Updated: Feb 16



What is Dope & The Tambourine Was Born..

Tambourine and Fan

Curated by: Kenyatta R. Williams

As a Kid

I second-lined with tambourine and fan.

In sequence we synchronized to a single filed & criss crossed line.

Choreographed and called out by our sectors leader.

With our tambourine in one hand.

We footwork to the beat of the band.

From hunters field to the bayou as plan.

Cavorting from the heart.

Then back to the park.

Our route began up the Claiborne Corridor, on to Orleans, right side of the bridge.

Every Super Sunday As a Kid.

All participants would dress alike in our well orchestrated Sunday’s best.

On this particular day we were the best dressed.

With our matching attires.

Parading in festive decorative sashes with umbrellas and brand new loafers or boots.

Dancing with the Indians and tribes, adored in beautifully embellished hand stitched suits.

Our family home (1621/1619 N. Villere St.) was actually two doors down from one of the most prominent Indians in the land!

“The Head Honcho”

1633 N. Villere St.

Allison “Tootie” Montana

Allison "Tootie" Montana was Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas Mardi Gras Indian tribe in New Orleans.



My grandma and your grandma

Were sittin' by the fire

My grandma told your grandma

"I'm gonna set your flag on fire"

Talkin' 'bout

Hey now (Hey now)

Hey now (Hey now)

Iko, iko, un-day (Oh, oh-oh)

Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né

Jock-a-mo fee na-né

Look at my king all dressed in red

Iko, iko, un-day

I betcha five dollars he'll kill you dead

Jock-a-mo fee na-né

Talkin' 'bout

Hey now (Hey now)

Hey now (Hey now)

Iko, iko, un-day (Oh, oh-oh)

Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né

Jock-a-mo fee na-né

My flag boy and your flag boy

Sittin' by the fire

My flag boy told your flag boy

"I'm gonna set your flag on fire"

Talkin' 'bout

Hey now (Hey now)

Hey now (Hey now)

Iko, iko, un-day (Oh, oh-oh)

Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né

Jock-a-mo fee na-né

See that guy all dressed in green?

Iko, iko, un-day

He's not a man, he's a lovin' machine

Jock-a mo fee na-né

Talkin' 'bout

Hey now (Hey now)

Hey now (Hey now)

Iko, iko, un-day (Oh, oh-oh)

Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né

Jock-a-mo fee na-né

Talkin' 'bout

Hey now

Hey now (Hey now)

Iko, iko, un-day (Oh, oh-oh)

Jock-a-mo fee-no ai na-né

Jock-a-mo fee na-né

Jock-a-mo fee na-né (Yes, indeed)

Jock-a-mo fee na-né (Iko)

Jock-a-mo fee na-né

These are the things I did

As a Kid.

Patrice “ Big Queen“ Gordon

Me, Walter and Shawn attended Hunter’s Field after school & summer programs. While they were in football practices. I was in Arts, Dance & Community Services expanding my knowledge of principal organizational skills under the leadership of Big Duck & Big Ike, our community leaders and disciplinary authoritarians. Whenever we misbehaved (we duck walked) backwards & forwards several time’s in a row.

Or either we got hide on our derrières with (MEAT).

Meat was this special paddle of corrections. Big Ike used these tools for our chastisement.

“Back in the days”

The Elders & Community leaders were allowed permissions to whip your fanny. For your transgressive defiance in public. Then they would “bring you home or call ~ to your parents. Subsequently you receive another posterior-whipping from your wellspring.

You couldn’t sit on your gluteus~maximus for a while.

We all were well taken care of under the care of Tambourine & Fan. We received multiple resources. Big Duck & Big Ike even employed the youth in our community. Both men would go to war (combat) behind every single child/teen in their programs. Our neighborhood father’s, our mentors advocated for us all.

They were our voices in the wilderness, our liaisons. Keeping us safe in the trenches of our oppressed community.

Every year alpha month all students of Marie C. Couvent would receive a free red and white cake to take home, in celebration of all January birthday’s.

