Mardi Gras Names: Fantastic Names from New Orleans
Tomorrow is Mardi Gras, 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:
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.
A few names are missing from this list. 2011’s Rex and his court won’t be announced until today, when they make their traditional entrance from the Mississippi River. I’ll post them in the comments as soon as they dock!
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on March 7th, 2011 at 8:28 am
I know an Odessa as a child. She was a really sweet older woman (definitely from the south). I’ll always have a soft spot for the name.
on March 7th, 2011 at 8:55 am
I love this list! It makes my home sick. My grandmother was Mary Nell. I’ve been loving Clemence and Delphine a lot lately.
on March 7th, 2011 at 9:35 am
What a splendid idea! Amazing discoveries Abby. Love me some Nancy Eugenie.
on March 7th, 2011 at 11:19 am
Delphine is an old favorite of mine,too – but since my last name ends in -del, we couldn’t consider it!
on March 7th, 2011 at 11:35 am
I like so many off these I’m only going to mention my absolute favorites:
Rex: flat out handsome, and easily my #2 name!
Wilder: family surname for me. Will be used if I ever have another boy.
Clemence, Flores, Rosemonde (I prefer Rosemond, but still).
Augustin, Lucien, Eben, Sterling (I’d spell it Stirling, for my favorite forest), Winston, Clarendon & Welles. I love Clarendon, wish it was a surname in my tree! *sigh* Clarence will have to suffice.
on March 7th, 2011 at 12:40 pm
This was very fun to read Abby! I had no idea that Mardi Gras even had a royal court – how fun 🙂
I love Delphine as well, I even pitched it to my DH but he says no because it reminds him of Dolphins 🙁
on March 7th, 2011 at 12:53 pm
Everyone look pointedly away from ‘Devereaux’ that’s my favorite name. I love them all though, I definitely have southern tastes
on March 7th, 2011 at 4:33 pm
Lola, Clarendon is a Metro stop here in DC, so we couldn’t use it – but I do LOVE the sound of Clarendon.
Amanda, actually there are LOTS of royal courts for Mardi Gras. Most of the Krewes (parade organizations) have them, in some form. Rex is among the oldest, and has official duties on Mardi Gras, but it’s not the only one. The Mystick Krewe of Comus is equally prestigious, but they’re super-secret and don’t reveal the identities of their members – so no name lists to pour over!
JackieBlue, Devereaux is dashing!
Elisabeth, Nancy Eugenie is officially one of my new favorite combinations, but Cherry Thalia has me wondering, too.
Whitney Gigandet Said
on March 7th, 2011 at 10:15 pm
Ooh, I am loving Baylissa! How utterly gorgeous is she. An instant favorite for me 🙂 I also like these… AKA, a lot! What a phenomenal list 🙂
on March 8th, 2011 at 11:37 am
Baylissa was one of the real finds, Whitney! Never heard her before. 🙂
Quick update for 2011: this year’s queen is named Jane Yvonne. Her great-grandfather, Edgar, was Rex in 1956. This year’s Rex is Herschel! No word on the court yet.
on March 8th, 2011 at 11:40 am
Oh, I take it back! Here they are:
MAIDS: Kathryn, Sarah, Caroline (x2), Rita, Laine, Jeanne, Evelyn.
DUKES: Oliver, Alexander, Matthew, Michael, Millard, Charles, George, Patrick
PAGES: William, Stephen
on April 5th, 2011 at 10:20 am
Blanche and Beulah are to beautiful Deep South names that I think are underused elsewhere…
on December 28th, 2011 at 5:17 am
I saw Audley and thought “Man, middle school must of been tough”
I love Lanier, Townsend, and Arthemise.
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on May 1st, 2015 at 10:10 pm
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