New Orleans might be the best-known spot to celebrate Mardi Gras, which culminated with crowds of people on Fat Tuesday. But it's not the only street party in the American south.
In Mobile, Alabama, the tradition is said to go back to 1703, when French colonists who settled the city some fifteen years before they founded New Orleans first celebrated the holiday. And for some people in Mobile, preparing for each year's celebration is a full-time job.
Patricia Halsell-Richardson, 69, produces so-called regalia — the crowns, collars, and trains for the neighborhood royalty who reign over the city each year. These “kings” and “queens” are selected by historic clubs which nominate young leaders in their community for one-year positions as Mardi Gras royalty.
"It's different from New Orleans because in Mobile, it's like family," she explained. "We come home for Mardi Gras versus coming home for Christmas."
VICE News Tonight joined Halsell-Richardson as she put the finishing touches on clothing she designed for the queen of Mobile’s African American residents group.
This segment originally aired February 13, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.