37. Joe Cain

The most well-known of the emblem displays is none other than Joe Cain, the man credited with revitalizing Mardi Gras after the Civil War. Just after the war, this part of the country was emotionally and economically depressed. On Mardi Gras Day in 1866, Joe Cain took on the personification of a Chickasaw Indian Chief, Chief Slacabamaranico, or “Chief Slac.”

He gathered some friends, decorated a coal wagon, and then proceeded to parade through the streets of Mobile to resurrect Mardi Gras. Today, his memory and spirit live on; and the people’s celebration, referred to as “Joe Cain Day,” takes place the Sunday before Fat Tuesday. This day begins with Joe Cain paying a visit to his gravesite in Church Street Cemetery, accompanied by his twelve Widows dressed in black, as well as his twelve Mistresses dressed in red.

All the women lay claim to Joe Cain in some form or fashion. The day progresses with full-blown tailgating along the parade route where throngs of onlookers flock to the people’s parade, consisting of 36 homemade floats.