We shared a Facebook post from Brittany Callahan the other day, because she had seemingly discovered a few of these billboards in the New Orleans area...
"You are 114 miles from America's Original Mardi Gras."
The billboards were put up on behalf of Alabama Travel, the state's official tourism agency. And don't think it hasn't been noticed. The Washington Post published a story about the billboards, calling it "the latest jab in a friendly rivalry between the two Gulf Coast port cities." New Orleans tourism officials didn't seem to mind either, telling the Post that both cities have “probably learned from each other over the years.” When asked if they'd put up billboards in Mobile: "I don’t think we need to.”
But the New Orleans Times-Picayune (nola.com) has its own "billboard" responses that they've been adding to a new article:
"Pssst, Mobile... We won't tell if you go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans."
"New Orleans Mardi Gras, Unoriginal since 1699."
"Dear Alabama, You stick to college football; we'll handle Mardi Gras. Love, New Orleans"
Good times! Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson referenced the billboards in a tweet to his counterpart in New Orleans.
And Mayor Mitch Landrieu responded today, saying "Alabama should stick to college football. Let professionals in #NOLA handle the #RealMardiGras."
This isn't the first time Mobilians have ruffled some feathers in the Big Easy, and it won't be the last. But let's give the final answer to a Mobile native who just happens to be an NBA superstar... with the New Orleans Pelicans. Just a year ago, DeMarcus Cousins was asked by a reporter if he'd every experienced Mardi Gras. Part of his answer: "I celebrate the real Mardi Gras (in Mobile)."