Haiti’s Jacmel: Can’t stop the Kanaval

Haiti’s Jacmel Kanaval is gritty, bold — and alive

Photograph by Leah Gordon

Founded at the end of the seventeenth century, Jacmel on Haiti’s south coast has long been renowned for its historic architecture, its arts scene, and most of all for its annual carnival. The 2010 earthquake killed hundreds in the town and damaged countless buildings, but Kanaval — like Jacmel itself — lives on. Grotesque and often sinister traditional characters embody Haiti’s phantasmagoric history and myth — an unforgettable spectacle like nothing you’ve ever seen.