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Mobile, originally known as Fort Louis de la Mobile, is a thriving city with a population of just under 200,000 people. The third largest city in Alabama, it was the birthplace of American Mardi Gras back in 1703. Long before New Orleans adopted the holiday, Mobile was already celebrating it. Despite its French heritage the name of the city is actually homage to the Native American tribe residing in the area at the time of the city's establishment.
Aside from being a popular Mardi Gras destination, Mobile is also famous for its jubilee, a natural phenomenon that causes all marine life to rise up to the water surface in summer evenings. The phenomenon, which is extremely rare, may be caused by lack of oxygen or by changes in underwater currents. The jubilee is an impressive sight to those walking by the bay after sunset.
Mobile is located in an area prone to hurricanes, which means that large storms are frequent and usually cause serious damage to the city every year. Hurricane Katrina hit the city only slightly, and other hurricanes have passed by or touch the city sideways. The worst damage caused to the area occurred in 1979, when Hurricane Frederic torn down half the city. The hurricane caused enough destruction that it took the government five years to get Mobile back to its original glory.
Mobile has mild winters and hot summers, and it's a prime tourist destination year round. Aside from Mardi Gras, which lasts a month, visitors to the city can enjoy the USS Alabama Battleship and the Submarine USS Druim, or board one of the new cruisers lining up on Mobile Bay. Old Southern mansions and formal gardens abound in the city, and the historian at heart can find many options to explore the city's past. At night, the Bay becomes alive with restaurants, cafes, and boat rides, and both riders and those enjoying a seaside walk can be found alongside the bay.