• 7:30 p.m. - Mardi Gras-style parade; modified Route A. Expect at least nine Mardi Gras floats.
• 8:30-10 p.m. - Less Than Stellar performs on Riverview Plaza Stage.
• 8:45 p.m. - Opening ceremony on Austal Stage.
• 9-10:30 p.m. - Latimore performs on Austal Stage.
• 11 p.m. - Gretchen Wilson performs on Austal Stage.
• 11:30 p.m. - Light show - RSA tower and Riverview Plaza hotel.
• 11:59 p.m. - Countdown begins and giant MoonPie descends from atop the RSA Trustmark Building.
• Midnight - Laser and fireworks show.
• 12:30 a.m. - Gretchen Wilson performance concludes.
The Mask feels a tremendous kinship with this event, not only because it
revolves around a favorite Mardi Gras throw - the MoonPie - and because
it includes a Mardi Gras-style parade, but also because New Year's Eve
was the event that Mobile's original mystic societies (Cowbellions,
Strikers, TDS) celebrated.
Mardi Gras in September on 'Studio 10' Wednesday
September 2, 2013: On Wednesday, exactly six months from Fat Tuesday, "Studio 10" will air a special Mardi Gras in September show.
The local morning TV show on WALA Fox 10 is hosted by Cherish Lombard
and Joe Emer (photo) and airs from 8 until 9 a.m. According to Allison
Bradley, the show's executive producer, the episode will include taped
segments from Toomey's Mardi Gras and the Mobile Carnival Museum, as
well as an interview with float builder Steve Mussel, shot at the Order
of Polka Dots float barn. Live segments for the show will include Mardi
Gras decor and flower arranging by Cleveland the Florist, a bit of
Creole cooking by the folks from Louisiana Pantry, and an interview with
Mobile Mask editor and publisher Steve Joynt. For fans of Mobile Mask,
Joynt intends to give a preview of the stories that will appear in the
2014 Mobile Mask magazine, as well as announce a new Mobile Mask
venture. Also, "Studio 10" will be using Mobile Mask photos of Mardi
Gras 2013 as "bumper" images, going into and coming back from
Mardi Gras Mural Appears Downtown Overnight
August 29, 2013: A mural depicting
Mobile's royal Mardi Gras court in 1907 has appeared on the side of the
building at the northeast corner of St. Louis and North Bayou streets.
The mural was painted Wednesdaynight
by a small gaggle of local artists, including: Devlin Wilson, who did
the artwork for the cover of the first-ever Mobile Mask magazine; Julia
Greer; Ginger Woechan; Zach DePolo; and Lucy Gafford; assisted by
Alexander Efimov. Intended as a birthday present for Ron Barrett,
co-owner of Zimlich Brothers and widely known as the architect of most
of the Mobile area's balls, the mural is on the side of the unmarked
building Barrett uses as a warehouse and studio for his Mardi Gras ball
props and staging. Barrett is out of town on vacation and has not seen
the mural yet. "I told him before he left, don't be surprised if you
find something painted on the side of your building," Wilson said. The
mural is not yet finished, and more elements will be added over the next
few months, Wilson said. The current state of the mural depicts a
well-known photo of Mardi Gras Queen Virginia Lyons and King Felix II
(not III), Thomas Wilkins Sims. The two young pages were LeBaron Lyons
Jr. (left) and Marion Hall Lyons. The 2014 Mobile Mask magazine will
include a story about Barrett. To visit the web site of PortAL Studio,
where Wilson and some of the other muralists display their work, click here.
Buffett Releases Mardi Gras Song, 'Serpentine'
August 26, 2013: The latest album by
favorite son Jimmy Buffett has a Mardi Gras tune on it titled
"Serpentine," named after the curly paper streamers that used to come
flying off of floats in Mobile. Buffett, 66, was born
in Pascagoula and raised in Mobile and Fairhope. His song off of the
new album, "Songs From St. Somewhere," hearkens to the Mardi Gras of his
childhood, with references to flambeaux, Cracker Jacks, and confetti.
Interestingly, serpentine, Cracker Jacks, and confetti have all since
been outlawed as throws in Mobile. Actually, maskers can still throw
packaged serpentine, they're just not allowed to unravel it and cover
the float with streamers like they used to. With its mention of Folly
chasing Death, "Serpentine" is clearly a song about Mobile Mardi Gras,
though Buffett does not actually mention Mobile. And the line
"Adolescent lust was begging for a start/As I side-stepped those
Brothers with their sacred hearts" is obviously talking about the time
he spent in Catholic school here. The song was first performed at the
2013 Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Here, according to the Buffett World web
site, are the lyrics to "Serpentine:"
Maybe it’s just age or a thousand other fears
That took me back tonight to my early Carnival years.
I can see the parade a-movin’ like the source of the old Gulf Stream.
Oh what a lovely dream.
Adolescent lust was begging for a start
As I side-stepped those Brothers with their sacred hearts.
