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America's First Mardi Gras: Three Centuries of Pageantry in Mobile

Program Number: 14269RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/2/2014 - 3/6/2014; 2/15/2015 - 2/18/2015;
Duration: 4 nights
Location: Mobile, Alabama
Price starting at: $599.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Festivals, Misc.; History & Culture Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 11; 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; None    

Celebrate Mardi Gras in Mobile, where the fun and frolic began in 1703! Experience the history, customs, pageantry, and excitement of “Fat Tuesday” as you enjoy a full day of festivities featuring colorful parades on Mardi Gras morning, afternoon, and evening.




Highlights

• Explore the Mardi Gras Museum showcasing gowns, trains and crowns of Mardi Gras Kings and Queens and see the reigning King and royal court arrive during Monday’s beautiful Floral Parade.
• Discover Mobile’s rich cultural history and experience sacred architecture as you visit two regionally important Cathedrals.
• Enjoy marching bands, mounted parade units, and floats created by “krewes” such as the Order of Athena, Knights of Revelry, Comic Cowboys and Order of Myths.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile.




Date Specific Information

3-2-2014

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Coordinated by University of South Alabama.




Mobile

Mobile, home of the nation’s oldest Mardi Gras celebration, was founded in 1702 as the original capital of the Louisiana territory. Its rich heritage is evident in the city’s elegant, historic homes. The bay area is renowned for its lush beauty, bountiful azaleas (in season) and fabulous seafood.



Accommodations
Downtown hotel with 1940s architectural features and modern conveniences.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Michael Thomason

Dr. Michael Thomason is a retired professor of history and the director of the University of South Alabama Archives. He came to Mobile in 1970 when he was hired to teach at the university and has been studying the political, economic and social life of the area ever since. In 1978 he began the university photographic archives and over the years expanded its focus to include manuscripts as well. Dr. Thomason has produced several books, most recently the tercentennial history of Mobile.
 
Craig Roberts

Craig Roberts is a graduate of the Auburn University School of Architecture. He is a registered architect who has owned his own architecture business for 30 years. Most known for his residential work, Craig’s designs has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine and Southern Living. In addition, he has been honored to have three of his homes appear on the HGTV series, “Homes Across America.” Craig is a member of the American Institute of Architecture and serves on several boards.
 
Macon Young

Macon Young has led explorations of Mobile, Ala., for more than 25 years — and her knack for theater goes back even further. Macon first acted in a kindergarten play and, bitten by the thespian bug, continued right on into high school and college. She has joined two local community theaters and worked onstage and backstage. She is an aficionado of Mobile's local history and customs.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Admiral Semmes Hotel
  Mobile, AL 4 nights
 Admiral Semmes Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Admiral Semmes Hotel has been one of the south's finest historic landmark hotels since it's opening in 1940, when it was acclaimed Mobile's only luxury hotel. Some of the hotel's architectural features include expansive marble floors, stair cases, a unique oval balconies lobby, highlighted by a large central chandelier, and the original Art Deco elevator doors. An entire floor of conference space on the mezzanine level is located on the second floor near some of the rooms.
  Contact info: 251 Government
Mobile, AL 36602 USA
phone: 251-432-8000
web: www.admiralsemmeshotel.com
  Room amenities: All accommodations feature a comfortable lounge chair with ottoman, an elegant armoire with separate vanity, a mini-refrigerator, coffee pot, hair dryer, maid service, and room service until 10 PM.
  Facility amenities: There is a spacious outdoor pool deck with hot tub, and a covered parking garage (parking fee $20 per day during Mardi Gras and $10 a day on Wednesday and Thursday)adjacent to the hotel. Oliver's restaurant and bar is also located inside the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Ask the hotel for best pricing Please make reservations in advance as the hotel may fill up before or after the program, especially around Mardi Gras.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Ask the hotel for best pricing Please make reservations in advance as the hotel may fill up before or after the program, especially around Mardi Gras.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
You need to be at the hotel by 12 noon due to road closures for Mardi Gras parades, Registration begins at 4:00 PM, Check in to your room begins at 3:00 PM. You will be staying at Admiral Semmes Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends by 12:00 Noon, Check out is 11:00 AM. You will be staying at Admiral Semmes Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking adjacent to the hotel in a parking garage. Parking is $10 a day except during Mardi Gras it will be $20 a day and is subject to change.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Mobile, AL
  Nearest highway: Interstate 10
  Nearest airport:  Mobile Regional Airport (airport code MOB)
  From End of Program
  Location: Mobile, AL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Mobile Regional Airport

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Yellow Cab/Mobile Bay Transportation
phone: 251-476-7711
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20 per person
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

30 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

7.5 miles

   

You must register at least 24 hours in advance. You must ask for Mobile Bay Transportation when you call to get the $20 price. You can register on line by e-mailing dispatch@mobilebaytransportation.com or you can call 251-476-7711. Confirm your reservation before your flight lands to ensure pick up. Prices subject to change.

