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The House of Dance and Feathers

1317 Tupelo Street, New Orleans, LA 70117
504 957 2678
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Ranked #94 of 172 Attractions in New Orleans
Type: Specialty Museums
Owner description: House of Dance & Feathers is a cultural museum based on Ronald Lewis' participation in the culture of Mardi Gras Indians, Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs... more » Owner description: House of Dance & Feathers is a cultural museum based on Ronald Lewis' participation in the culture of Mardi Gras Indians, Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs & Skull and Bone Gangs. Opening hours are informal, so please telephone ahead to make an appointment.Ronald: I was working on my Mardi Gras Indian costumes for the Choctaw Hunters, a Mardi Gras Indian tribe I helped start in the Lower 9th Ward. While I was working on the suits, I had feathers and memorabilia all over the house. I came home one day & everything was in my backyard. My loving wife (who we call Minnie) said "I can't take this no more. You've got to find something to do with this." I moved the artwork into the shed and started putting up my various artifacts. The children in the community started calling it a museum and I gave it a name, "The House of Dance & Feathers", which means second lining and Mardi Gras Indians. I was at the point in my life where, "Okay, I can make a Mardi Gras Indian costume, but I want to educate the world about our great culture, how we do this, and why we are so successful at it even though the economics say we ain't supposed to be." Ronald created the museum in 2003, and then once again rebuilt in the wake of Katrina in 2005. Based at Ronalds house on Tupelo Street in the Lower 9th Ward, The House of Dance & Feathers is a unique experience as Ronald Lewis weaves his personal stories into each artifact in the museum and encourages a dialogue with his guests, so no two visits are ever the same. Although you'll arrive a stranger, you'll almost certainly leave as a friend.As well as being the museum's director and curator, Ronald W. Lewis, is the president of the Big Nine Social Aid & Pleasure Club, former Council Chief of the Choctaw Hunters, Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame inductee, 2008 King of Krewe de Vieux and a central character in Dan Baums best seller, Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death and Life in New Orleans. « less
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English first
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
12 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2014

The House of Dance and Feathers is housed in a small building behind Director Ronald Lewis' house in the Lower 9th Ward. It may not look like much on the outside, but the collection of costumes and artifacts from Mardi Gras Indians and various Social Pleasure Clubs is a real treat to see. Mr. Lewis lost a great deal of... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Berkeley, California
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2014 via mobile

Mr. Ronald Lewis opens his home-based museum and heart to visitors wanting to gain some understanding and knowledge about the traditions of Mardi Gras Indians, Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs and the rebirth of the 9th ward after Katrina. Being there was like being with a relative talking story.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Leeds, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2014

We visited The House of Dance and Feathers as part of the Ninth Ward Rebirth Bike Tour. Echo the comments that owner Ronald Lewis is one of the nicest people you could meet and it was one of the highlights of our trip to New Orleans. We purchased a signed copy of his book before we said our goodbyes. It... More

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haddon twp, United States
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2013

Mr. Ronald Lewis's House of Dance and Feathers is truly a beautiful exhibit of history, strength, and culture! The collection of pieces/stories in the House of Dance and Feathers allows you to delve deep into New Orleans people, cluture and history. Mr. Lewis is a true ambassador of New Orleans and the Lower Ninth Ward. Listening to him tell stories... More

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New Orleans, Louisiana
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2013

Ronald Lewis never lost sight of his vision, in spite of the tragic devastation left by the 2005 flood. He immediately set to work restoring and improving the museum that he built to honor New Orleans' traditions. Today, he gives tours and lectures on the cultural history of the African American Mardi Gras Indian gangs and the Social Aid &... More

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Rochester, NY
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
24 attraction reviews
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2013

What a privilege to be able to visit this museum. It's sort of a companion to the Backstreet Cultural Museum, but concentrates on memorabilia and photos, rather than on the Mardi Gras Indian costumes. Ronald Lewis, the museum's curator is one of the kindest, wisest people I've ever met. The website says "You'll leave a here a friend!" and it's... More

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NYC
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
17 attraction reviews
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2011

My boyfriend and I paid a last-minute visit to Ronald Lewis' House of Dance and Feathers on our final vacation day in New Orleans—and we're so happy we did. The one-room "museum" is located in Ron's backyard in the Lower Ninth Ward, where some houses have been rebuilt, others dozed and their lots overgrown, and others abandoned indefinitely. The museum... More

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