Big Chief Monk Boudreaux
Big Chief Monk Boudreaux (born Joseph Pierre Boudreaux in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., 1941 – ) is the Big Chief of the Mardi Gras Indian tribe, the Golden Eagles. He is widely known for his long time collaboration with Big Chief Bo Dollis in The Wild Magnolias.
In the late 1960s, Boudreaux joined the Wild Magnolias, the Mardi Gras Indian group led by his Big Chief Bo Dollis. Dollis and Boudreaux have been close friends since their childhood.
In 1970, Boudreaux appeared with the Wild Magnolias at the very first New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and also in the same year, the group released the single “Handa Wanda” on Crescent City Records, the first studio recorded music by the Mardi Gras Indians. In 1974, he appeared with the Wild Magnolias on their debut album on Barclay/Polydor Records which featured Snooks Eaglin and Willie Tee in the supporting musicians. Boudreaux is exclusively featured on Golden Eagles’ album Lightning and Thunder, a live recording released in 1988 on Rounder Records.
After being with the Wild Magnolias for over 30 years, Boudreaux left the group in 2001 as a result of disputes with the group’s manager over guarantee payments. Since then he has performed and recorded with artists such as Anders Osborne, Galactic and Papa Mali aside from the Golden Eagles.
In the recent years, he has also participated in the recording and tour of the Voice of the Wetlands All-stars, a band that also featured Tab Benoit, Cyril Neville, and Dr. John among others. He is also featured on one track in the New Orleans Social Club’s album Sing Me Back Home released in 2006. He currently performs regularly in New Orleans with John Lisi & Delta Funk, with whom he has also recorded.
In 2010 Boudreaux appeared in the feature-length documentary Bury the Hatchet directed by Aaron Walker. The film is an intimate look at the Mardi Gras Indian tradition, following Boudreaux and several other Mardi Gras Indian Chiefs in the year before Hurricane Katrina, through the storm and the years after. The documentary won best Louisiana feature at the New Orleans Film festival and a work-in-progress edit of the film won the Grand Prize and Intangible Culture Award at the Royal Anthropological Institute Festival of Ethnographic Film in Leeds, England.