Mobeeel (Mobile, Alabama)

Trip Start Jan 24, 2009
Trip End Mar 29, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Alabama
Sunday, February 22, 2009

If you ask someone in Mobile, Alabama about Mardis Gras, they will claim that they are the "Original".  Having read about this before the trip, I wanted to check out some of their parades prior to going to New Orleans.  You see, Mardis Gras isn't just One day, it's actually the 10 days prior to Lent and they have parades on almost all of those days.  So I got to Mobile two days early for some Mardis Gras warm-up.

I saw two different parades, the first held in downtown Mobile, and the second out in a the neighborhoods. The first was a more polished and larger scale affair, while the second was a down-home community event.  The first was essentially a "White" parade, and the second a "Black" parade.  Yes, racism is alive and well in the deep South!  :  (

The parades are hosted by groups called "Krewes" that build the floats, supply the bands, and manage the event.  The same concept is used in New Orleans too.  These groups go back as far as the 1800's for the very oldest and most prestigious.  A unique feature of these parades is that people ride in the floats and toss "Throws" to the crowd as they parade down the street.  This is where the famous Mardis Gras Beads come from.  In addition to beads, they toss toys, candy (moon pies by the hundreds), doubloons (commemorative coins), and party favors galore.  The louder you shout, the more beads get tossed your way!  I'll save the rest of the details for the New Orleans blog, stay tuned. 

While in downtown Mobile, I wandered the streets a bit and checked out a few of the sights like Fort Conde.  Mobile has always been a seafaring town from its earliest days and a strategic point.  A famous battle was fought in the bay during the Civil War. 

While wandering the streets, I had to of course try some of the local parade fare and being in the South, I had to try the "Gator on a stick"!  I've had Alligator meat back home, but it never ceases to amaze me how it tastes like seafood.  For desert, I tried one of the local "Funnel" cakes.  It's like doughnut batter dripped out of a "funnel" and deep fried in a pile.  Sprinkle powdered sugar or anything else on it and there you go!  Of course, since this is the South, you have to drink "Sweet Tea" with everything.  This is the Southern version of Iced Tea.  Essentially the same, except sickeningly sweet.  Your teeth ache just drinking it.  It's starting to grow on me though...

Since I was raised a Navy Brat, I had to check out the USS Alabama memorial park while in town.  This is a WW2 era battleship that has been preserved and permanently docked as a museum.  Also at the park is the USS Drum, a WW2 era submarine.  Adjacent to the ships is an hangar with a dozen warbirds on display.  I won't post any pics of the aircraft for fear of being killed for "yet another aircraft museum" blog.  : P

Well, it's on to the big show, see you in New Orleans!

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