New Orleans – Officially, Carnival season has come to an end, but for the King of Carnival, also known as Rex, the royal title comes with honors that last a lifetime. One privilege is membership to an exclusive club, the Carnival Kings’ Club.
This spring, Rex 2019, Robert S. Boh, president and CEO of Boh Bros. Construction, will be welcomed to this special circle. Rex 2017, Dr. Stephen Hales, who also is the Krewe’s historian and archivist, explained the history of the Club to WGNO’s Travel Girl, Stephanie Oswald.
There are many layers to the royalty of Rex; it’s much more than simply reigning over the magnificent float that leads the Rex procession every Mardi Gras morning.
Once you’ve waved the royal scepter over St. Charles Avenue, and accepted the key to the city, you’ll soon be headed to Antoine’s Restaurant in the French Quarter, in a beautiful room that’s been designated the “Rex Room.” That’s where the Carnival Kings’ Club meets.
“All the past Kings of Carnival gather a couple of times a year to enjoy their company and to have dinner together. Starting in the 1940s, this celebration has mostly happened in the Rex Room at Antoine’s,” explains Dr. Hales.
The former monarchs wear white linen suits and Rex ties, and when they meet in the spring they welcome and gently roast the newest member.
“It’s always a very happy occasion in the sense that there are some happy ghosts around,” Dr. Hales says with a smile.
Antoine’s Rex Room is the only place other than the Rex Den where you’ll find portraits of all the Kings of Carnival hanging on the wall.
“When I’m here in the king’s room at the den, surrounded by portraits of the Kings of Carnival back to 1872, Lewis J. Salomon, I’m reminded how much service there is here, how much tradition, how much history,” says Dr. Hales.
The empty place on the wall will soon be filled with the portrait of Rex 2019, Robert S. Boh.