In 1740, New Orleans’ Congo Square was a cultural center for African music and dance. New Orleans was more liberal than many southern cities, and on Sundays African slaves gathered to sing folk songs, play traditional music, and dance. The lively parties were recounted by a Northern observer as being “indescribable… Never will you see gayer countenances, demonstrations of more forgetfulness of the past and the future, and more entire abandonment to the joyous existence to the present movement.” The idea of letting loose and embracing traditional African music and dance is a backbone of the Mardi Gras Indians practice. Many African slaves were brought to the port of New Orleans and Indians helped many slaves escape to free territories or took them in. New Orleans’ Native celebrate and honor their Indian Heritage for helping many escape the atrocities of slavery.