An unconfirmed e-mail sent from the “Footmarchers of Joe Cain” to local media late last night suggest that as many as 150 foot marchers will protest today’s Joe Cain parade in downtown Mobile.
“Due to the outrageous fees and paperwork being pushed on the footmarchers by organizers Jim Baldwin and Teresa Saad over 150 footmarchers will not be allowed to walk in tomorrow’s parade,” the e-mail read. “Some of the groups bylaws such as the Mistresses forbid them from giving out personal contact information in order to maintain their secrecy, while the $20 per person fee is just too much for other groups to come up with in such a short period of time given them by the Joe Cain Parading Society. Individuals and families that have participated for generation have also been hit with the burden of paying additional monies to parade on a day that up to this point has been open to ‘the people.’ Phone calls from many of the footmarchers have not been returned and offer of compromise made by some of the groups have been turned down by Baldwin with no consideration.
“We feel this is a direct attempt to push the footmarchers out of the Joe Cain parade and destroy the legacy left by Joe Cain and Julian Rayford. Mr. Baldwin told one footmarcher who attended the registration to ask questions that Joe Cain was not the people’s parade but his parade. The footmarcher who requested to remain anonymous was appalled. We are the least trouble of any group in the parade and are confused as to why Mr. Baldwin and Mrs. Saad have so much disdain toward a group of people who just want to dance in the street and entertain the people of Mobile in a manner that would make Joe Cain proud.”
The marchers plan to arrive at the parade’s staging area prior to its 2:30 p.m. start time with protest signs and attempt to enter the procession. They expect to be deterred from doing so by parade organizers and police and have pledged to leave peacefully. Later, they will congregate on Washington Avenue as the parade passes by to carry on the protest.
“This is a horrible slap in the face to the memory of two great men in Mobile Mardi Gras history and while Mr. Baldwin and Mrs. Saad may have won the battle this time we will never give in and never give up fighting to preserve the legacy of Joe Cain and Judy Rayford,” the e-mail concludes. “‘The People’ will march again through the streets of Mobile in celebration of Joe Cain Day!”