ABOUT THE SYMPOSIUM

The Historic New Orleans Collection presents
The 26th Williams Research Center Symposium
January 21–23, 2022

Months before the scent of fresh king cake, the glow of flambeaux, and the driving beat of marching bands fill New Orleans, artists, makers, and culture bearers across the city are planning, designing, and building. Their inspiration, hard work, and collaboration result in awe-inspiring creations. Much more than just a celebration, Carnival and its rich, diverse, and complicated history invite the world to our streets. 

This year’s Williams Research Center Symposium, presented in conjunction with the exhibition Making Mardi Gras, celebrates the makers who carry the history and traditions forward, who shape their evolution, and who, every year, bring us “The Greatest Free Show on Earth.” 

This year's event is generously sponsored by Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World and Kern Studios.

REGISTER NOW

Due to health concerns, the Williams Research Center 2022 Symposium's in-person programming has been canceled. The sessions will be provided virtually at a later date; please check this site for updates. If you have already registered, be on the lookout for an email with refund information. We apologize for the inconvenience. Extended viewing hours will still be offered on Friday, January 21. Registration is required.


THE SCHEDULE

6:30–8:30 p.m.
Opening Reception

520 Royal Street
Free; reservations required

9:30–10:15 a.m.
Curator Talk:
Mardi Gras Photography” 
520 Royal Street
Free; reservations required

Mallory Taylor, Co-Curator of Making Mardi Gras, The Historic New Orleans Collection

10:30 a.m.
Registration for
In Conversation with Big Chiefs: Traditions and Music of Mardi Gras Indians” 
Toulouse Theater, 615 Toulouse Street
Pay what you're able; $10 minimum; $25 suggested

11 a.m.–1 p.m.
In Conversation with Big Chiefs: Traditions and Music of Mardi Gras Indians” 
with a musical performace by the 79rs Gang

Bruce Sunpie Barnes, Moderator, North Side Skull and Bone Gang
Victor Harris, Spirit of Fi Yi Yi
Howard Miller, Creole Wild West 
Jermaine Bossier, 7th Ward Creole Hunters
Romeo Bougere, 9th Ward Hunters

2–3 p.m.
Curator Talk:
Mardi Gras Costumes” 
520 Royal Street
Free; reservations required

Lydia Blackmore, Co-Curator of Making Mardi Gras, The Historic New Orleans Collection

11 a.m.
Registration for
Making Mardi Gras: Past, Present, and Future” 
Mardi Gras World, The Ballroom
1380 Port of New Orleans Place
Pay what you're able; $30 minimum; $65 suggested

noon
Welcome and Opening Remarks

Daniel Hammer, The Historic New Orleans Collection
Arthur Hardy, Moderator, Arthur Hardy's Mardi Gras Guide

12:20 p.m.
(Un)Making Mardi Gras: The First Century” 
Dr. Rien Fertel, Tulane University

1 p.m.
Break

1:20 p.m.
Made by Hand: The History and Artistry of Rex Floats” 
Dr. Stephen Hales, Rex Historian
Caroline Thomas, Royal Artists

2 p.m.
Making Marching Bands: How Music Education Creates the Heartbeat of Mardi Gras” 
Michele Brierre, Moderator, Ellis Marsalis Center for Music
Dr. Daryl Dickerson, Ellis Marsalis Center for Music
Dr. Michael Torregano, Ellis Marsalis Center for Music; former band director of Warren Easton High School
Adonis Rose, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

2:40 p.m.
Making the Masked Balls of Mardi Gras” 
Arthur Hardy, Moderator
Frank Perez, Historian
Errol Laborde, Historian
Tracey Thibodaux, Original Illinois Club

3:20 p.m.
Break

3:40 p.m.
Making Mardi Gras for All” 
Lydia Blackmore, The Historic New Orleans Collection

4:40 p.m.
Reception

Mardi Gras World, The Mansion
1380 Port of New Orleans Place


Learn more about the traditions and lore of Mardi Gras. Visit the exhibition webpage.