 
Driving Directions
  From Mobile Regional Airport to Admiral Semmes When leaving the airport, travel east on Airport Blvd for 10 miles. Airport Blvd will end at Old Government St where you will yield to the right onto Old Governement St. You will then turn left onto Government St still traveling east. Travel for 2.5 miles and the hotel will be on your right. To get to the parking garage, take a right on Joachim St. After one block, take a right on Church St (the back of the hotel) then the next right on S Jackson St, where the parking garage is on the west side of the hotel to your right.
  I-10 east to Admiral Semmes Traveling east on I-10 take exit 26B Water St. to your right toward downtown Mobile. Merge to the far left lane to turn left at the first light to Government St. The hotel will be on your left on the corner of Joachim and Government. To get to the parking garage, take a left on Joachim St. After one block, take a right on Church St (the back of the hotel) then the next right on S Jackson St, where the parking garage is on the west side of the hotel to your right.
  I-10 west to Admiral Semmes Hotel Traveling west on I-10, take exit 27 onto US-90/US-98 to merge onto Government Blvd. You will go through the Bankhead tunnel and the hotel will be on your left. To get to the parking garage, take a left on Joachim St. After one block, take a right on Church St (the back of the hotel) then the next right on S Jackson St, where the parking garage is on the west side of the hotel to your right.
  I-65 to Admiral Semmes Hotel Heading south on I-65, merge to the left toward Florida where I-65 forks to travel I-10 East. Travel for 6 miles on I-10 then take exit 26B Water St. to your right toward downtown Mobile. Merge to the far left lane to turn left at the first light to Government St. The hotel will be on your left on the corner of Joachim and Government. To get to the parking garage, take a left on Joachim St. After one block, take a right on Church St (the back of the hotel) then the next right on S Jackson St, where the parking garage is on the west side of the hotel to your right.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival/Dinner in hotel/Orientation
(Sunday, March 2)
   
 Afternoon: You need to be at the hotel by noon due to road closures with Mardi Gras parades. Check-in is at 3 PM and Registration is 4-5:30 PM at the Admiral Semmes Hotel. From 5:30-6:00 Orientation for the program in the ballroom of the hotel. Information about your program, including menus, schedules, field trips and more will be discussed. Any questions about the schedule or the program will be answered at this time.
 Dinner: Dinner served in the hotel ballroom.
 Evening: Following dinner, introductions will be made in the ballroom. There will also be time for more questions. (Schedule may change due to instructor availability or weather.)
   
Accommodations: Admiral Semmes Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Breakfast in the hotel/Morning classes on Mardi Gras/lunch in the hotel/Mardi Gras Parade/Carnival Museum, float barn and downtown tour/Dinner in the hotel/Mardi Gras Parade
(Monday, March 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: There are two classes in the morning on Mardi Gras in Mobile. Explore the origins of Mardi Gras, early societies, examples of Mardi Gras throws you can expect to catch when you attend parades today and tomorrow.
 Lunch: Early lunch in the hotel to get ready for the Floral Parade.
 Afternoon: Next enjoy the beautiful Floral Parade featuring Mobile's young revelers and the Juvenile Court. The parade will include mounted parade marshals, marching units, bands, outstanding floats and the arrival of King Felix. Following the parade you will have a guided tour of Mardi Gras Museum. Mardi Gras Museum features gowns, costumes and trains from past Mardi Gras Kings and Queens. Guided tour reveals many little known facts about Mardi Gras and its origins and resurgence after the Civil War. You will also take a field trip to a Mardi Gras float barn. See the floats up close and explore the beauty and time involved in producing these floats. A short downtown walking tour is also planned. You will see the sites of Mobile up close and get familiar with your surroundings.
 Dinner: Dinner served in the hotel ballroom.
 Evening: Following dinner, find your spot to enjoy the Infant Mystics parade this evening. See how many moon pies and beads you can snag.
   
Accommodations: Admiral Semmes Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Continental Breakfast/Mardi Gras Parades and fun in Downtown Mobile/Lunch and Dinner served at the hotel/Wonderful way to spend Mardi Gras Day
(Tuesday, March 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Hotel is located on the parade route. We will have the ballroom available all day, through the last parade of Mardi Gras. Limited space on a balcony available for participants to view parades. Morning parades: Order of Athena and Knights of Revelry featuring jazz bands and marching bands, mounted parade units, mounted parade marshals and outstanding floats. Each parade has a central theme with each float carrying out that theme.
 Lunch: Buffet lunch served in the ballroom of the hotel.
 Afternoon: After a buffet lunch in the ballroom of the hotel the afternoon parades begin: Comic Cowboys and Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association parade. Comic cowboys is an irreverent look at the past year in politics and national issues as well as local and state issues. Reading the signs on the Comic Cowboys floats is a favorite of past participants of Mardi Gras Road Scholar. MAMGA parade is the longest parade of the season. It is the last afternoon parade. As with the morning parades, these parades feature mounted units, marching bands, mounted parade marshals and outstanding floats.
 Dinner: Buffet dinner served in the ballroom of the hotel. After dinner, relax with dessert and coffee as you wait for the final parade of Mardi Gras.
 Evening: Mobile's oldest parading organization, Order of Myths parade, rolls after dinner. This spectacular display of lights, music, and marching units signals the end of the Mardi Gras Celebration in Mobile. The longest active Jazz band in Mobile, the Excelsior Band, leads the marching units. The traditional emblem float in the Order of Myths is pulled as it was at the turn of the century with a team of mules. This is an outstanding finish to a day of frivolity, music, and tradition.
   
