Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Sunday Walk on Dauphin Street in Mobile

Before I begin, I have to give a shout out to St.Paul Lutheran Church (a member of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) for the wonderful reception they gave us when we attended church there on Sunday.  Many of the members came up and introduced themselves, they were also insistent that we stay after church and join them for their Thanksgiving meal.   It was almost as wonderful as being back at our home church in St.Louis!
It was one of the coldest days that Mobile has had since February (high for Sunday was 53 degrees with a strong wind).  Fortunately we were prepared for the cold by layering with a couple of jackets.  We started our walk at Fort Conde, located in downtown Mobile.  It is a replica of a fort, built between 1723-1735, to defend the French colony from the Spanish and British.  There is quite an extensive museum in the fort detailing the history of Mobile.  It was there we learned more about Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville. We first heard of him In New Orleans as he was once governor of French Louisiana.  He was also founder of the French colony in Mobile in the early 1700s.  An interesting story about him, which we learned in the museum, was that he had his body tattooed  with snakes.  He had noticed that the Indians had done that to their bodies with needles, and so when he marched into battle with them he went nude.  That was to show his tattoos and to to indicate that he was part of them.
We learned at the museum that Mobile has had quite a bit of history since the 1700s.  It went from a French colony to a British one until Spain captured it in 1780.   Three decades later Spain lost Mobile to the United States.  And there is also quite a bit of history in the city in regards to the Civil War.  The Battle of Mobile Bay was an important win for the Union Army.   Our walk took us by the statue of Raphael Semmes,  Admiral of the Confederate States Navy.  The sign below him notes that he was a "Sailor, Patriot, Statesman, Scholar and Christian Gentleman".
Our walk took us to a couple of parks which are called Bienville Square and Cathedral Square.  An important part of the latter park is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception built in 1842.
Mobile has fortunately kept many of its older buildings which are notable for not only their beautiful architecture, but also rich in history.  Pictured below was the residence of Nicola Marschall who in 1861 designed the Confederate flag and uniform.  The building was constructed in 1853.

One last building to mention here is the Saenger Theater.  It was constructed in 1926 to be a home for vaudeville and silent movies, and remains still today the entertainment center for downtown.   We had seen in the paper that the Mobile Symphony was playing "Beethoven and Blue Jeans" there this week-end.   Unfortunately we were to busy being tourists that we failed to purchase tickets for it!

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