A proud group of residents resides a couple of hours to the east in the old city of Mobile. We have so much in common with the Crescent City that we feel like a New Orleans suburb. But to be overlooked so openly in reference to our Carnival celebration, that just took the cake (or MoonPie)!
In the “Other American Carnivals” article (Travel, January 2005), our Mardi Gras tradition gets thrown in the middle of that legendary party in Galveston and the tradition-filled carnival of San Diego now celebrating for over a decade. While Mobile’s 300-year-old tradition of Mardi Gras was mentioned, there is very little difference in the New Orleans and Mobile celebrations. Actually there is little difference in the cities themselves (founded by the French, heavy Creole heritage, Spanish and French architecture, seafood out the wazoo).
As I continued to breeze through your excellent magazine, another Mobile slight was discovered. In the “Mondu and Krewe Du Vieux” story (Swoboda at Large), the founding fathers of New Orleans’ first parading organization, Comus, were all Mobilians and members of the Cowbellian de Rakin society in Mobile. None of this was mentioned.
Sure, the New Orleans Mardi Gras is well-known throughout the world, and it is no doubt bigger than Mobile’s: Between the larger population and numerous frat-boy tourists, that is a given. But where else besides New Orleans would you find mule-driven floats, flambeaux, dozens of 100-year-old-plus krewes, royalty and giant toothbrushes?