The Baby Doll Ladies will perform in the Zulu krewe parade on Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Baby doll groups of women in skimpy or short, ruffled dresses started with one group of African-American prostitutes wanting to one-up another on Mardi Gras 1912, but spread within decades to respectable black neighborhoods.
Courtesy of Jeffry Dupuis
Gold Digger Baby Dolls, one of the neighborhood groups that adopted the "baby doll" costumes, were part of the Mardi Gras parades in 1942. The tradition is enjoying a modern resurgence.
Courtesy of the Louisiana State Museum
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The "baby dolls," an on-again, off-again Mardi Gras tradition of New Orleans' African-American community, are on again. The troupes of women strutting and prancing in bonnets, garters, and skimpy or short, ruffled dresses on Fat Tuesday also are being spotlighted in a new book and museum exhibit that trace their history and modern rebirth.