The “Baby Dolls:” Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition
Historically, Mardi Gras was a man’s parade – until brave women started taking to the streets with their own costumes. The Million Dollar Baby Dolls were some of the first women to do so. Working in New Orleans’ infamous Storyville district, the Baby Dolls paraded in the Carnival with hand-sewn short dresses and baby bonnets, challenging the city’s expectations surrounding race, gender, and tradition. Author Kim Marie Vaz traces the group from their 1912 origins to modern-day New Orleans, offering readers photos, articles, and interviews from past and present Baby Dolls.