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The project proposal, written by my advisor, Dr. Saunders, focused on looking at popular Alabama legends to uncover why certain legends are presented as truth. My project focuses on Mobile Alabama’s claim to the first Mardi Gras and Gadsden, Alabama’s claim to harbor an “Indian Princess who jumped over a waterfall to escape an arranged marriage.” Over the summer, I have been in contact with the Alabama Public Library System, Etowah Historical Society, Noccalula Falls Park, Mobile Carnival Museum, and references in Louisiana, to find historical sources of the two legends ranging from newspaper clippings, to poems, to books starting from the 1800s until the present. I have organized the stories from the oldest to most recent to find the changes in each narrative. Through this project, we have discovered that Mobile’s claimed “first parade” happened on New Year’s Eve instead of Mardi Gras and that the story of “Efoladela” has turned into “Noccalula the Indian Princess.” In my paper, I argue that both legends have remained in their altered versions to attract tourists. Mobile uses the claim of “the original Mardi Gras" to compete with the popularity of New Orleans’s Mardi Gras. Noccalula Falls keeps the legend of “Princess Noccalula '' and her “lover’s leap” because the “Romeo and Juliet-like forbidden love story” attracts tourists rather than just a natural scenic view.
Research and Creative Experience for Undergraduates (RCEU)
College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
John H. Saunders
Public Memory, Rhetoric, Mardi Gras, Noccalula Falls, and History
Huber, Halle, "Alabama Lied to Me! Uncovering Alabama’s Public Memory" (2023). Summer Community of Scholars Posters (RCEU and HCR Combined Programs). 425.