Drove to Mobile for the day. Took a 1 hour van tour of the city which was very informative. Mobile is the mother of Mardi Gras in the US. Celebrations began in 1703 right after the French came here and they have continued in major style ever since. The Carnival begins on Thanksgiving eve with a debutante ball (one of whom will be crowned at Mardi Gras). There are many mystic societies with different levels of secrecy. Some societies sponsor parades while others hold only private, invitation-only parties (many require tails for men and long evening gowns for women). Clearly Mobile is a party town! Evidence of Mardi Gras lingers in beads hanging around (as in the picture below) and incorporated into Easter decorations.