12 Fibs to Tell Tourists

1) Fort Condé is named for former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. The title was shortened to “Conde” because by the time motorists read the turn off sign, “Fort C-o-n-d-o-l-e-e-z-z-a R-i-c-e, ” they missed the exit ramp.

2) For weeks after 1979’s Hurricane Frederic, Mobilians were forced to remain indoors. The city’s population doubled exactly nine months later.

3) Hand-painted murals at the Malbis Greek Orthodox Church were rendered by the artist Haralambos Tziouvaras, whose name also appears on local eye charts.

4) The Scottish Rite Temple is modeled after ancient worship shrine Temple of Luxor and is a popular gathering place for Mobile’s thriving Egyptian community.

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5) Bienville Square’s moniker has an unfortunate origin. Mobile’s founder Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, though a stalwart explorer, was also a renowned nerd. His men often chided their leader, teasing, “Bienville’s square.” The name stuck.

6) Alabama’s tallest building, the RSA Tower, boasts a spire with lights that blink simultaneously with local Krispy Kreme signs, signaling low-flying aircraft that the doughnuts are ready.

7) More Mobilians saw Mardi Gras parades than voted in the last presidential election, prompting officials to stock poll booths with MoonPies. The idea was scratched when voters added Joe Cain as a write-in candidate.

8) Sand Island and Dauphin Island are 8 miles apart, the longest distance in the state without a Regions Bank.

9) Race car drivers at Mobile International Speedway routinely practice on Airport Boulevard.

10) Old Shell Road received its name for the old mollusk remains that covered the thoroughfare, courtesy of lazy Old Man Wintzell who was known for dropping his trash off there.

11) Coincidentally, Mike Dow served as Mayor of Mobile for 16 years, the shelf life of a MoonPie.

12) Intentions were good when Mobile sought a replacement for Carnival Cruise Lines. But the little fluorescent submarine sitting in front of Spanish Fort’s Original Oyster House is a lesson learned: Never buy an ocean liner from Craigslist.

And finally, none of the preceding facts were verified by a polygraph lie-detector test, and that’s the truth. 

text by Emmett Burnett • illustration by Kelan mercer

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