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BIG CHIEF HARRISON AND THE MARDI GRAS INDIANS

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From age four in 1937 to his death in 1998, Donald Harrison Sr. embraced the tradition of New Orleans' Mardi Gras Indians. As Big Chief of the Guardian of the Flames, he led with both wisdom and passion. This biography of this remarkable man is based on more than seventy interviews with his family and others he influenced.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Al Kennedy is an award-winning author and professor of American history at the University of New Orleans. A retired communications coordinator with the New Orleans Public Schools District, he has been a featured speaker at the University of New Orleans lecture series and on local television and radio programs. His work has appeared in Louisiana Weekly and the Mississippi Rag, and he was interviewed for a special edition of the literary journal Callaloo. Kennedy's areas of focus have shed light on the history of local public schools, the musical heritage of New Orleans, and the Mardi Gras Indians. His previous book, Chord Changes on the Chalkboard: How Public School Teachers Shaped Jazz and the Music of New Orleans, received numerous awards, including the Jazztown Award, the Henry Kmen Award, the New Orleans International Music Colloquium Jazz Supporter Award, and the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Blue Eagle Award. Kennedy was included among notable Louisiana and national writers at the 2003 Louisiana Book Festival. Kennedy earned a B.A. from Loyola University, followed by a master's degree in public administration and a Ph.D. in urban studies/urban history from the University of New Orleans. He enjoys jazz, photography, and volunteering for the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame. Kennedy resides in Metairie, Louisiana, with his family.