NEW ORLEANS — On a strange and different Fat Tuesday, the Rex Organization offers “The Salute to the People of New Orleans.”
The idea was conceived to encourage everyone to celebrate safely this year, and to provide a virtual reminder of Mardi Gras traditions on a day when parades cannot be held.
Consistent with the Rex Organization’s motto Pro Bono Publico, this broadcast has been produced for the people of New Orleans, for their enjoyment and with their health and safety in mind.
The following description was provided by the Rex Organization:
“Similar to how the Rex Organization was founded during the several days in advance of Mardi
Gras 1872, this special production was conceived and came together quickly over several days in advance of Mardi Gras 2021.
The Rex Organization is grateful to Mayor Cantrell and her staff for their participation in this unprecedented broadcast. Mayor Cantrell filmed her portion of the Salute on the steps of Gallier Hall, symbolizing the toasts she traditionally shares with the kings of Zulu and Rex on Mardi Gras morning from that important location.
The Rex Organization is also grateful to its friends at the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, with whom it traditionally shares the parading streets on Mardi Gras morning, for collaborating on the portions of the broadcast that feature Zulu’s storied history, the tragedy it has dealt with this year, and the optimism with which it looks toward the future. Portions of Zulu’s feature were filmed at the organization’s historic clubhouse on Broad Street.
The Rex Organization thanks representatives of the Mardi Gras Indians – bearers of New Orleans’ special and most unique cultural artform – for filming their portion of the Salute immediately following a press conference last week with Mayor Cantrell in which the mayor and Big Chiefs encouraged Indians to not mask on Mardi Gras. Consistent with their message of not masking on Mardi Gras, the Big Chiefs filmed their portion of the Salute in Lafayette Square, across from Gallier Hall without their traditional costumes.
The Rex Organization thanks Megan Boudreaux, Captain of the Krewe of House Floats, for participating by filming in front of an iconic house float in the Irish Channel that represents this new phenomenon that has earned national and even international acclaim and that is certain to become an enduring tradition going forward.
The Rex Organization thanks the United States Marine Corps Forces Reserve Band, which traditionally plays in a prominent position at the front of the Rex Parade, for recording the National Anthem at its base on the West Bank of New Orleans.
The Rex Organization thanks cadets from the Honor Guard of the New Orleans Military & Maritime Academy (“NOMMA”) for conducting the ceremony to raise the flags of the United States of America, the City of New Orleans, and the Rex Organization at the Rex Den. The Pro Bono Publico Foundation has supported NOMMA for many years, and several members of Rex have served on the board of this exceptional charter school.
The Rex Organization thanks Reverend Monsignor Christopher Nalty, Pastor of Good Shepard Parish, who traditionally provides a blessing prior to the Rex Parade. In the Salute, from the nave of the historic St. Louis Cathedral, Monsignor Nalty leads a poignant prayer that focuses on the losses of this past year and reminds viewers that our city has come through prior tragedies in unity and solidarity.
The Rex Organization thanks the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, which traditionally plays at the Rex Ball, for recording “If Ever I Cease to Love” at City Park’s Floats in the Oaks, which is led by three iconic Rex floats: the King’s Float, the Boeuf Gras, and the Streetcar Named Desire. “If Ever I Cease to Love” has been the anthem of Mardi Gras since it was played during Rex’s first parade in 1872. City Park’s leadership has described Rex’s early support for Floats in the Oaks as being instrumental in its success.
The Rex Organization thanks Arthur Hardy, Carnival expert and publisher of the annual “Mardi Gras Guide,” for his commentary on the history of and impacts made by the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club and the Rex Organization.
The Rex Organization thanks Mark Romig, a leader of New Orleans & Company and the Superdome’s announcer at Saints games, for serving as the Salute’s Master of Ceremonies. He recorded his segments from the King’s Room at the Rex Den on South Claiborne Avenue.
The Rex Captain and three Rex lieutenants, wearing the costumes they would traditionally wear on Mardi Gras and standing next to a white riderless horse, were filmed in front of the iconic Butterfly King Float at the Rex Den. The white riderless horse wearing a wreath of green, gold, and purple flowers on a black ribbon symbolizes the losses of this past year. The galloping white riderless horse as a symbol of both loss and hope is depicted in Rex’s 2021 Proclamation by New Orleans artist Shelley Hesse.
The Rex Organization is grateful to its Royal Videographers, Lenny Delbert and Dave Landry, for their excellent work on filming and editing the Salute in a compressed timeframe. Finally, the Rex Organization thanks its members who conceived and produced this special Salute.”