The Northwest Bone Gang was started in 2005 in Portland by Chuk Barber, who was originally the Flagboy in the Northside Skull and Bone Gang, Black Mardi Gras Indians from New Orleans. After decades of dozens and dozens of Skull & Bone Gang Members, who masked with the gang every Mardi Gras and St. Joe’s Day, sadly in 2005, there were only three members left: Big Chief Al Morris, Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes as Second Chief, Flagboy Chuk!
After Hurricane Katrina, Flagboy Chuk moved to Portland, Second Chief Bruce evacuated to Arkansas and Big Chief Al Morris passed away. Not sure if the gang would resurge and return to New Orleans, Chuk kept the tradition going here by himself at first and then started an auxiliary chapter here just in case it didn’t. His fear was that this part of the Black Mardi Gras Indian culture would disappear or become extinct. It was a safeguard measure.
As an homage to the Original, enlisting the help of ex-pats from New Orleans in Portland, who were either in the culture or who had relatives that were in the culture, The Northwest Bone Gang was born and continues to grow after 14 years under the guidance of Big Chief Chuk Barber. Today, we are happy to report, that Bruce became Big Chief and was able to resurrect the Northside Skull & Bone Gang in New Orleans, where they enjoy a resurgence in membership and popularity.
The Northwest Bone Gang will join Mysti Krewe of Nimbus for a Mardi Gras Second Line parade at the Front Porch Stage on July 2.