Bon Temps


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New Orleans has long been associated with Mardi Gras, but in Alabama, we don't care to play second fiddle. Mobilians proudly claim to have established the country's first Mardi Gras traditions dating back to the 1830s. Mardi Gras here is a month-long, glitter-and-gold-leaf, gumbo-fixin', celebrity-impersonating, waiting-in-the-wings, spotlit, alcohol-swamped, gimme-sumthin-Mister, drum-rolling, siren-wailing, shoulder-to-shoulder blowout. In Bon Temps: Alabama's Mardi Gras, photographers Jeff and Meggan Haller bring Alabama's premier cultural tradition to the world. Mobile's Mardi Gras is a celebration of excess preceding the fasting and penitence of Lent. It culminates on Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of the Lenten season. Today's Mardi Gras is an economic bonanza accommodating hundreds of thousands of revelers over three weeks of parades, balls, and partying. With dozens of mystic societies, traditions run deep. It's so old that you may think you've seen it all, but in Jeff and Meggan Haller's collection of sometimes shocking, sometimes silly, always vivid images, and essays by Eleanor Inge Baker, we're confident you'll discover something new. Casebound in linen with foil-embossed cover and marbled endsheets, Bon Temps: Alabama's Mardi Gras honors Mobile's tradition of over-the-top frivolity. As the slogan goes, Mobile's a city born to celebrate.

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