CBTP Spotlight: Big Chief Juan Pardo
Big Chief Juan Pardo is a Mardi Gras Indian from New Orleans, a cultural force who proudly carries on one of the country's most unique and soulful musical traditions. His recent production of the Voices of the Nation recording with other Mardi Gras Indians is an essential edition to the long and glorious history of Mardi Gras Indians that includes the Wild Magnolias, the Wild Tchoupitoulas, Golden Eagle, and 101 Runners recording. His performing profile has been heightened with appearances with the Neville Family Experience at the 2017 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Gala and multiple appearances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest in 2017.
Juan grew up in the New Orleans area and was interested in the Mardi Gras Indians since he was a child. His parents used to take him to see the Indians, and he got more involved when his brother started “masking” Indian. Pardo started sewing the multi colored beaded patches for his brother for several years before making his first Indian suit in 2003. He joined the Golden Commanches Mardi Gras Indian tribe and played different roles for them when they came out each Mardi Gras. One year he was the spy boy who goes first as the tribe moves down the street seeing what other tribes are out there to meet and relaying the info back to the Big Chief in the back of the formation. He worked his way up the ranks so that now he is the Big Chief leading his tribe each Mardi Gras day.