Mobile is among Alabama’s oldest cities, celebrating its 300th birthday in 2002. Happily, despite 1960s urban renewal, many old, antebellum buildings still survive. Azaleas explode beneath Spanish moss–draped oak canopies, earning Mobile the name Azalea City. A little-known fact is that the country’s first Mardi Gras was here, and not in New Orleans. Residents exult in months rather than days
of pre-Lenten merrymaking.