Mobile, Alabama. Pearl of the South. Oak tree-lined streets draped in moss that provide a welcoming canopy for residents and visitors, alike.
The city I call home. While I am forever Cajun and unabashedly proud of my homeland, Lower Alabama is home now. I won’t bore you with the long, convoluted story as to how we chose to live in Mobile, but will share some particular sites with you that I took with my new Canon 50-D camera.
You see, my friend KD put a notice up on her blog, A Half Hour A Day, about photo guru, Scott Thomas’ collective shoot “assignment”. While I’m quite the novice when it comes to this monsterous camera, what it does and how I can unleash its power, I figured I had to get wet sometime…so I jumped right in.
Now, I have been all around Mobile over the last seven years that I have lived here, but admittedly, it’s been a while since I took in the sites. I took off on Sunday to capture some of the main sites to share, cyberly, with folks that are literally all over the world. Heady stuff. Never the shrinking violet, I embraced the assignment with gusto.
A little background for the readers (since most of you is yankees)…
Mobile is the only city in the United States that has been under five “national” flags.
Spanish, Confederate, U.S., British, and French. The one on the left is the Alabama State Flag. Desired for its port, rivers and bays, Mobile offered settlers commerce and transportation. Today, the many rivers, bays and tributaries provide livelihoods and entertainment for residents and visitors.
Probably the most well-know attraction in Mobile, is the USS Alabama Battleship.
The Alabama is a floating museum that is anchored at the mouth of Mobile Bay and the prominent visual as you exit the famous Wallace Tunnel on I-10, heading East. I have many fond memories of visiting the battleship as a child when we would travel through Mobile on our way to Pensacola or Orlando. To see the battleship rooms and decks was always like entering a time warp for this WWII history buff.
And, Mobile is a bastion of history. Founded in 1702, Mobile is actually named for the Mobilian Indians who first settled these parts. French Canadian explorers (and brothers) d’Iberville and Bienville were the first settlers in Mobile. d’Iberville went on to explore the Carribean, while Bienville made his way west along the Gulf Coast to establish a little village called La Nouvelle Orleans…you might have heard of it. Matter of fact, a few years later some Mobile natives moved over to the new settlement in Louisiana and brought with them their new Lenten tradition, Mardi Gras. That’s right. MOBILE is the home of the first Mardi Gras…not New Orleans.
Mobile pays tribute to its founding brothers in two different ways. A statue of d’Iberville graces Cooper Riverfront Park, gazing out over the water that continued to call him. At his back is the new RSA Tower, the pinnacle of Mobile’s budding skyline and the tallest building in Alabama.
The lovely old towne square in Downtown Mobile is named after Bienville, where a large cross monument and exquisite wrought iron fountain beckons. The brothers, like most French men of that time, were vehemently dedicated to Catholicism. Even today, Mobile has a very large Catholic community.
Now, I’ve seen pictures galore of the Bienville Square fountain and have also seen it numerous times from a distance, however I had never been up close. The wonderful clear water made a very comforting, peaceful sound on this particularly gray, Sunday morning.
While it looks black from afar, closer inspection discloses that it’s actually a wonderful dark verdi green. And, the detail on the iron works is simply superb. Considering that this centerpiece has been in place since the 1890’s, it’s held up remarkably well.
I had a great time seeing some of the sights of Mobile and of course, getting to know my new camera. I still need LOTS of practice but I like the shots I took, however I think the last one is my favorite.