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Mobile Mardi Gras vs New Orleans: Which One is Better

mobile mardi gras parade

Reaching for the beads during Mobile Mardi Gras

Mobile Mardi Gras vs New Orleans: Which One is Better?

Mobile Mardi Gras to the rescue! Really? So Mobile thinks that because they had the first Mardi Gras in the country that somehow it’s better? Mitch Landrieu and Mobile’s mayor were having a friendly little fight on Twitter about this.

Now, I lived in Mobile for 6 years, went to Spring Hill College for the first four then stayed for a couple years to work in Mobile. And I really like Mobile, it’s got a real Southern feel to it, I think moreso than New Orleans.

New Orleans is more Carribbean than Southern really, more European as well. I liked the Mobile Mardi Gras okay. And it’s true that overall they are more family friendly. But for New Orleans that’s meaningless.

All along the uptown St. Charles parade route you will see families, little kids with their parents, everywhere. The French Quarter during Mardi Gras is, well, less family friendly, shall we say. But… I’ve seen families with little kids in the Quarter on Mardi Gras day.

The news media would have you think that there is nothing but debauchery in the Quarter, and as such this extends to the whole city. But nothing could be further from the truth. OK, you’ll see some drunk people in the Quarter but really not a lot. And some of the costumes there are amazing.

And lemme ask you, when someone says “I’m going to Mardi Gras” you naturally assume they mean New Orleans. In fact, most people don’t even know that Mobile even has a Mardi Gras.

I prefer New Orleans for the dozens of the amazing parades, the celebration, the costumes, the whole thing. And I think Mardi Gras in the Quarter should be experienced at least once in your life, or maybe twice.

And when you’ve had enough of that come watch the parades uptown on St. Charles with a beer, Bloody Mary or red wine in one hand and a piece of king cake in the other. And friendly families everywhere!

Mobile likes to say it is “home to the original Mardi Gras.” But sorry to tell them that the original Mardi Gras was in Europe. And all the trappings of their current Mardi Gras with the parades, the krewes, the balls, the kings and queens, the throws from the floats are all traditions originating from New Orleans.

On the Alabama Public Radio site comes this quote:

Judy Gulledge is the Executive Director for the Mobile Carnival Association. She says the city touts its family friendly atmosphere and fun for everybody approach to the festivities.

“We’ve been celebrating the public part of Mardi Gras with the parades for over 150 years. Our streets are lined with families, many of them staking out along the parade route where their families have been standing for generations.”

The quote above could just as easily been written about New Orleans. To set the record straight New Orleans’ first parade, Comus, actually started in 1856 and was founded by a group of friends from Mobile. So New Orleans has been parading a lot longer.

So, you know, let Mobile keep thinking their Mardi Gras is somehow better because it was the first. We in New Orleans know better. So if you want a Fat Tuesday where everything is calm and sedate and just a copy of the real thing perhaps Mobile Mardi Gras would be your cup o’ tea.

Posted in New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Festivals, New Orleans History, New Orleans Life.

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