They’re known to get a little rowdy and this year they have even more to celebrate. It’s the Mystic Stripers 75th anniversary. The organization was started in 1939 by six men, who went to Mardi Gras and decided to join in the fun and went looking for costumes.
“One of the men owned Imperial Laundry. At the time actually cleaned the convict suits from the Atmore prison, the traditional black and white prison suits so they went to the laundry, got six suits, and they proceeded to march around,” said a masker with the organization.
It wouldn’t have been Mardi Gras without a hat.
“Found a vendor in Bienville Square, bought Chinese cooley hats,” said the masker.
The men decided they had so much fun in their costumes that they’d do it again the next year. Thus, the Mystic Stripers were born. The theme for this year’s Stripers parade is “Notre Debut”, or “Our Beginning”. Every member will be dressed in stripes, which has a significant meaning.
“Everybody is dressed as a convict this year in memory and in honor of those guys that had the foresight to have a party,” the member said.
Also look for the emblem floats of the tiger and zebra. The rest of the floats will all include memories from the first year the Stripers paraded; a Bienville Square float, an Imperial Laundry float, and even a float to remember those first hats.
You’re going to see tradition. The particular reveler we spoke with has been riding for 47, Thursday will be 48 years. If you talk to the members of the Stripers, you’ll find many stories like that. Of those who have had the organization in their family for years, those looking to make new memories, and those with a deep desire to keep Mobile’s Mardi Gras tradition alive.
Happy 75-years Mystic Stripers, and here’s to many more.