New Orleans has the most famous Mardi Gras in America, but that celebration isn't the oldest of its kind. Years before New Orleans was officially a city, Mobile, Alabama, started an annual Mardi Gras soiree in 1703 that continues today, almost as segregated as it ever was.

New Orleans has the most famous Mardi Gras in America, but that celebration isn't the oldest of its kind. Years before New Orleans was officially a city, Mobile, Alabama, started an annual Mardi Gras soiree in 1703 that continues today, almost as segregated as it ever was.

The dueling celebrations that take place among the white and black communities of Mobile form the basis for Margaret Brown's documentary The Order of Myths. It's a walk back in time in many ways, some of which are uncomfortable but undeniably fascinating, and each side has its own view of history.

While exploring the hierarchal family legacy behind the naming of a particular debutante queen of the white celebration, Brown uncovers a horrible connection her ancestors have to the local black community. An elder white man's appraisal that this is how everyone wants it doesn't sit well with the news that one of the last lynchings in America took place in Mobile in 1981.

"The Order of Myths"

Opens Friday at Landmark's Gateway Theater

Grade: B+

The filmmaker also notes the individual progress being made toward a real, mutual respect between both sides, but stronger is the impression that there's a long way to go.