NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO) – A time-honored tradition is now halted like so many others amid the pandemic.
The Rex organization has announced that it will not name any royalty and there will be no royal ball. This is the first time in the history of Rex that there will be no king or queen and a Rex official says the decision comes down to public safety.
James Reiss, a member of Rex tells WGNO that with its motto of “For the good of the people,” Rex would never do anything to jeopardize the health of its members or the general public.
Carnival Historian Errol Laborde said, “Carnival does a lot for the psyche of the community and does a lot for the spirit of the community.”
Laborde believes although difficult, Rex is making the right decision to cancel its ball and other activities.
“They’ve always taken a leadership role when there’s been some type of crisis. It’s sort of typical of Rex to be involved in this decision.”
Reiss says “Our royal reception, the ball, since 1872 has always had a king and without a parade or a ball, there is nothing for a king or queen of carnival to rule over.”
The cancellation will also mean financial impacts on industries already struggling. Resiss says the Rex ball employs dozens of artists, musicians, support staff and catering personnel.
As for the floats, this year’s theme will be stripped away and the work is already underway for 2022 when Rex celebrates its 150th anniversary.
“There’s a few signature floats like the King’s float which will survive, but the themed floats, maybe they can adapt a few or they’ll just have to start all over again,” Laborde said.