardis Gras Indians would [dons masks and costumes] on certain holidays leading up to Mardi Gras, they would meet each other on the streets ... "Tu way pocky way" means you go your way, I'll go mine."
The Bulltown Strutters will perform:
"Hey Pocky Way- A Mardis Gras Primer" event is a benefit for the Hillside High Marching Band.
New Orleans Film
And then on Sunday, there will be a screening of "Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker." The film features a New Orleans piano player, James Booker. Booker played with all the greats, but for a number of reasons he did not become a household name.
Here's a description from the filmmakers: "Dr. John described Booker as “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.” A brilliant pianist, his eccentricities and showmanship belied a life of struggle, prejudice, and isolation. Illustrated with never-before-seen concert footage, rare personal photos and exclusive interviews, the film paints a portrait of this overlooked genius."