The first attempts to reproduce the float designs in color came in 1884, with booklets illustrating the pageants of Momus and Comus. The color was uneven and out of register in these early efforts, but only two years later, the great wedding of steam presses and color lithography produced the first beautiful chromolithographed Carnival Bulletins.
Newspapers, notably the Times-Democrat and the Picayune, vied with one another to publish the Carnival Bulletins. Thousands of copies were printed and always sold separately. These colorful souvenirs could be ordered from the papers Ñ on the day of the parades, they were hawked for a dime by youngsters on streetcars and busy street corners. These 10-cent bulletins have assumed an importance that could not have been imagined when they were produced. Because so few collections of original float and costume designs have survived, these lithographs became the visual record of the great processions, with every float from 1877 until the bulletins were discontinued in 1941.
The Rex Organization revived the tradition in 2003, and this marks the fourth year that the bulletins have appeared in Gambit Weekly. For 2006, His Majesty presents "Beaux Arts and Letters," commemorating artists and writers who have added to the rich culture of New Orleans. Information about Rex, its history and its activities is available on the Rex Organization Web site (www.rexorganization.com). Prints of the 2006 Bulletin may be purchased from Enoch's Framing and Gallery. A poster of the 2006 Rex Proclamation is available at www.neworleansposters.com. Written by Henri Schindler, Rex Artistic Director