For some, Joe Cain Day is just as much of a tradition as Fat Tuesday. It's one of Mardi Gras' most traditionally festive days, but do you know the story behind Joe Cain Day?
The day was named after, 'Joe Cain,' born Joseph Stillwell Cain, Jr. If you love Mardi Gras, he is the one you need to thank, because he is recognized as the man responsible for bringing Mardi Gras back to life in Mobile after the Civil War.
You see, Mardi Gras celebrations started years before the war, but the war brought the good times to a screeching halt.
It was killing Joe Cain seeing everyone in Mobile so down and out. So, on Fat Tuesday in 1866 he dressed up as a mythical Chickasaw Indian Chief, called himself Slacabamorinico, and paraded through the streets.
He used bits and pieces of his Confederacy uniform, a shirt, he put Indian braids on it, got him a plaid skirt, and deer tails.
Six of his buddies got together and formed a little band called "Lost Cause Minstrel Band" and the news of the day said they were playing music and parading through town. Of course, people started to follow.
Turns out, Old Joe Cain did exactly what he set out to do. He raised everyone's spirits so much that the Mardi Gras tradition returned to the Port City.
And that led to what Joe Cain Day is today. For the past 25 years, Wayne Dean, a Mobile Mardi Gras historian, has been portraying the Chief during the annual Joe Cain Day procession in Mobile.
"I didn't choose him, he chose me. What we're trying to do in Joe Cain is to make it a day at least different than all other days at Mardi Gras, one that people can come and picnic in any vacant lot or park, if they want to dress in costumes, even thought they may not be in the procession they feel like it's their day, a little more than just coming and watching a parade. We want everyone to have a good time but don't get bad because we want you back and need you back next year, and bring 10 of your friends," Dean said.
Hence the name "the people's parade".
Old Joe Cain would be proud that it's still a loved Mardi Gras tradition that will continue to carry on.
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