Yet for those two weeks a year, it was all about sin.
Folly’s chasin’ Death, you can count me in.
There’s a flambeaux man with a gold earring
And the cold north wind smells like kerosene.
Here comes the float of the Carnival Queen.
I want to wrap her in serpentine.
Hands up high, eyes open wide.
“Throw me something mister,”
That’s why you ride.
Crackers Jacks with toys inside,
Real beyond our wildest dreams.
Floats and masks and a two mule team.
Some things really are
The way they seem
Beads and confetti were littering the air
When the Queen looked at me with her Ava Gardner stare.
Though tomorrow would bring ashes and penance by the ton,
Mardi Gras’s where I learned to have fun.
There’s a flambeaux man with a gold earring
Mask Offers Its First Mardi Gras Merchandise
And the cold north wind smells like kerosene.
I’m still in love with the Carnival Queen.
I want to wrap her in serpentine.
Still want to wrap her in serpentine.
It was the devil.
July 30, 2013: Mobile Mask has stepped out into the world of Mardi Gras merchandise, and its first offering is an exclusive Euro-style
decal for your car. The decal is high-quality vinyl, 4 inches high by 6
inches wide, and looks like the classic European nation decal, only
it's in the official colors of Mobile Mardi Gras, purple and gold. Now
you can tell the world: "There's no green in my Mardi Gras. I'm all
about purple and gold, Folly and Death, Joe Cain and Vernadean. I'm all
about Mobile Mardi Gras, just like the Founding Fathers would've wanted
it." The decal was created by the Mask, so you won't find one like it
anywhere else. While it may find its way into some area stores
eventually, right now, the only way to purchase one is through this web
site. To order yours, simply click here.
Beads Will Be Flying Saturday Night
July 23, 2013: How does
that old Seals and Crofts tune go? "Summer beads - make me feel fine
..." OK, sorry. Anyway, you can get some summer beads this Saturday
night, July 27, as a nine-float Mardi Gras-style parade takes to the
streets of downtown. The
parade is being staged for the benefit and entertainment of the 67th
annual meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference being held here in
Mobile. The SLC is made up of legislators from 15 Southern states.
According to the organizer of the parade, it will include floats from
the Mobile Mystics, Mystics of Time, Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association,
MLK Monday Mystics, Order of LaShe's (that's the LaShe's in the photo,
taken during Mardi Gras 2013), Order of Polka Dots, Comic Cowboys, and
Conde Cavaliers. The parade will also include the marching bands of
Murphy, Vigor, and Alma Bryant high schools. Barring nasty weather
(we've had no shortage of that lately), the parade is due to start at
7:30 p.m. and take a "modified" Route A, according to the organizer: The
parade will start at the Civic Center, go up Claiborne and head east on
Church. It will turn left on Royal, go around the top and west sides of
Bienville Square, then head west on Government and back to the Civic
Center. Now go get some throws and show those legislative folks just
how Mobile likes to party - in the street!
Mobile Mask Reveals Cover for 2014 Magazine
July 16, 2013: Mobile Mask
has revealed the cover that will grace its annual magazine/Mardi Gras
guide in 2014. The cover features artwork by Mobile float designer and
artist Brent Amacker. As an homage to all those artists
and artisans who make Mardi Gras so wondrous, Brent's illustration -
which he did specially for the Mask - is pictured on his drawing table,
surrounded by his tools and little bits of inspiration. As a designer
for two of the area's largest float builders, Brent's influences can be
seen all through Mardi Gras in Mobile and Baldwin counties. For example,
he may have designed that doubloon you caught last year. Along with
many other stories about the people and organizations that make Mardi
Gras happen, the 2014 Mobile Mask magazine will include Brent's story of
a born-and-raised Mobilian who finally broke into the Mardi Gras world.
If you'd like to see more of Brent's work, click here. And if you'd like to advertise in the 2014 Mobile Mask magazine, click here. The magazine will officially go on sale Twelfth Night, January 6, 2013.
Saenger Nite Live Has Some Mardi Gras to It
June 18, 2013: There’s a Mobile-centric variety show coming up at the Saenger Theatre that’s going to incorporate some bits and pieces
of Mardi Gras. Jams Plus Media has “joined hands” with the Saenger to
create Saenger Nite Live, which is currently scheduled for six different
shows this summer, the first to be staged this Friday, June 21. The
evening begins with a street party in front of the Saenger at 6 p.m.,
and the show will begin at 7. The headliner Friday night will be Delta
Reign, and the show will include Stereo Dogs, Charles Collins Ministries,
the Murphy High School Cheer & Drum Team, and skits by the folks
from the Joe Jefferson Playhouse. Where’s the Mardi Gras, you ask? Well,
the Excelsior Band will be the house band for all six shows, and at
each show, a different Mardi Gras organization will be turned loose on
the audience at some point. Friday night, for example, costumed members
of the Crewe of Columbus will run out and throw beads and create general
havoc. The Fifty Funny Fellows will do much the same at the July 19
show, and the Order
of Polka Dots is scheduled to appear at the August 2 show. Also of
interest to Mardi Gras fans, Grayson Capps will be playing the July 19
show, and with the Excelsior Band onstage, who knows if he’ll be able to
resist the urge to play “Ol’ Slac.” The dates of Saenger Nite Live will
be June 21, July 5 & 19, August 2, 16 & 30. Tickets are $10
and can be purchased from the Saenger Theatre Box Office; Callaghan’s
Irish Social Club; Moe’s Original BBQ in Daphne; Cape Travel; Butch
Cassidy’s; Mobile Records; Brickyard Music Hall; and The Hungry Owl. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Child Advocacy Center.
