Mardi Gras Indians are African-American Carnival revelers in New Orleans, Louisiana, who dress up for Mardi Gras in suits influenced by Native American ceremonial apparel. The tradition began as an African American tribute to American Indians who helped runaway slaves in Louisiana. This tradition of these masking Indians, dates back to the 1700s. There are over 40 Mardi Gras Indian tribes in the city of New Orleans. One new costume is created each year by a Mardi Gras Indian for a special day, Mardi Gras. Competition is nurtured in a creative climate that awards prestige and respect to the person, who is able to outsew, out-dress, and out-sing” another Mardi Gras Indian of equal rank from another tribe. The costumes are made of colorful ostrich plumes, feathers, sequins, rhinestones, ribbons, and beads. These costumes weigh in over 100 lbs with beaded patches which are the base of many suits, considered works of art, and worthy of preservation as a form of true indigenous folk art.