So here’s a surprise. Did you know that Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama is the oldest annual Carnival celebration in the United States? It started in 1703 – that was 15 years before New Orleans was founded!
Hats off to Mobile for institutionalizing one of the liveliest, most entertaining celebrations on the planet.
Our first encounter with Mardi Gras happened when we moved to New Orleans as 20-something newlyweds. Coming from small-town Kentucky, you can easily imagine we were astounded. We’re both convinced it was the kickstart to our love of fun and exotic destinations.
In Mobile neighborhoods, the switch is being flipped. The Christmas wreath and garland that adorned the front door have been replaced with a Mardi Gras wreath, mask, and umbrellas. The front gable that once sported Christmas bells now hosts theatrical masks that are symbols of Mardi Gras. Everyone is transitioning and gearing up for some serious celebrating.
We’ve loved seeing Mobile again (except for the tornado damage), and our main regret is that we will not be here for all the MoonPie tossing.
Now we’re off to New Orleans where the motto is “Laissez les bon temps rouler!” (Let the good times roll!) We feel like we’re going home after a very long absence.