Mobile Cadets will be Area's Newest Parading Group
May 17, 2013: Mobile has a
new men’s parading group called the Mobile Cadets, and it was founded
in December by Alan Burns, who also started the Mobile Mystics in 1993.
When asked why he was starting another parading group from the
ground-up, Burns simply said, “It’s in my blood.” According to Burns,
the Cadets will be a Mardi Gras organization, not a mystic
society, so secrecy is not required. Members will, however, wear masks
when they ride on their floats, Saturday, March 1 at midday, behind the
Knights of Mobile. The Cadets will hold a reception for members only
after the parade, and the group’s ball will be held after Ash Wednesday
on the first Saturday of May every year. “This will be the same day as
the Kentucky Derby and will fit in well with our dress code,” Burns said
of the ball, which will be held at the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion this
year. As for what imagery the group will offer beyond the obvious
connections to the military and the Civil War, Burns was a tad coy: “The
organization’s objective is to present a parade and ball … that doesn't
copy what the traditional mystic societies offer today. One will have
to wait for our parade and/or be invited to our inaugural ball to see
what we have in order. This will be what's mystic about the Mobile
Cadets.” He did say that the organization has hit about 40 percent of
its first-year objective of 80 members. Anyone interested in applying
for membership can go to mobilecadets.com
for information. Specifically, Burns said, the group is targeting
younger men for membership, “as these guys have proven throughout the
years to be the most energetic and generous with their throws.” The
Cadets recently gained membership in the Mobile Mardi Gras Parading
Parading Association Elects New Board
April 10, 2013: Jacque
Schwartz, president of the Mobile Mardi Gras Parading Association for
the last six years, presided over her last meeting tonight as new
officers were elected to the board. "We shouldn't forget that there's
power in Mardi Gras, that Mardi Gras is a big deal here," Schwartz told
members as she bid farewell to a board she served on for 13 years.
She pointed to "another big deal" - the arrival of Airbus in Mobile -
and told members, "show them that Mardi Gras is a good time" and that
they should be involved. Schwarz mentioned the establishment of an
Association web site (mmgpa.com) and the use of email to communicate
with members as improvements made on her watch. She also said the
adoption of a constitution and bylaws was a big step forward for the
organization. "I've had a great ride," Schwartz said to a roomful of
folks who truly know what a great ride is, "but it's time to move
along." The members responded with a prolonged standing ovation for
Schwartz. Per the election, the vice president became the president; the
treasurer became the vice president; the secretary became the
treasurer; the parliamentarian became the secretary; and a newcomer to
the board was elected parliamentarian. Each will serve a two-year term
and cannot run for re-election to the same position. The Parading
Association is made up of representatives of the city's parading and
non-parading mystic societies and was formed, according to its
constitution, "to provide the city of Mobile with a collective body for
the purpose of uniting all mystic societies with equal representation
and a collective effort for simplicity and unity." The MMGPA meets nine
times per year.
What Else Will Be Going on During Mardi Gras 2014?
March 25, 2013: With the
announcement that the date for the Oscars has been changed for next
year, the Mask thought it would be a good time to figure out what will
be going on outside of Mardi Gras land during Carnival 2014. First of
all, the Oscars will be held on March 2, 2014, which will be Joe Cain
Day here in Mobile. Revelers won't be able to catch all of the red
carpet coverage, but they ought to be able to see the parades, grab a
pizza on the way home, and still be able to see most of the Oscars (if
you're into that kind of thing). The Super Bowl will be held on February
2, 2014, the day after Mobile County's first Carnival parade of the
season, the Krewe de la Dauphine on Dauphin Island. The Senior Bowl will
be in late January, before any parades get rolling. The biggest
competition will come from the 22nd Winter
Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia. The opening ceremony will be
February 7 (one day before the Island Mystics parade), and the closing
ceremony will be February 23, the night that Neptune's Daughters and the
Order of Isis are scheduled to parade. Those two ladies' groups can't
seem to get a break from big sporting events, as their 2013 parades fell
on Super Bowl Sunday. The police department's crowd count on that
parading night was less than 10,000. The Conde Cavaliers will parade on
Valentine's Day 2014, which will be a Friday. Try getting a table
downtown that night.