Under gorgeous springtime skies — a welcome break from the frigid or rainy Fat Tuesdays of the past few years — the King of Carnival greeted spectators with a parade celebrating the very idea of celebration. Rex reliably fields beautiful floats, and 2017's theme of “Carnival Fetes and Feasts” did not disappoint.
Some of the parade theme subjects were to be expected, such as the Cajun country Courir de Mardi Gras, Venetian Carnival, Mexico's Day of the Dead. There also was a wink at the Mardi Gras put on by our neighbors in Mobile, Alabama. But the School of Design loves a deep dive into history, lore and even mystery, and floats like "Navigium Isidis” (an ancient Roman tribute to the goddess Isis thought to be part of the origin of today's Carnival), “Busojaras: Hungary” (an Eastern European pre-Lenten feast involving demonic masks) and “Lupercalia” (a Roman festival associated with the wolf that raised Romulus and Remus) merited a trip for attentive viewers to Google or Wikipedia.
The splendor of Rex's floats are echoed in the krewe's throws: beads and pillows designed for each float. Rex seems to embrace these custom throws more each year, and the Carnival crowds quickly catch on, making each float's throws individual collectors' items. This year, riders were even more generous than usual with the float-themed beads and pillows, and most parade-goers likely went home happy.