This year’s theme is presented both in English (“Royal Gardens”) and in Latin (“Horti Regis”), emphasizing the timeless significance of gardens. The desire to be surrounded by beauty is as old as mankind itself. In every time and culture artists have arranged natural elements into gardens to please all of the senses. Emperors and Kings assured that their gardens were planned with as much care as their castles, and some of these gardens were counted among the wonders of the world. The 2016 Rex Procession takes us to splendid gardens known only from ancient illustrations and descriptions, and to others still providing beautiful sights to those who visit them. In the best tradition of Rex artistic design, watch for a parade filled with colorful flowers, historic figures, and colorful costumes.
One of my favorite parts of Carnival happens on Lundi Gras when Rex and Zulu meet at the Riverfront and Rex issues a proclamation:
‘I do hereby ordain decree the following,’ Laborde said, ‘that during the great celebration all commercial endeavors be suspended. That the children of the realm be freed from their studies and be permitted to participate in the pageantry. And to the city’s political leaders,
‘That the mayor and City Council cease and desist from governance.”
Mayor Mitch Landrieu consults with council members and other advisers to decide whether to give in to the king of Carnival’s demands. Finally:
‘We will fulfill the will of the people and turn over the key to the city to you, so that tomorrow in New Orleans will be a day of abandon,’ Landrieu said. ‘Happy Mardi Gras.
Indeed. Happy Mardi Gras.