Posts tagged Mobile Mardi Gras
There is only one Mardi Gras in America older than the New Orleans Mardi Gras, and that is Mobile’s, only 144 miles away. Begun by Nicholas Langlois of France in 1703, fifteen years before New Orleans was founded, although today the Crescent City’s celebration is much more widely known. In Mobile, the first capital of French Louisiana (1702), the festival began as a French Catholic tradition, as do Mardi Gras around the world.
Mardi Gras in Mobile has now evolved into a mainstream multi-week celebration across the spectrum of cultures in Mobile, becoming school holidays for the final Monday and Tuesday (some include Wednesday),regardless of religious affiliation. Much the same has happened in New Orleans. In downtown Mobile, there are 38 parades over 3 weeks. Baldwin County has a dozen major parades, and outside of downtown there are several parades as well.
When examining the Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Mardi Gras in Mobile, I’m struck by one huge similarity; both have fascinating histories. New Orleans has its ribald parades, Krewe du Vieux for example, but Mobile doesn’t.
Mobile has a number of strange, historic, and strong Mardi Gras traditions. One of my favorites is Joe Cain Day. Joe Cain is credited with re-starting the Mobile Mardi Gras after the War Between the States. In 1868, Joe Cain costumed as Slacabamorinico, a make believe Chickasaw Chief. The Chickasaw, a legendary fighting force, had never been defeated in battle throughout their history. Cain had been in New Orleans the year before for the Fireman’s Day Parade. The next day was Mardi Gras Day, and Cain was impressed with what he saw. His costume was an indirect insult to the still occupying Union force, since the Chickasaw had always won in battle.
A half dozen former Confederate veterans joined Cain later in the day, riding in a decorated coal wagon playing musical instruments. They became known as the L. C. Minstrel Band, now known as the Lost Cause Minstrels of Mobile.
No day is greater than Joe Cain Day. Cain is honored on the Sunday before Mardi Gras every year with a graveyard procession featuring Cain’s Merry Widows, who dress in 1800s funeral attire and weep and wail for their beloved husband. Once they’ve finished this ritual, the Widows throw black beads and black roses to the crowd and head over to Cain’s original home in the Oakleigh Historic District, where they are invited in for cocktails and bicker over who was his favorite.
In the afternoon, the Mistresses of Joe Cain lead the Joe Cain Procession, also known as the People’s Parade, featuring homemade floats made by groups of local friends, families, businesses, churches, and schools. Lasting all afternoon, it is the longest parade of Carnival, and it draws in the neighborhood of 150,000 participants and onlookers.
Cain helped to organize the T.D.S. (Tea Drinker’s Society), one of Mobile’s mystic societies, in 1846; however, their banquets were part of Mobile’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, rather than being held on Mardi Gras day. Other groups had developed Mardi Gras parades, but the Civil War had brought them to a halt.
He’s buried in Mobile in the Church Street graveyard. His gravestone says-
Here lies old Joe Cain
The heart and soul of Mardi Gras in Mobile
Joseph Stillwell Cain
Slacabamorinico – Old Slac
From the blog.al.com web site-
In the final Mardi Gras parade, Folly and Death ride the same float. Folly tries to beat death, since Folly is the only one who would try. Mardi Gras is the one time of the year when Folly triumphs over death. Except today, Fat Tuesday.
They ride the first float of the last parade of Carnival, which is presented by Mobile’s oldest and most storied Mardi Gras organization, the Order of Myths. Pulled by mules and illuminated by flambeaux, the float looks like it did generations ago, creating a portal that carries revelers back to the late 19th century. On the float, Folly chases Death around a broken column — what the OOMs refer to as “the broken column of life.”
During that cartoonish chase, round and round, Folly beats on Death with three inflated pig bladders, painted gold and tied to a broomstick, emitting loud whacks that can be heard across the parade route. The symbolism couldn’t be more universal, and the message couldn’t be closer to the heart of Carnival. Only Folly would ever try to beat Death, since Death always wins.
Except today, Fat Tuesday.
The public relations problem first became apparent when T-shirt-wearing members were accosted in public, according to one OOI member.
One member was harassed at Sam’s Club, she said. She had a gentleman come up to her, asking a lot of questions … and she said we are a Mardi Gras organization, the OOI member recounted. He didn’t understand us having ‘Isis’ on our clothing.
Another member who works in a doctor’s office also got attention for her shirt, the member said.
As we all know know, ISIS is the name of a middle eastern terrorist group that our military is fighting on a daily basis.
This just shows how current world events can impact a innocent Mobile, AL Mardi Gras Krewe in a serious manner.
One of Mobile’s newest parading groups, a ladies’ organization, the Order of Isis was formed in 2008, held its first ball in 2009, and staged its first parade in 2010. They have 115 members. Henceforth they will be known as OOI.
