Mobile ups the stakes in fight for Mardi Gras tourism
MOBILE, AL - The mayor of Mobile, Alabama, is playing up his city's claim as the birthplace of Mardi Gras.
In billboards and in a video, Mayor Sandy Stimpson brags that Mobile - not nearby New Orleans - is where the annual pre-Lenten celebrations began in the United States.
Some New Orleans historians disagree. They say Mobile celebrated the New Year in the early 1800s using some Carnival traditions like masks and parades but that true Mardi Gras parades were first held in New Orleans. Both cities were settled by the French who celebrated Medieval Carnival traditions in their home country.
Officials from both cities say the long-running rivalry is good natured and wish each other well in their efforts to increase Mardi Gras tourism.