Order of Inca: Edgar Allen Poe, by The Royal Artists. Poe is spot-on, and the huge raven painted on the side was a brilliant use of space.

Order of Myths: Vincent Van Gogh, by Craig Stephens's Carnival Artists. The use of Van Gogh's style in such huge form was, indeed, impressive. We were inspired to go to the Van Gogh Experience in New Orleans the next month.

Our Favorite Limited-Edition Throw

This tough old Conde - a member for more than 30 years - beat colon cancer over the summer, and he had a hip replacement right before the parade. His nephew, on the right, had to push his uncle around in a wheelchair, and he had to help him onto the float, but the longtime Conde was bound and determined to ride again.

The Rattlers of John L. LeFlore High School. Every time we saw this band this year, they just brought it. Big band, great sound, sometimes they serpentined - it was a show!

Our Favorite Throw

Our Favorite Theme

When the Excelsior Band, our very own Men in Black, showed up in the Floral Parade wearing white pants, well, we were a tad flabbergasted. But it's growing on us. We even saw them in a parade without their jackets - wearing all-white! Goodness. Time to clutch some pearls.

Our Favorite Surprise

 Our Favorites - 2023

Our Favorite Revelers

We first spotted these folks from St. Clair County (just east of Birmingham) at the Order of Polka Dots parade. Sonya (left), Billy (right), and Nana (far right), were here because their high school daughter (granddaughter) is in the three-day honor band at the University of Mobile. They were in Mobile last year for the same reason, did Mardi Gras for the first time, and loved it. This year, their objective was getting Billy as many MoonPies as they could. Sonya thought up the Plinko board (mimicking the "Price is Right's" most popular game), and Billy built the board. It worked like a charm.

Port City Samba School. We want to see it get bigger, louder, drummier, and golder.

Our Favorite New Thing

We love weird throws, but we also love stuff we can actually use. A brand new can of Tony C's Creole seasoning? Heck, yeah. Thanks very much! (The Joe Cain Marching Society)

Apparently, you had to get these from Wilbur V, the Royal Court Jester for the Mystic Stripers Society. We were able to get just these two. They are full-weight, no fooling around poker chips. Awesome!

Knights of Revelry - from the creative theme, Fool Me Once, to the excellent floats by Ben Kaiser's Mirth Artists, this parade was a delight from beginning to end. The beautiful weather didn't hurt, either.

Our Favorite Parade

There were a few in the running, but the Infant Mystics's theme of Opening Night won us over. It was all things with the word "Open" involved, from Opening Season to Opening Arguments, even Open Wide or, as pictured, Open Sesame.

Neptune's Daughters: Dorothy Before Oz, by The Royal Artists. We have seen a black-and-white float before (Steamboat Willie), but this one truly set the stage as the first theme float for Ladies of Oz.

We have seen "cutout" doubloons in New Orleans, but not in Mobile. Order of Athena brought this little twist with their cutout Athena-head doubloons. We wouldn't want these to replace round doubloons, but they do make for some real variety in the collection. KOR, meanwhile, issued a doubloon that's nothing less than a clinic in good graphic design. It fills the space, the theme is easy to read, the design is simple but effective. Kudos!

Our Favorite Useful Throw

These are not new, but there was a real explosion of them this year. They were everywhere! And, frankly, they're so welcome. You can eat them right there, save some in your backpack for later, whatever. They're not as good as the Welch's gummies, but they're not bad. Keep 'em coming!

We've been at this so long now and seen so many parades, that it seemed only natural that we would want to point out some of our favorites. That's what these are - OUR favorites. They are not necessarily the best or even your favorites. This is beyond subjective, it's the view from our tiny little vantage point. If we didn't list your parade or float or whatever, it doesn't mean that it wasn't awesome. With all of that said, let's go:

Our Favorite Doubloons

Our Favorite Floats

Our Favorite Marching Band

We couldn't pick just one this year, so we picked three. It's kind of a cop-out, but give us a break - there's a lot of floats out there. So here they are, in no particular order.

Our Favorite Masker