MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile is Mardi Gras.
“1703 is when Mardi Gras started here in Mobile,” said Marcus Catchings, a spokesperson for the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association (MAMGA).
It started off with an all-white all-male mystic society. The first black mystic society was formed in 1894, according to the Mobile Carnival Museum. The first black parade was in 1938. The first gay ball was in 1980.
But what about today?
News 5 took that question to four parties: a Mobile musician who comments on race and Mardi Gras in his song “Pharaohs Parade;” a MAMGA member; a local historian who joined the first premier integrated society; and a gay couple who moved to Mobile from Texas and immediately wanted entrench themselves in Mobile Mardi Gras Culture.
Jeremy Thrash says he saw one of his first examples of racism at a Mardi Gras parade when he was a kid. Thrash is a Mobile-native who now lives in Texas.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love Mobile Mardi Gras and I still come back for it,” he said, but he depicts his perception of Mobile Mardi Gras in his song “Pharaohs Parade,” which is part of his album “Clotilde.”
Marcus Catchings of MAMGA, on the contrary believes the racial divide has disintegrated.
“The society’s are no longer kept on this side and that side of town any longer, and these kids, they grew up together, so there are no longer any taboos as far as the aspect of what it used to be and what it is now,” he said.
Todd Duren, who runs Secret History Tours downtown and is a member of the Conde Explorers, is a bit of a hybrid of the aforementioned sentiments.
“I would hate to see everything turn into one big homogenized organization,” he said. “But it would be good for more organizations to think about diversifying their membership… while preserving the traditions that are already there.”
April Sanders and Molly Daniel, who have been together since 2008, are Mobile transplants. They immediately fell in love with Mardi Gras. As a gay couple, they made it a point to join a krewe that was inclusive.
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