Teaching us our history (Black History) along with the Lundi & Mardi Gras historical contexts . Line upon line & precepts upon precepts.

Treme programs were Spearheaded , fostered and nurtured by Big Duck & Big Ike. These men were a very large part (Positive Influencers) of our education and curriculums full circle, in inner-city schools. We also received free swim lessons, learned to sew & stitch, Studied Politics and Economics, gleaned cultivation, played basketball & football. We even frolicked throughout Armstrong park daily. Gaining free admissions into the Mahalia Jackson Theatre, due to attending camp in Treme Center.

We enjoyed our Municipal Auditorium and the events held in Congo Square.

The Municipal Auditorium was a 7,853-seat multi-purpose arena in New Orleans, Louisiana, and a component of the New Orleans Cultural Center, alongside the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts.

It is located in the Tremé neighborhood in Louis Armstrong Park adjacent to Congo Square.

Our Culture Keeper’s

Isaiah Joseph Bennett & Jerome Smith.

NOLA bairn’s was taught this chant

(What Is Dope) & Song (Tambourine & Fan) by: Jerome” Big Duck” Smith & Isaiah Joseph Bennett, III "Big Ike" Our Neighborhood Father’s, Civil Rights Activists, Our Progenitor’s!

Below are impartations transfused in us as kids...

~We recited~ religiously Every Morning & Evening, Alpha and Omega at our after school program, summer program and day camps daily.

What Is Dope

What Is Dope

Dope is poison and death

Who the man that use dope

A dead man

Who was Dr. King

Dr. King was a Freedom Fighter

Who was Malcolm X

Malcolm X was a man trying to make things better for black people

Why do hunters study

To Build Control

What do they study

Reading, Math and Science

What time is it

It’s nation time••••••


Tambourine And Fan

The tambourine was born down in New Orleans In a little field they call Congo Square.

The tambourine was heard from Lewis to Celestine, my sister Mahalia the world’s gospel Queen. I stand here today with my tambourine in my hand and represent the hunter’s of the Tambourine And Fan....

Hunter’s Field Playground

1659 N. Claiborne New Orleans, LA 70116

Council District D

Hunter’s Field, a precious swath of green space in the Seventh Ward, has been a venue for cultural education and community gatherings since the late 1960s. The civil rights leader Jerome Smith willed it into existence after the construction of the I-10 overpass along North Claiborne Avenue, as he explains in the essential volume Talk That Music Talk:

Curtsey of

The Ponderosa Stomp Foundation

Before they had the expressway on North Claiborne come, we’d run up and down the neutral ground. It was a safe place to play. Now it was covered in concrete, but there was a piece of land at St. Bernard and Claiborne under one of the off ramps that had a grassy area. I said ‘Them children need somewhere to play. Let’s go take the land.’ We squatted on it, and then went down to City Hall and took it over with 400 children. That’s how Hunter’s Field…came about.

The field, named in honor of the Yellow Pocahontas Mardi Gras Indian tribe, became a venue for the Tambourine and Fan youth organization founded by Smith and fellow activist Rudy Lombard. After school and in the summertime, Tambourine and Fan programs melded team sports with lessons about social justice and the cultural legacy of Black New Orleans for kids in the neighborhood.

Some of those lessons came courtesy of legendary jazzman Danny Barker, who worked with a group of young musicians at Hunter’s Field in the early 1980s. Barker, who’d sparked a brass band revival with the Fairview Baptist Church Band a decade earlier, formed the Roots of Jazz band here to enlist a new generation of artists. James Andrews started on bass drum, but before long he was leading a band of his own on trumpet. He became a pillar of the brass band community and mentor to his younger brother Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. Mervin Campbell, whose mother sang in the Fairview Baptist Church choir, spent years studying under Barker. Known today as trumpeter and bandleader Kid Merv, he helped start the Soul Rebels Brass Band. Barker tapped one of the Roots of Jazz youngsters, Nicholas Payton, to join his regular gig at the Famous Door. It was the first job on Payton’s path to becoming a Grammy-winning trumpeter and composer.

