New Orleans - "Visions of the Sun" is the theme of this year's Rex parade and it promises to be an illuminating show. On Mardi Gras morning, 27 floats will roll in the Krewe of Rex procession: 7 signature Rex creations and 20 unique works of art that salute this year's theme.
"We pick our themes many years in advance. These will always draw in areas of mythology, literature and culture. 'Visions of the Sun' gives you wonderful opportunities," says Rex 2017, Dr. Stephen Hales, who is also the Krewe of Rex Historian and Archivist.
"In this parade you'll see lots of gods and goddesses of the sun from many different cultures, figures from literature, all absolutely beautiful floats," says Hale.
Dr. Hales pointed out a few to look for:
"There's a beautiful Chinese God, Zhulong, that's an absolutely spectacular figure toward the latter part of the parade. I also like the one the one dedicated to William Butler Yeats poem, 'The Golden Apples of the Sun.' We even have a float dedicated to Louis XIV, the King of France, the Sun King."
The Krewe of Rex is dedicated to improving education in New Orleans, and that good will comes in many forms. For example, lots of school children tour the Rex Den during Carnival season and dedicated docents tell them some of the stories behind the beautiful floats. Dr. Hales says he loves it when he hears kids on the parade route explaining the floats to their parents.
Beyond the beads and the baubles, the Rex parade is a rolling history lesson in cherished New Orleans traditions.