By the time the SoulFire4TheGulf participants arrived in New Orleans, they had spent days in ceremony on the north shore at the Mandeville Mounds (Fountainebleau St. Park). It showed. A three hour drum circle passed in a flash, with Mac Rebbenack a/k/a Dr. John, Sunpie Barnes and Papa Mali joining the Grandmothers of all nations and the Native American coalition of elders in Turtle Women Rising.
After Mardi Gras Indians including Big Chief David Montana of the Wichita Hunters and Big Chief Little Walter of the Creole Wild West joined in, a second line 100 strong paraded from Armstrong Park through Jackson Square to a healing of the waters ceremony at the banks of the Mississippi River. Dr. John and Mz. imani presided over the ceremony that was attended and blessed by over by Lakota Elder Avrol Looking Horse, GM Margaret Behan & Paula Horne.
The event coincided with the two-year anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Mz. imani coordinated the event; she was easy to spot in her Listen to Grandmother tee shirt from Turtle Women Rising. Dr. John and sculptor Bellavia have created Orisha Dolls to help fund the Soul Fire elders' travel.
Cheyenne Arapaho Grandmother Margaret Behan told me she traveled from Montana, near the Canadian border, to participate the healing ceremony for the waters. At the end of one of the prayers, a woman in the circle announced: "The Great Mother is on the move," and the fountains in the lagoon came alive. Unscheduled, but right on time.
Happy Earth Day, from the Gulf Mexico to whatever shore you're nearest. To read more about Soul Fire for the Gulf, visit: http://www.turtlewomenrising.com. Slideshow of the ceremony and second line below.
You can follow Dr. John, who's performing Sunday at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, on Twitter at @akadrjohn.
Follow Karen Dalton-Beninato on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kbeninato