Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Photos: Krewe Of Rex Closes Out 2024 Carnival Season Parading Through New Orleans

The Krewe of Rex is the centerpiece of Mardi Gras in New Orleans and has served as the icon of Carnival for over 150 years. Rex is one of New Orleans four Super Krewes, living by their motto “Pro Bono Publico” (for the public good.)

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Krewe Of Rex Closes Out 2024 Carnival Season
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Known as “The King of Carnival,” Rex was the very krewe that brought about the signature purple, gold, and green colors of Carnival season. Their 1892 parade theme, “The Symbolism of Colors,” suggested that purple, green, and gold symbolize justice, faith and power. The Krewe was also the first to introduce themed throws, which became a long-held tradition that is one of the largest parts of Carnival. 

Krewe Of Rex Closes Out 2024 Carnival Season
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Krewe Of Rex Closes Out 2024 Carnival Season
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

From their beginnings in 1872 as a spectacle in honor of the New Orleans visit of Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia, Rex grew and is now a quintessential part of Mardi Gras. The influence this krewe had on Carnival is truly amazing, and the fact that it is still going strong today really says something about the perseverance of New Orleanians. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Krewe Of Rex Closes Out 2024 Carnival Season
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

This year’s parade featured 440 riders on 29 floats, parading under the theme “The Two Worlds of Lafcadio Hearn – New Orleans and Japan.” Dedicated to Yakumo Koizumi, born Patrick Lafcadio Hearn, the theme honors the talents and legacy of the Irish writer, translator, and teacher who introduced the culture and literature of Japan to the Western World. 

Krewe Of Rex Closes Out 2024 Carnival Season
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Krewe Of Rex Closes Out 2024 Carnival Season
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

This was my first time seeing and photographing the Rex parade and it definitely lived up to its reputation with some of the most beautiful floats I have ever seen. There are so many activities to choose from on Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans but I may be making this one a yearly tradition.

Krewe Of Rex Closes Out 2024 Carnival Season
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Krewe Of Rex Closes Out 2024 Carnival Season
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Mayor LaToya Cantrell and New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson were on hand to toast the King of Rex today at the beginning of the parade.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Krewe Of Rex Closes Out 2024 Carnival Season
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The permanent floats in the Rex Parade include Rex’s Float, the Boeuf Gras, the Butterfly King, the Title Float, the Royal Barge, the Royal Bandwagon, and the Streetcar Named Desire. Other floats included in the parade are redecorated each year to represent the specific theme chosen. Each parade float was throwing float-specific beads, sports towels, playing cards, and a trio of Rex doubloons. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Krewe Of Rex Closes Out 2024 Carnival Season
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Before their grand parade, Rex announced their royal court, consisting of King John Menge Eastman, a retired businessman who has been a tireless volunteer for the community, and Queen of Carnival, Miss Elizabeth Brent Montgomery, a University of Alabama student. After the Mardi Gras day parade, the King and Queen preside over the Rex Ball at the Sheraton Hotel. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Krewe Of Rex Closes Out 2024 Carnival Season
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The Rex Ball brings Mardi Gras to a glittering conclusion, combining music, pageantry, processions, marches, and dancing. The event follows elegant traditions and a formal protocol.

Rex candidly embodies the soul and tradition of Mardi Gras, giving it spirit that will live on for years and years to come. 

Words by Emily Cigan @emily.cigan and Amy Harris @thetraveladdictig

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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