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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)- It’s a big year for the Rex organization. Yet another milestone in their history. Marking the 150th year. This year’s king of carnival understands deeply what the King’s duties and responsibilities are.

You’ll likely recognize this year’s King of Carnival, James Reiss, III.

“It is shocking. I don’t know that it’s really actually fully sunk in yet,” shared James J. Reiss, III, Rex, King of Carnival 2022.

Loyal devotion is how I’d describe the traits of this year’s King of Carnival. Devoted to his country, philanthropy, the city of New Orleans, his business, his family, and of course the Rex organization.

“I grew up on the parade route and I love all things, New Orleans. So, I really hate to see New Orleans suffer financially or economically. The pandemic has been a huge strain on our economy. I’m dedicated to raising my family here and I really just love this place with a passion,” said the King of Carnival 2022.

With unique ties to the Rex organization dating back to the 1950s, his paternal grandmother, Alice Peak Reiss was the first to hold a coveted position in the organization.

“She loved Carnival. I have great memories of her in her basement showing me all designs she had done for Rex. We have a lot of that memorabilia that we passed on to the organization but, it’s a really neat connection for me,” share Reiss. “My family’s been involved in Carnival since they came here in the late 1850s but, not so much in Rex for the last hundred years or so it’s a really really neat connection that I’m extremely proud of.”
That started the long lineage of his family history being part of the Rex.

Upholding traditions is important to the Rex organizations along with Reiss personally.

“Growing up on the parade route in the Garden District and probably before my parents would even be awake, up and out the door at like 6 o’clock. I would chase down Zulu on Jackson and St. Charles. Come back, probably have some breakfast, finally, shake everybody awake in the household and beg my parents to take me to To see Rex.”

Even before being named King of Carnival, Reiss holds high ranks.
He is a distinguished veteran in the United States Marine Corp and a Combat Veteran who fought with valor.

“So, I was on active duty in the Marine Corps from 1995 to 2005, mainly stationed on the West Coast as a pilot. I had a great career in the military and loved all my time on active duty but, whenever I returned to New Orleans in 2005, it was apparent to me that the only way to really give back to the community was to get involved in philanthropy.”

Reiss knows what it means to serve his country and community.
Pro Bono Publico was founded after Hurricane Katrina to financially support our community’s public schools and its students.

“It’s something that I am immensely proud of as a member of that but, it really is a member of the organization and I think now we surpassed $10 million in total gifts in the lifetime of the foundation since ’06. So it’s a huge part of what we do,” said Reiss.

All hail. Rex, King of Carnival. 2022.

“This is the 2022 our Rex’s 150th year which makes this year reigning as King of Carnival really, really special.”