African-American tradition returns to Carnival - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

African-American tradition returns to Carnival

Updated:
(AP Photo/Bill Haber) (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The "baby dolls," an on-again, off-again Mardi Gras tradition of New Orleans' African-American community, are on again.

The troupes of women strutting and prancing in bonnets, garters and skimpy or short, ruffled dresses on Fat Tuesday also are spotlighted in a new book and museum exhibit that trace their history and rebirth.

When the Zulu krewe hits the streets on Mardi Gras - Feb. 12 - its marchers will include the Baby Doll Ladies, a troupe formed after Hurricane Katrina.

Historians say the baby doll tradition was started in 1912 by black prostitutes who worked just outside the legal red-light district called Storyville. That district was closed in 1917 as part of a crackdown on prostitution, but the tradition of the baby dolls took hold in mainstream black neighborhoods.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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