As part of the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, a new krewe called the baby dolls was formed in 1912. The baby dolls were a group of black prostitutes who worked in an area outside the legal red-light district called (black) Storyville. They would dress up on Mardi Gras to out-do the red-light district workers. Their name was said to originate from the nickname already given to the women by their pimps: baby dolls.
The style of the baby doll in the Mardi Gras celebration was tight or skimpy clothing, some adorned with money and cigars, throwing it at the observing men. Their instruments included the washboard, the kazoo, the guitar, and a big No. 3 tub for the bass drum. Throughout the years, the women expanded their group, collecting dues and possibly becoming the first women’s organization in the Mardi Gras celebration. Their styles then varied, even being dressed as actual babies, or baby dolls, depending on the group.
As debutante balls took over and the traditions of Mardi Gras changed, the baby dolls faded for decades. However, after Hurricane Katrina, a new group honoring the women called the 504 Eloquent Baby Dolls of New Orleans formed. This is the newest group of baby dolls, as others in existence include the Gold Digger Baby Dolls, the Treme Million Dollar Baby Dolls and the Ernie K-Doe Baby Dolls.
While the tradition started with local prostitutes of the Storyville area, the new groups of baby dolls urge to bring back cultural tradition and entertainment on Fat Tuesday. The groups are comprised of women from different professions, including a professional dance troupe.
The culture behind the baby dolls groups is explained through an exhibit at the Louisiana State Museum. In addition, Kim Marie Vaz, Associate Dean at Xavier University in New Orleans has released “The Baby Dolls: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition.” Their history is also told in the book “Gumbo Ya-Ya” (1947).
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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