With just over three centuries of Carnival tradition, Mobile, Alabama is the birthplace of Mardi Gras in the New World. The Azalea City is the Mother of Mardi Gras, and all of her children know that Mama is the original, with a style all her own.
Just as it is with every Mobile native, I can’t recall a time in which there wasn’t an entire season set aside for comic revelry, masquerade and parades. The live oaks that line Government Street, the azaleas on Spring Hill Avenue and Mardi Gras parades winding through the streets of downtown Mobile are the images that come to mind for anyone who has ever spent time in Mobile.
Some of my earliest memories are of touring the City of Mobile Museum. Of course those tours would have occurred shortly after the dinosaurs died off when the biggest fashion statement I could muster was one knee sock around my knee and the other around my ankle. That was also when the museum was housed at its previous location, that space is now occupied by the Mobile Carnival Association Museum.
While my older brother was captivated by the collection of military paraphernalia and other such manly items, little freckle faced me could be found, without fail, with her nose pressed against the glass of the cases that housed the royal robes of Carnival Kings and Queens past. I’m sure that many a docent had to wipe my nose and finger prints off that glass and perhaps even a little drool as well.
I adored it all. The fur lined trains, the crystals and sequins, the velvets, the silks and the lace were all wondrous sights to behold. That such splendors were made and worn anywhere in the world pleased little me to no end. That they were made and worn in my native city was proof positive that fairy tales come true. It even hinted at the possibility that mermaids really did swim in the Bay and that any flight of fantasy that could be conceived could be made real.
Through the years I have moved in and out of the Mobile area. My family and I now reside on the Eastern Shore. All this time later I am still entranced by Mobile’s Carnival traditions. That entrancement is clearly evident in my creations.
I hope Southern Carnival’s blog will serve as a window and a door way into the world of Mobile Carnival. I invite you to come and watch us grow.
Please feel free to contact us at SouthernCarnivalMobile@gmail.com if you have any questions or interest in the art or the content.