2018 Nappie Winner | Rosswood, Most Kid Friendly Neighborhood
The children in the Rosswood subdivision have been some of Mobile’s youngest Mardi Gras revelers for decades, but more recently families there have reveled in victory as they’ve claimed the Nappie Award for Most Kid-Friendly Neighborhood three years running.
Off Cottage Hill Road, tucked away in midtown, Rosswood is an older but well-kept subdivision with a unique local tradition. Every year since 1965, hundreds if not thousands of people have converged on its streets a week before Joe Cain Day to catch the Mystics of Children parade.
For 53 years, neighborhood children — at least those 12 and under — have piled onto homemade floats and paraded the streets throwing candy and trinkets to visitors. Over the years it’s become a Mobile favorite — a spectacle started by a group of kids who, like their parents, wanted to let the good times roll.
“We all had parents in Mardi Gras societies and decided we wanted to do something, too. We just ran around the neighborhood knocking on doors, telling people the parade was fixing to come. We had two or three wagons with sheets and stuff, but it just consecutively grew,” said David Cox, a longtime resident whose family helped organize the first parade. “Now there’s thousands of people that come, and it’s a big neighborhood function.”
While the Mystics of Children parade is the biggest event in Rosswood, it’s not the only one. Every year the homeowners association organizes a Christmas party, a large spring party with live musical performance and Halloween night typically brings in trick-or-treaters from all over midtown.
For some residents, though, the best events are the impromptu “yard parties.” Lagniappe experienced one of these firsthand with all the cold beverages, music and camaraderie one would expect. Matt Ritchie said the events make Rosswood feel less like a neighborhood and more like its own little community.
“Everybody here is so welcoming, and nobody is a stranger,” he said.
Tara Zieman, whose family are some of the newer residents of Rosswood, said being close with her neighbors has come with a number of benefits. She said the neighbors know one another and look out for each others’ families and property. Zieman said her neighbors are quick to lend a hand or a missing ingredient, too.
“I like to say that I have, like, 10 pantries at any given time,” she said. “It’s one thing to love your home and to be comfortable in your home, but when you come into your neighborhood and the whole place just feels warm and fuzzy, I think that’s extremely rare.”
As the years have come and gone, some families have come and gone from Rosswood, but for the most part it isn’t a transitory neighborhood. “When people get here, they’re here,” Cox said, and his family seems to be a good example of that. His sister is right down the road and his daughter lives in the house he grew up in.
Another thing that hasn’t changed in Rosswood are the children. They still parade in the winter and they still play up and down the same streets Cox did when he was growing up in the 1960s.
“Along this stretch, if you come down [Rosswood Drive], you better slow down because there will be kids everywhere — playing hide-and-go-seek or riding bicycles,” he said. “It’s just great.”