Krewe of Rex
Date: Tuesday, Mar 4, 2014 | Location: Uptown | Time: 10:00am
The Rex parade is an annual attraction of traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras and considered a centerpiece of the festival because of the Krewe’s rich and colorful themes, maskers in original costumes and elaborately decorated and hand-painted floats.
The Krewe Of Rex has held more parades than any other organization. They are the origin of many Mardi Gras traditions, including the official Carnival colors of purple, green and gold, as well as the collectible doubloon coins (introduced by Rex in 1960). The Krewe consists of 600 male riders and parades on the New Orleans uptown route on Mardi Gras day.
Founded in 1872, The Krewe Of Rex is one of the oldest participating groups in Mardi Gras. They formed in a New Orleans still recovering from the civil war as a way to entice tourists to visit the city and businesses to put down roots in the community. The city’s businessman originally organized Rex to put on a spectacle for the visiting of Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia (remembered now as "Grand Duke Alexis").
The actual name for the Krewe Of Rex is The School of Design.
While Rex is one of the prominent parade Krewes, they are not technically a Super Krewe. A Super Krewe uses technology like fiber-optic lightning on floats that carry hundreds of riders. Rex follows a tradition of using techniques that have been used by generations.
Every year, one member of the Rex Organization is selected to be Rex, the monarch of the Krewe for the year. (He’s often called King Rex, but his correct title is just “Rex”) Rex is always an influential resident involved in a multiple civic causes and philanthropic pursuits. Their identity is kept secret until Lundi Gras, the day before Mardi Gras. Traditionally, the Mayor hands over to Rex a symbolic key to the City to Rex for Mardi Gras Day.
The Krewe of Rex has an official song, "If Ever I Cease to Love," a song heard throughout New Orleans in the Mardi Gras season. It is a tune that some would describe as quirky, a song from an 1870’s musical called "Bluebeard." The story goes that the song was adopted because the Grand Duke Alexis had a fondness for the actress who sang the song in the musical which was playing at the time of his visit to New Orleans.
Please note that tickets are available for grandstand seating on St. Charles Avenue, but tickets are not required to see the parade. If you arrive early enough, you can claim a spot on the route with a blanket and some chairs.