Tootie's Last Suit | Chicago Reader

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The Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans began as a ceremonial assertion of white supremacy after the Civil War, but the city's black population created a parallel festival in which “tribes” of young males dressed up in fanciful, feathered “Indian” costumes and brawled in the streets. This excellent documentary tracks the 20th-century evolution (and pacification) of these amazing rites through the storied life of Allison “Tootie” Montana, whose astonishing costumes set the bar for over 50 years. Ornery and obsessive, Montana is too competitive to acknowledge the talent and dedication of his son Darryl, who aspires to inherit his mantle. Director Lisa Katzman eschews stylistic curlicues and lets the community's history speak for itself. 92 min.

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