Apr. 12, 2018

Minutes of the April 12, 2018, Meeting
The Rotary Club of Mobile
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by John Dukes at 12:15 PM. Bry Shields offered the invocation and Tommy Blankenship led the club in song followed by Jeff Zoghby who welcomed visiting Rotarians and members’ guests.
Youth Merit Award: Jeff Luther introduced Mathilde “Mattie” Naman who was accompanied by her parents. Miss Naman is Senior Class President at McGill Toolen Catholic High School and in talking about Service Above Self cited her father, Judge Edmund Naman as her role model.
• John Dukes announced that the Rotary District Conference will be held at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi on June 7th through the 10th.
• John reported that May 17th has been designated Graduate Day when we invite our members to bring seniors to the meeting to hear an inspirational talk.
• A board meeting will follow next week’s meeting on April 19th.
• John introduced Chris Eddings from El Papi restaurant on Dauphin Street. He said the restaurant is looking forward to hosting members of our club on Tuesday April 17th from 5-7PM with special hors d’oeuvres and happy hour prices.
Program: Cart Blackwell: The Mystique of the Mystic
Tom McGehee introduced Cart Blackwell, Executive Director of the Mobile Carnival Museum who presented a power point program focusing on some of the collections of the museum and the colorful history of our Mardi Gras.
Cart looked back over the city’s long history noting that before the Civil War Mobile had been the second largest center for banking in the South and was dubbed “the Paris of the South.” Reconstruction left the economy in a shambles and the 1872 founding of the Mobile Carnival Association was an attempt to promote the city’s carnival season and bring in tourist dollars. It worked then and it works today. He noted that Mardi Gras had a $227 million impact on the city this year.
Cart announced that the Carnival Museum will be offering visitors a quarterly changing exhibit in the main building beginning in July of this year. The first exhibit will focus on “The Spirits of Mardi Gras” with artifacts ranging from mid-19th century silver julep cups to a prohibition era martini shaker with a Mystic organization’s emblem. Future planned exhibits focus on the work of talented artists and designers of Mardi Gras art and parade floats.
He was especially pleased to announce that New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently put in a request to borrow the emblem goat from the Striker’s Independent Society (1844) for an exhibit planned for 2021.
After answering a number of questions, Cart was thanked by John Dukes who presented him with a certificate noting that a donation has been made in his honor to the Rotary Children’s Foundation.
The meeting adjourned at 1:00 PM.
Tom McGehee