According to the Infant Mystics' own history, published on the occasion of its centennial, the group was formed out of the bankrupt ashes of a previous Mardi Gras organization, known only as H.S.S.
H.S.S. was organized in 1870 and staged parades that year, as well as 1871, 1872, and 1873. Following the 1873 ball, however, the group was $1,500 in debt and disbanded, according to the IM history.
However, "an ardent nucleus of its members met to reorganize" and formed the Infant Mystics, adopting a constitution on March 27, 1873. The group's first parade was held February 17, 1874, and the theme was "The Fair Maid of Perth." After the parade, "Joe Cain was thanked for the use of his flats and for his voluntary aid in forming and conducting their procession," according to the IM history.
The element of the IM that is perhaps best known today is the group's use of a hissing cat as its symbol. When the group was founded, and its emblem was recast, the cotton bale and the knight of the H.S.S. emblem were retained, as was the Latin motto "hoc signo sustineat," while an elephant and cat were added.
About the cat, the IM history said, "Despite the occult significance ascribed to the feline, there was little attempt to hide the fact that he was really just a mascot of alley ancestry and that his selection as a symbol was another veiled boast."
To see the Mask's photos and video of previous Infant Mystics parades, click here.
The Infant Mystics paraded this year on Lundi Gras, February 27, at 7 p.m. They followed the fairly new Route F for the second year.
The IM theme was The Doctor Is In, and the parade included 14 floats designed by David Schmohl and built by Steve Mussell's Mirth Co.
To see Mobile Mask's HD video of the 2017 parade, click here.
The Mask's exclusive slideshow of the 2017 parade is below:
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