Jerome Smith also formed a parading organization called the Bucketmen, whose processions were “a moving classroom” for students in Tambourine and Fan. At Hunter’s Field, they practiced second line dancing and learned traditional parade protocols, and fledgling musicians formed a Bucketmen Brass Band. The latter took lessons from trumpeter Milton Batiste, co-leader of the Olympia Brass Band, the preeminent New Orleans brass band in the 1970s.

His acolytes included trumpeter Kenny Terry, bass drummer Cayenao “Tanio” Hingle, and snare drummer Kerry “Fatman” Hunter, who became the core of the New Birth Brass Band; Stafford Agee, future trombonist with the Rebirth Brass Band; and Abraham Cosse who played with the Coolbone Brass Band.

Super Sunday, a procession of Mardi Gras Indians from across the city, was another Tambourine and Fan creation rooted here. Beginning at Bayou St. John and culminating at Hunter’s Field, students joined the parade with symbols and signage related to social justice. In Smith’s estimation the spectacle overtook the statement—the event has become a quasi holiday, bringing thousands of people into the streets to get a close-up look at the Indians’ beadwork. (Another Super Sunday celebration developed uptown, centered at Shakespeare Park.)

Beyond Tambourine and Fan, Hunter’s Field became a fixture of second line parade routes and a regular stop for Mardi Gras Indian tribes on Mardi Gras Day and St. Joseph’s Night. It hosts a variety of other cultural events as well, including an annual rally commemorating Hurricane Katrina, whose organizers include the pioneering female emcee and chef Mia X and the rapper Sess 45, proprietor of the record store and label Nuthin But Fire Records a few blocks down North Claiborne Avenue.

About North Claiborne Avenue

Built over a drained swamp, North Claiborne Avenue began to take shape in the mid-1800s, with a canal running down its center flanked by rows of trees (which is why it’s nearly 200 feet wide).

Around 1900, in the formative years of jazz, the surrounding neighborhoods—Treme and the Seventh Ward—were home to African-Americans, Creoles of color, and working-class families of various European backgrounds.

Segregation intensified toward mid-century, with the new Lafitte public housing development admitting black families only. Under Jim Crow, an array of black-owned businesses took root on North Claiborne, catering to those who were denied service elsewhere.

By this time the drainage canal was filled in and live oak branches created a canopy overhead, making the Claiborne neutral ground (median) an ideal promenade for black residents’ parading traditions: Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, Mardi Gras Indians, Baby Dolls, and Skeleton Gangs all attracted crowds here.

In 1966, over the protests of residents, public officials chose to uproot the oaks and build an elevated expressway above North Claiborne. As in other cities, the interstate paved the way for white flight to the suburbs.

A community of artists maintained the cultural vitality of the Claiborne corridor despite the ensuing divestment. Then, in 2005, the flood following Hurricane Katrina devastated the area. An uneven recovery followed, with many former residents unable to resettle in their neighborhoods.

Nevertheless, Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, Mardi Gras Indians, and their followers still throng their traditional parade routes along North Claiborne, with brass bands and percussionists using the acoustics of the overpass to amplify their sound.

Tambourine And Fan

The tambourine was born down in New Orleans In a little field they call Congo Square.

The tambourine was heard from Lewis to Celestine, my sister Mahalia the world’s gospel Queen. I stand here today with my tambourine in my hand and represent the hunter’s of the Tambourine And Fan....

