Wow! My dad really got into the Mardi Gras festivities here in Mobile, Alabama. We’ve done three parades now, the Conde Cavaliers, Polka Dots, and now the Mystic Stripers. He sorts through his beads, stuffed animals, and moon pie collection, eats all the moon pies and then whines that he’s got to go back to get more. So we head back out into the evening for more Mardi Gras fun.
Mobile has really turned out with splendid finery, considering the hurricane damage and impact from Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita, and Ivan, among the 6 or more hurricanes which passed through this Gulf Coast area last year and the year before. Little dampens the spirit of this 300 year tradition.
Did you know that Mardi Gras started in Mobile, Alabama? Well, I’ll have this and more information in a future post, but for now, here are the images from the Mystic Stripers Parade in downtown Mobile. Now that I’ve gotten to know a few of the important figures behind many of these parades, including some of the men and women who participate in several parades every year, not just one, I was invited backstage into the Mobile Civic Center to wander and photograph the preparations for the evening’s parade.
Each parade features a wide variety of floats and costumes, but I’m finding some themes running throughout them. The Conde Cavaliers are the pirate-gentlemen from a time when great wooden sail boats ruled the seas and the world. The Polka Dots were only women, and their costumes and floats reflected stereotypical women’s roles and jobs this year.
The Mystic Stripers had a lot of “characters” in their theme. There were Elvis impersonators, red stripped prisoner costumed men with the traditional Chinese pointed top bowl hats, Caribbean and Mexican mariachi band members, and all different brightly colored international and famous looks.
Rain threatened early in the day but the evening was warm and clear with stars overhead, perfect for the parade. The crowd was heavier than the earlier parades, and just as greedy, reaching out and calling for their beads, trinkets, and moon pies.
Click the pictures to see an enlarged view, and please print these out from there with your color printer. We do not sell prints, though we may consider negotiating for reprints.
Click image to see enlarged version.