By Abby Sandel
Mardi Gras is tomorrow, and in New Orleans, that means one thing: a parade featuring Rex, King of Carnival. Mardi Gras parades begin days earlier, and every parade organization – called a krewe – has its royalty. But Rex and his Queen, along with their court of Maids, Dukes, and Pages, occupy a special place in the revels.
Rex traces its roots to 1872, and their royals have been drawn from the most prominent of New Orleans families. The men named Rex are accomplished civic leaders; their consorts are chosen from the season’s debutantes.
Over the years, Rex and his court have worn some fascinating names – a mix of old Southern tradition and French influence. Here are some of my favorites, drawn from decades of Mardi Gras’ reigning royals:
Nickname Names – Over the years, the listed names became more formal. It might reflect a change in naming styles, or perhaps simply a change in how names were recorded. Plenty of short names appeared amongst the early courtiers.
Southern Doubles – Over the years, it became much more common for queens and maids to list their full names. These appeared in the early decades, and appear to be examples of those great Southern double names.
Saer – Appears as a first and a middle.
Other Notable Names
Lolita – From the 1959 court. If you’re counting, that’s a year after the novel of the same name was first published in the US.
Family Names – If they’re popular for girls, they’re almost de rigeur for boys. Many of these appear in combination over the decades, making it possible to trace a family by their names. I stopped counting after I found my fourth Alden.
Other Notable Names – In more recent years, you can also spot modern favorites like Bryan, but they’re in the minority.