Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Rex parade

Rex (founded 1872) is a New Orleans Carnival Krewe which stages the city's largest parade on Mardi Gras Day. Rex is Latin for "King", and Rex is known locally as "The King of Carnival".

Rex was organized by New Orleans business men in part to put on a spectacle in honor of the New Orleans visit of Grand Duke Alexis of Russia during the 1872 Carnival season. Also in the minds of the founders of Rex was the desire to lure tourism and business to post American Civil War New Orleans.

The Rex parade is put on by an organization called The School of Design. The organization is related to the private New Orleans men's club The Boston Club.

In addition to the famous parade, Rex also holds a private ball for the membership on Mardi Gras night.

One member of the Rex organization is each year chosen to be the monarch of the organization; he is often referred to by the (technically redundant) phrase "King Rex". The identity of the King is made public on Lundi Gras, the day before Mardi Gras. The Mayor of New Orleans traditionally hands over a symbolic Key to the City of New Orleans to Rex for Mardi Gras Day.

While historically restricted to people of European ancestry for most of its history, Rex had no trouble complying with the 1991 anti-segregation ordinances which ended the parades of the Mystick Krewe of Comus (see). The first King of Rex (businessman Louis Solomon) was Jewish, although for a number of years in the early 20th century Rex prohibited entrance into the organization of any new Jewish members.

Rex has held more parades in New Orleans than any other organization.

Rex is categorized as one of the four New Orleans "Super Krewes" for the very large size of the parade; the others (Endymion, Baccus, and Orpheus) were all founded in the 2nd half of the 20th century and parade during nights in the days leading up to Mardi Gras. Rex is the only 19th century krewe and the only "super krewe" to parade during the daytime.

The Rex parade has long been known for very finely and artistically built floats. Many consider the Rex parade to be the highlight and most beautiful sight of New Orleans carnival.

Rex, 1904, on Canal Street, New Orleans

Rex, 1907 (?)

See also:

Mardi Gras