The time-honored tradition of throwing trinkets to the crowds began in the 1870's. In 1884, Rex began throwing medallions rather than trinkets. Those medallions are represented by today's aluminum doubloons.

​Throw Me Something Mister!​

While Moon Pies are all the rage as parade throws in Alabama, you never know what might be hoisted from a float in the Crescent City. 

New Orleans, Louisiana

A Tale of Two Mardi Gras

Pensacola, Florida

Lassiez les bons temps rouller all day and take a walk on the beach at sunset. Life doesn't get much better than this! 

Just a block off of the parade route, we had lunch at Jordan Valley Mediterranean Restaurant. Hot, fresh food and good service were a much appreciated break from parade festivities!

Fun for Everyone!

The parade route has been separated into areas designated for fun for children, and others geared toward adult entertainment. Even the adult entertainment areas are friendly enough for families to pass through comfortably.

The Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade surprised us with an enormous crowd turnout approaching 100,000 spectators!  

Within ten years multiple organizations were parading in both cities on Fat Tuesday.

In 1857, six Mobile men, members of the Cowbellions, who had moved to New Orleans decided to form a Mardi Gras mystic society. They formed the Mystick Krewe of Comus, for the first time bringing masked balls and floats, known as, “tableaus cars,” to the streets of the city of New Orleans. 

The Cowbellions continued on, parading on New Year’s Eve, and grew into the country’s first mystic society. By 1840, the Cowbellions presented a parade of six floats.

“Michael, giving his rake an extra shake and looking up at his bells,” Kennerly wrote, “responded, ‘This? This is the Cowbellion de Rakin Society.’ ”

Krafft continued home with the jangling rake. “This extraordinary spectacle, of course, attracted the attention of ‘the boys,’ and by the time (Krafft) had reached Royal Street, he had a crowd around him.” Someone asked Krafft, “What society is this?”

After dinner, as Krafft made his way home through the dark streets of Mobile, he came upon a hardware store and sat down in the doorway. Kennerly wrote . . . “His head … “dislodged (a) rake and string of cowbells. They came rattling down on him, whereat he gathered up the bells and tied them, bell by bell, to the teeth of the rake.”

According to an account written by Charles Kennerly, a captain whose ship was tied up in Mobile invited a young cotton broker named Michael Krafft to enjoy dinner with him aboard ship. 

Mobile, AL


It seems fitting to begin with Mobile, because Mardi Gras, as we know it today, began in the city of Mobile on the day after Christmas in 1831. 


If there’s one thing we know in the Southeast, it’s Mardi Gras! We’ve all heard stories about the fantastic sights and wild times in New Orleans, but how do other cities celebrate? Southeastern Living’s first year of covering Mardi Gras celebrations had three photographers, at times working in different cities on the same day, so our usual road trip format has been changed, but here we go, city by city!

This is what we love about a good road trip! We were treated to great entertainment that we enjoyed with friendly people and then had a wonderful dinner while taking in a beautiful view. Thanks Daphne!

Every now and then we come across a new restaurant that adds something special to our trip. Boudreaux's Cajun Grill in Daphne, did just that! We're not food critics, but do appreciate a great experience.  

Outside dining on the edge of the bay was comfortable, late on a cool night after the parade, with ample fire pits about. 

The menu is extensive with a wide variety including classic cajun dishes, pastas, steaks, fried seafood platters, burgers, and salads. We had an outstanding crab bisque, a fried shrimp platter, and the eggplant over pasta.  Service was attentive, and the atmosphere inside was festive but not intrusive. 

Wagons, carts, trailers, and streets filled with people ready to let the good times roll marked Huntsville's 2nd annual Grand Parade.

Playing Chess in the middle of the Chaos on Bourbon Street. You have to love the attitude!

Photographers:

Mallory Tew, Mobile, AL

Bob Blankenship, Huntsville, AL

Jeannee Gannuch, Huntsville, AL

The parade atmosphere was 100% family friendly and every precaution was taken to ensure safety. Unlike other parades, throws weren't thrown, but were handed out to the crowds.

Citizens were invited, "Come parade your crazy down the streets . . . ," and they did!

More parade route scenes above, including the amazing clean-up krewe! (click to enlarge)

Daphne, Alabama

Without doubt, this man takes the prize for talent. His jazz music wafted down Royal Street, reminding every person they were in The Big Easy.

Today, strings of pearlized, plastic beads have replaced the old time glass ones for safety sake. Stuffed animals, decorated plastic cups, toy swords, umbrellas, and even ladies panties are among the wide variety of popular Mardi Gras throws. 

The people of Dauphin Island don't let any parades pass them by! They kicked off the season in January.

If your city hosts a unique event or place and would like to sponsor a road trip from Southeastern Living staff, please contact us through the "About Us," tab above.

Hopefully you've enjoyed the sights of Mardi Gras, 2015! We invite you to come along on our next road trip and experience the beauty, the adventure and the lifestyle of Southeastern Living.

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To top it off, these guys throw as if they're having fun! We spent more time dodging incoming goodies than we spent taking pictures. (Yes, we were forced to have some fun!) 

The floats in this parade were an absolute tribute to the visual artistry of Mardi Gras. We've seen many floats in many parades over the years. As a group, these may have been the best.

The city of Daphne has hosted the Shadow Barons Mardi Gras Parade since 2002. The artistic show they've created in that short time is astounding.

More scenes from Canal Street and the French Quarter. Click the thumbnails to enlarge.

There is Mardi Gras in the French Quarter, filled with sights that we chose to quit by 10pm, and then there is Mardi Gras , filled with tradition, in the rest of the city. We bring you a sampling of each.

(Click the thumbnails to enlarge)

The Grand Parade has a fun loving spirit that's just what Mardi Gras is all about!

This parade is all about people gathering and having a great time. Multitudes turn out from neighboring communities and kick back for the day of festivity. Why not, its Mardi Gras!

Dauphin Island, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama

Around the 1890’s, inexpensive necklaces made of glass beads began to be tossed into the crowds by the parade krewes. The beads were an instant hit among the crowds. It is believed that a man dressed up as Santa Claus was the first person in a New Orleans parade to use the beads in his costume. Traditional Mardi Gras beads are purple, green, and gold colors. The purple symbolizes justice; the green represents faith; and the gold signifies power.


French Quarter Sights