When OOI was formed, the name was chosen because we were founded on friendship, and Isis is the goddess of friendship and love, the OOI member said.
We’re just hoping that we can be OOI for a couple of years until all of this dies down, and then we can go back to our original name, she said.
The decision was also difficult because the group had already ordered throws and T-shirts this year, an OOI board member said. Some cups, footballs and koozies have already been printed, but there may be time to change other orders, she said.
Saturday, Feb. 5
1 p.m. – Krewe De La Dauphine Parade (Dauphin Island)
Saturday, Feb. 12
1 p.m. – Island Mystics Parade (Dauphin Island)
Friday, Feb. 18
6:30 p.m. – Conde Cavalier Parade
Saturday, Feb. 19
Noon – Bayport Parading Society
7 p.m. – Pharaoh’s Mystic Society Parade
7:30 pm – Conde Explorers Parade
Sunday, Feb. 20
2 p.m. – Krewe de la Kids Mardi Gras Parade (Heron Lakes subdivision, Mobile)
Thursday, Feb. 24
6:30 p.m. – Order of the Polka Dots Parade
Friday, Feb. 25
6:30 p.m. – Order of the Inca Parade
6:45 p.m. – Apollo’s Mystic Ladies Mardi Gras Parade (Daphne)
Saturday, Feb. 26
2 p.m. – Mobile Mystics Parade
3:30 p.m. – Mystic Mutt of Revelry Mardi Gras Parade (Fairhope)
6 p.m. – Long Beach Carnival Association Mardi Gras Parade (Long Beach High School Stadium in Long Beach, Miss.)
6:30 p.m. – Maids of Mirth Parade
7 p.m. – Order of Butterfly Maidens Parade
7 p.m. – Knights of Ecor Rouge Mardi Gras Parade (Fairhope)
7:30 p.m. – Krewe of Marry Mates
Sunday, Feb. 27
6:30 p.m. – Neptune’s Daughters Parade
7 p.m. – Order of Isis Parade
Monday, Feb. 28
6:30 p.m. – Mobile Mystical Ladies Parade
7 p.m. – Order of Venus Parade
Tuesday, March 1
6:30 p.m. – Order of LaShe Parade
Thursday, March 3
6:30 p.m. – Mystic Striper Parade
Friday, March 4
6:30 p.m. – Crewe of Columbus Parade
6:30 p.m. – Maids of Jubilee Mardi Gras Parade (Fairhope)
6:30 p.m. – Mystical Order of Mirams Mardi Gras Parade (Orange Beach)
6:45 p.m. – Mystic Order of Persephone Mardi Gras Parade (Daphne)
Saturday, March 5
Noon – Floral Parade
12:30 p.m. – Knights of Mobile Parade
1 p.m. – Order of Angels Parade
1 p.m. – Town of Chatom Mardi Gras Parade (Chatom)
2 p.m. – Krewe of Mullet Mates Mardi Gras Parade (Mullet Park in Fairhope)
5:30 p.m. – Mystics of Pleasure Mardi Gras Parade (Orange Beach)
6 p.m. – Mystics of Time Parade
6:30 p.m. – Coronation of Queen to King Felix III (Mobile Convention Center)
6:45 p.m. – The Shadow Barons Mardi Gras Parade (Daphne)
Sunday, March 6
2 p.m. – Arrival of King Elexis I (at foot of Government Street)
2 p.m. – Loyal Order of the Fire Truck Mardi Gras Parade (Daphne)
2:30 p.m. – Joe Cain Parade
5 p.m. – Le Krewe de Bienville Parade
5:30 p.m. – Les Femmes Cassettes Parade
8:15 p.m. – Coronation of King Elexis (Mobile Civic Center)
Monday, March 7
11 a.m. – Arrival of King Felix III (at foot of Government Street)
Noon – King’s Parade and Floral Parade
3 p.m. – MLK Business and Civic Organization Parade (rolls on Route D)
3:30 p.m. – MLK Monday Mystics Parade (rolls on Route D)
4 p.m. – Northside Merchants Parade (rolls on Route D)
6:30 pm – Infant Mystics Parade
7 p.m. – Order of Mystic Magnolias Mardi Gras Parade (Fairhope)
Tuesday, March 8 – Fat Tuesday
10 a.m. – Gulf Shores Mardi Gras Parade (Gulf Shores Public Beach)
10:30 a.m. – Order of Athena Parade
12:30 p.m. – Knights of Revelry Parade
1 p.m. – King Felix Parade
1:30 p.m. – Comic Cowboys Parade
2 p.m. – Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association (rolls on Route B)
2 p.m. – Orange Beach Mardi Gras Parade (Orange Beach)
6:30 p.m. – Order of Myths Parade (rolls on Route C)
Future Mardi Gras Day Dates
2012 – Feb. 21
2013 – Feb. 12
2014 – March 4