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Mardi Gras Indian, Big Chief Beautiful, Marks 30 Years of Uninterrupted Marching in Celebration of New Orleans Mardi Gras Culture

NEW ORLEANS, LA — [December 25, 2023]

The vibrant and culturally rich city of New Orleans will witness a historic milestone as Mardi Gras Indian, Big Chief Beautiful, aka Walter Sandifer Jr., celebrates an impressive 30 years of continuous marching as a guardian of Mardi Gras traditions. This remarkable achievement will be commemorated by the Keep It In the Culture (KIITC)–a worker-owned cooperative that provides affordable, high-quality craft and costume materials to culture bearers.

Big Chief Beautiful, a stalwart figure in the Mardi Gras Indian community, has become synonymous with the resilience and passion that define New Orleans Mardi Gras culture. For three decades without missing a single Mardi Gras, the Chief has paraded through the streets, adorned in meticulously crafted, hand-sewn suits that pay homage to our ancestors’ rich history and traditions.

The cooperative aims to engage the community in a festive and educational celebration with traditional music performances and interactive workshops on Mardi Gras Indian craftsmanship. It will honor Big Chief Beautiful by attending various events throughout the Mardi Gras Season.

“I am humbled and grateful to have marched as a Mardi Gras Indian for 30 years, contributing to the rich tapestry of our city’s culture. In the earlier chapters of my life, I faced the harsh reality of addiction, finding myself homeless on the streets of New Orleans. During this tumultuous time, a friend in the Red, White, and Blue Mardi Gras Indian tribe extended me a lifeline by teaching me the art of sewing. This skill gave me hope and allowed me to chart a new course for my future. By sharing my story, I hope to serve as a beacon of inspiration and motivate others to rewrite their narratives and discover the transformative power within themselves. Mardi Gras is more than a celebration; it’s a living tradition that connects us to our roots and strengthens the bonds of our community. Keeping it in the culture saved my life!

Big Chief Beautiful will be available throughout the season to share his reflections on the past 30 years and offer insight into the significance of Mardi Gras Indian culture. KITTC invites journalists, community members, and Mardi Gras enthusiasts to join in the celebrations, whether digitally or in person.

“We are incredibly honored to celebrate the remarkable achievement of Big Chief Beautiful. His dedication to preserving the Mardi Gras Indian tradition empowers us all,” said Nick Holmes, spokesperson for the Keep It In The Culture. “This milestone is a testament to the resilience of our community and the enduring spirit of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.”

For media inquiries and additional information about the events, please contact:

[Nick Holmes]




About Keep It In the Culture Cooperative

The Keep It In the Culture cooperative provides affordable craft and costume materials for the culture bearers of New Orleans. The group is dedicated to bringing ownership back to the community through cooperativism and preserving and celebrating the cultural heritage of New Orleans. Through community engagement, educational initiatives, and cultural events, the cooperative aims to ensure that the vibrant traditions and unique identity of New Orleans thrive for generations to come. Visit for more information or to purchase supplies.

About Big Chief Beautiful

[Walter Sandifer is the Big Chief of the Beautiful Creole Apache Mardi Gras Indians, a flag boy for the Red, White, and Blue Mardi Gras Indians, spent 20 years with the Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians, and is a native New Orleanian. He founded Keep It In The Culture Cooperative LLC and will celebrate his 30th consecutive year as Mardi Gras Indian in 2024.]

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