You may have heard on Christmas Day that a rare December tornado struck downtown Mobile, Alabama, where the finish of the 2013 Great Race will take place. It destroyed Trinity Episcopal Church on Dauphin Street and nearby Murphy High School in what is known as the midtown area of Mobile. It is only 17 blocks straight down Dauphin Street to Bienville Square, the site of the finish of the Great Race on June 30. Bienville Square and that part of beautiful tree-lined Dauphin Street where spared.
Mobile, for those who have not been there, is a smaller, friendlier New Orleans with a French influence from the early 1700s. It is situated on Mobile Bay, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico. Mardi Gras was first celebrated in the United States in Mobile, and Admiral David Farragut famously shouted Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead in Mobile Bay during the Civil War.
The Great Race will start in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Saturday, June 22, and finish in Mobile on Sunday, June 30. During the 9-day, 2,100-mile trip the racers will cross the Mississippi River a dozen times trying to claim the $50,000 first prize.