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Gilbert "9th Ward Cosmo" Dave dances and sings alongside the North Side Skull and Bone Gang in front of the Backstreet Cultural Museum in New Orleans on Mardi Gras day, February 16, 2010.  <br />
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The origins of the Skeletons are hazy at best.  Some attributing the Bone Men to a merchant marine copying some aspects of Mexican "Dia de los Muertos" upon his return to New Orleans, others cite even older European festivals as their origin.  It is not even known exactly when the Bone Gangs began parading in New Orleans although most agree it was sometime in the early to mid 19th century- the well known North Side Skull and Bone Gang claims 1819 as the year of their creation.<br />
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Skeletons are traditionally the first to arise on Mardi Gras Day.  Stalking the streets before dawn sporting their skeleton outfits, butcher's aprons, papier-mache skulls and wielding huge bones (sometimes bloody, with meat), the Bone Gang wakes the neighborhood up with percussion instruments, screaming, and chanting.  Skeletons also occasionally knock on doors and even enter houses to wake everyone up, especially seeking out children to convey their message: correct your ways while you can, enjoy life, and do right.  Because you never know when you might be "next".

Gilbert "9th Ward Cosmo" Dave dances and sings alongside the North Side Skull and Bone Gang in front of the Backstreet Cultural Museum in New Orleans on Mardi Gras day, February 16, 2010.

The origins of the Skeletons are hazy at best. Some attributing the Bone Men to a merchant marine copying some aspects of Mexican "Dia de los Muertos" upon his return to New Orleans, others cite even older European festivals as their origin. It is not even known exactly...
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