Object title
Jazz Dancers Built and performed by
Pandora Gastelum, the Mudlark Puppeteers Description
From early 1918 to late 1919, New Orleans was in the grip of terror. A seemingly unassailable axe murderer was on the loose. Police and press alike speculated that this axeman was a mafioso, a madman, or perhaps even the devil himself. Just before St. Joseph's night, a citywide holiday, a hostile letter arrived at the Times Picayune with the return address “From Hell”. The author identified himself as none other than the mysterious Axeman. He demanded that the citizens of New Orleans all dance to jazz music throughout St. Joseph's night, or face bloody reprisals. This letter was published widely and even inspired the song "The Mysterious Axeman's Jazz or Don't Scare Me, Papa!" Across the city, people of all colors, classes, and inclinations danced the night away, to keep the Axeman from the door. The music that so many had feared would corrupt their souls, would now serve to save their necks. Living Objects theme
Puppetry and Storytelling

Production title
The Mysterious Axeman's Jazz Years created and used
2012-present Medium
Papier-mâché, armature wire, textile, wooden dowel rods, nylon cord Type of puppet
Marionette Dimensions
Height: 51”
Width: 30”
Depth: 14”