Accommodations: Admiral Semmes Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Morning classes on the History of Mobile and Church Architecture, Afternoon field trip to local Cathedrals, Breakfast and Lunch served in the hotel today, Dinner on your own.
(Wednesday, March 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Enjoy a class on the History of Mobile. Dive into Mobile history! During a class with a local expert, discover the influence and contributions of Native Americans, Africans, Spanish, French, and British on our city. Learn about Mobile’s role in the Civil War, Reconstruction, and World War II. Next explore the architecture of churches. With architectural historian increase your knowledge of architectural terms and styles while viewing sacred spaces in your classroom.
 Lunch: Lunch served in the hotel ballroom.
 Afternoon: Spend your afternoon with experts at two local cathedrals. Test your new found architectural knowledge as you wander through these two very different Cathedrals.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own tonight. Lots of choices within walking distance of the hotel or you are just a short drive from the causeway with several wonderful seafood restaurants.
   
Accommodations: Admiral Semmes Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Breakfast in the hotel, checkout and class on History of Mobile, boxed lunch to go.
(Thursday, March 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Checkout of room and Continue the history of Mobile. From World War II to the present, and where Mobile is heading in the future.
 Lunch: Boxed lunch to go ready following your morning class.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Mobile, AL Bellingrath Gardens and Home
Readers of "Southern Living" recently chose Bellingrath Gardens as one of the top three gardens in its annual Readers Choice Survey. In bloom every day of the year, Bellingrath Gardens offers visitors 65 acres of landscaped beauty among towering live-oaks draped in Spanish moss. The Bellingrath Home has been chosen as the first in Alabama to appear on A&E's popular "America's Castles" series. Enjoy a relaxing sight-seeing cruise aboard the Southern Bell River Cruiser on the Fowl River. View surrounding estates and wildlife from climate controlled comfort. For additional information, visit www.bellingrath.org/
  Bragg-Mitchell Mansion
Canopied by century-old live oak trees, "The Bragg" is a grand antebellum mansion. This beautiful example of southern elegance is furnished with fine antiques and exquisite draperies. The circular staircase, double parlors and lavish rooms with crystal chandeliers remind one of a time when hospitality was a way of life. Free parking. For additional information, visit www.braggmitchellmansion.com
  Conde Charlotte Museum House
Mobile's first official jail, this circa 1822 Federal-style home has period rooms containing French, British, Spanish, Confederate, and American furnishings and decor. For additional information, visit www.condecharlottemuseum.com
  Exploreum Science Museum
Gulf Coast Exploreum, in downtown Mobile, features an IMAX theater. Exhibits offered in the past at the Exploreum include, The Dead Sea Scrolls, Mummy: The Inside Story, Pompei, The Dinosaurs, China. Call the exploreum for information about exhibits at 251-208-6873 or 877-625-4386 For additional information, visit www.exploreum.net
  Museum of Mobile
Walk through the historical Museum of Mobile and travel back into the history of the Gulf Coast's oldest city, once the third busiest port in the United States. Learn of the cultures long past but still contributing to Mobile's rich heritage. Discover artifacts from Native Americans, French, British and Spanish eras in Mobile and learn of the important contributions of Mobile's African-Americans. Discover the American origins of Mardi Gras, begun in Mobile. For additional information, visit www.museumofmobile.com
  Oakleigh Historic Complex
Discover beautiful southern history at Oakleigh, Mobile's official period house museum, circa 1833. This unique T-shaped Greek Revival mansion is furnished with fine period antiques, exquisite portraits, porcelains and silver. For additional information, visit www.historicmobile.org
  Richards-DAR House Museum
Richards-DAR, a Town House of the Italianate style, tells in superb architectural detail of fashionably life during Mobile's affluent ante-bellum days. The house is famous for its iron lace that lavishly decorates the front facade. Neo-classic figurines of the four seasons are caught in a renaissance design of arabesques and scrolls. Furnishings are prior to 1870. A formal gardens with wide beds of camellias, azaleas form a border of evergreen in winter and a burst of color in the spring. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, docents at the house serve tea and cookies to all guests. For additional information, visit www.richardsdarhouse.com
  USS Alabama Battleship
Battleship park features the WWII USS Alabama Battleship. Also at the park are planes used in WWII and Vietnam, other aircraft and tanks, armored vehicles and much more. For additional information, visit www.ussalabama.com
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


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