MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama likes to boast that it’s the site of America’s original Mardi Gras, and now it’s advertising that claim in the city that made the celebration epic: New Orleans.
Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell says the state purchased 10 billboards around New Orleans and southern Mississippi to promote the Carnival season in Mobile.
The billboards are subtle: Rather than mentioning Mobile, they tell drivers how many miles they are from “America’s original Mardi Gras.” Sentell says that forces people to “do some math” and figure out it’s Mobile.
The pre-Lenten celebration was first held in Mobile in 1703. That was 15 years before New Orleans was established along the Mississippi River.
The billboards are the latest jab in a friendly rivalry between the two Gulf Coast port cities.