Order of Athena building its own floats after group says builder left them high and dry

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 12:15 AM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Nobody’s going to rain on the Order of Athena’s Mardi Gras parade.

The Mardi Gras organization is spending hours a day after their 9-5′s, doing the work they say they paid someone else to do.

Order of Athena member, Jewel, said, “We’re here sometimes until 7:30, 8:00 at night. On Saturdays and Sundays we’re here.”

Jewel said when they checked in on their floats a few weeks ago, they say the paid-in-full builder wasn’t getting the job done.

“Floats were rough. Some were unsafe,” said Jewel.

now, Jewel said they enlisted the help of their husbands, volunteers from other organizations and even hired a team out of New Orleans.

Michael Pearce is part of that small crew from New Orleans. He said, “Eight weeks to build 9 floats? Usually it takes a whole summer to build 9 floats so we’re doing a good job.”

Pearce said they trained the ladies how to do everything themselves.

“Every time we come back, it’s like half of what told them to do is done plus like three times more than that. So they’re busting it out!” said Pearce.

“There’s one group of ladies, their whole float came here and worked and they had all the power tools on their float cutting stuff. You name it, they were cutting it. Drilling,” Jewel said. “We’re learning lots of stuff”

On Monday, a countdown on a board in their warehouse said 17 days until Mardi Gras. It’s a stark reminder that time is ticking before Fat Tuesday!

Jewel said most of all, they’re taking the unfortunate situation and using it to bond with each other.

“When you’re in an organization and you’re large, you may not even know their name but 100 people has come out and is helping us so we’re getting to learn them, talk to them and we’re having a good time doing it,” said Jewel. “I actually have a lady that says ‘this is so much therapy for me.’”

The Order of Athena is the only ladies group that parades in Mobile on Mardi Gras.

If you’d like to help them out even more, there will be a fundraiser for the organization. It’s Tuesday night at Two Willows Boutique on Old Shell Road from 5pm to 8pm. 20% of the proceeds will go to Order of Athena.


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