Big Ike

Isaiah Joseph Bennett, III "Big Ike" beloved father, grandfather and friend was Called home Thursday, May 16, 2013 after a prolonged illness at Kindred Hospital, in New Orleans, LA. Big Ike was a lifelong resident of the Treme and 7th Ward neighborhoods, he was seventy-one years old. He graduated from Joseph S. Clark High School and went on to attend Dillard University, on a full athletic scholarship; he was an essential member of both football teams. Big Ike along with his brother-in-cause Jerome Smith "Big Duck" were founding members of the Tambourine & Fan Social Aid and Pleasure Club and he paraded for several years with Big Chief Tootie Montana and the Yellow Pocahontas as a bucket man. For many years he was an employee of Fern Paper Supply. He moved onto the New Orleans Public Schools at Marie C. Couvent Elementary School in addition to his many civic activities Big Ike was a coach at Hunter's Field with NORD leading his teams to many championships. He was a mentor, coach and surrogate father to many young men and children in his neighborhood. Isaiah is preceded in death by his parents, Ophelia Favrot and Isaiah Joseph Bennett, Jr. and his brother, Zachary Bennett, Sr. He is survived by his three daughters, Tracy Bennett Bufford of Atlanta, GA, Skochii Bennett-Polchlopek and son-in-law Lester Polchlopek of Chicopee, MA and Toki Bennett and his only and highly adored grandson, Blaise of Houston, TX; two brothers, Alcide Bennett, Sr., and Warren Joseph; and sister, Jennifer Percy along with many nieces and nephews. Big Ike's life will be celebrated by the family and community that were a large part of his life with a Memorial service on June 22, 2013 at St. James Methodist Church of Louisiana, 1925 Ursulines Ave., NOLA for 12:00 noon, followed by a Jazz procession to Hunter's Field to close out his life's celebration. In lieu of flowers the family request that donations be made in his memory to Treme Cultural & Heritage Foundation of Autism Speak. Charbonnet-Labat-Glapion.

Big Duck


Jerome “Big Duck” Smith, a life-long resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, is considered a stalwart of the Civil Rights Movement locally and nationally.

Smith’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement dates back to the late 1950’s when he joined the New Orleans chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (“CORE”) as a 19-year old student at Southern University of New Orleans. From boycotting stores that refused to hire or serve Blacks to sit-ins along Canal Street, CORE’s substantial contributions were integral to the Civil Rights Movement from 1960 onward. Speaking of CORE, the late Rudy Lombard stated, “They had ‘a certain confidence,’ . . . because they came out of a culture that was so rich. They knew that everything that was unique about the city could be traced to the Black presence.”

Thereafter, Smith challenged Federal desegregation laws across the South as a member of the Freedom Riders. Throughout his travels, Smith participated in numerous protests that resulted in battle wounds. In fact, Smith had been beaten at least 12 times by mobs or police during the struggle. On May 24, 1963, Smith met with Attorney General Robert Kennedy and a host of celebrities and civil rights leaders in New York City to discuss the state of civil rights in the United States. During this meeting, it is said Smith emotionally told the United States’ Attorney General, “I’ve seen you guys [from the Justice Department] stand around and take notes while we’re being beaten.” Despite grave injustice and adversity of the times, Smith made a profound impact on civil rights history.

Beyond the Civil Rights Movement, Smith continued to impact our city, particularly in the Treme. In 1968, Smith founded Tambourine and Fan to instill important culture, history, and tradition in New Orleans youth. He continues to teach classes modeled on those of the Freedom Schools during the 1964 Freedom Summer. “Children in the Center recite lyrics of “Strange Fruit”, the names of the four young girls killed in the Birmingham, Alabama Church-fire of 1963, the Neville Brothers’ ‘Sister Rosa’, and chants of Mardi Gras Indians who will ‘not bow down.’”

Jerome Smith has mentored multitudes of individuals across the city for decades and continues to do so. Smith is the definition of a true warrior and his legacy continues to inspire people everywhere.


Laissez les bons temps rouler

Laissez les bon temps rouler

Laissez le bon temps rouler

Laisser les bons temps rouler

Laisser le bon temps rouler,

Safely In The Comfort Of Our Homes 2021🎉

Mask Up Be Well ~ Be Safe

From KingYatta🥂🍻🍸🥃

Patrice “Big Queen” Gordon

Kim Boutte ~ REST IN POWER

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