Saturday, February 07, 2009
If you ask the citizens of Mobile, Alabama, they'll tell you theirs is the "Original Mardi Gras" celebration. New Orleans' festival is for Johnny-come-latelys. Mobile was the first capital of the 18th century French outposts on the Gulf Coast and it is proud of its interpretations of those traditions.
Last night the Conde Cavaliers, one of the local "mystic societies," the voluntary organizations that put on Mardi Gras, did it right in the first parade of the season. Yes, Ash Wednesday is still 18 days away; but why limit a good thing to a single Tuesday night before the church's penitential season of Lent begins? Later in the season Mobile hosts several parades a day.
The adventure theme set the pattern for the many floats that passed through eager crowds on South Royal Street in front of the hotel where I was staying for a meeting.
Indiana Jones came along.
For those of us who are culturally illiterate, a sign bearer preceded each float.
I was glad for the sign.
Though I might have recognized this image on the float's side.
This blue-eyed gent evidently was one of the 18th century French explorers who opened up the area to European settlement.
Somehow I doubt the indigenous population looked quite like this -- but what do I know?
No doubt the Gulf Coast had its share of these.
Somehow I missed the front of this float, but I guess Harry Potter qualifies as an adventurer.