In 1866, Mobile, Alabama was under “Union” Occupation and the spirit of the people was down and defeated. The tradition of Mardi Gras had been put on hold and no citizen of Mobile was allowed to protest against the occupation of what was still considered enemy troops.
A local clerk named Joseph Cain decided to have a parade of his own with a small group of friends. Joe Cain, dressed as a fictional Chickasaw Indian Chief named Slacabamorinico, climbed aboard a coal wagon and revived the celebration of Mardi Gras.
Union soldiers were unaware that the Chickasaw Indians had never surrendered during a war and thus were oblivious to the “protest”. The parade continued on.
The parade still continues each Sunday before the official Mardi Gras day on Tuesday before Lent. Citizens of Mobile and visitors from around the world join in to celebrate Joe Cain Day.
Joe Cain has many merry widows that lay claim to him and his legacy. These “grieving” widows stop momentarily each year at Joe’s Grave to throw roses and beads and dance to “raise Cain”; and then proceed through the parade route grieving and throwing beads to “mourners”.