NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 9:   Rex, King of Carnival, Michael W. Kearney, toasts his queen  during Mardi Gras day on February 9, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras in French, is a celebration traditionally held before the observance of Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Christian Lenten season. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Here’s where Rex, Zulu parades stop, and why

Ever sit on the parade route on Mardi Gras Day and wonder what’s taking the parade so long?

by Mary Staes | February 21, 2019

Ever sit on the parade route on Mardi Gras Day and wonder what’s taking the parade so long?

Chances are, the parade you’re waiting for is taking a stop somewhere. The biggest parades on Mardi Gras Day stop at multiple locations for toasts that pay homage to the krewe’s history.

Krewe of Rex

Montgomery-Grace House
The Rex toast at this home pays respect to former monarchs of the organization. Multiple generations of the same family have lived in the home, and in 1907, owner Robert Downman reigned as Rex. At least five of its residents have reigned as the King of Carnival.

According to Heather Green with the Historic Collection of New Orleans, the parade would stop along St. Charles at the homes of former kings and queens to toast them. However, in a 2001 book by author Kerri McCafferty, the mansion is said to be the only remaining home of a former Rex on the parade route. Houses of former royalty are identified by a specific flag.

The mansion was the site of a seven-alarm fire early Wednesday morning, but Rex officials said despite that home’s condition, the parade will continue to stop there and toast.

MORE: Historic St. Charles Avenue mansion, Carnival icon, lost in blaze

Hotel Intercontinental
Here, Rex greets the Queen of Carnival and the court. The official toast used to happen at the Boston Club on Canal Street but was moved in 1991.

UNITED STATES – JULY 01: Mardi Gras Carnival At New Orleans In Louisiana On July 1940 (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)


Dooky Chase Restaurant
Every year, Zulu follows a different route than most parades, veering off in the predominantly African-American neighborhood of Treme and disbanding near the Zulu Club’s headquarters. Louis Armstrong was the first Zulu king to stop in front of the restaurant during the parade in 1949 to toast the Chase Family, and the tradition remains to this day.

Both Krewes

Gallier Hall

February 21, 2012, Mardi Gras Day New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his wife toast the King of Rex from stands in front of Gallier Hall on St.Charles Ave. (Photo by Julie Dermansky/Corbis via Getty Images)

This historic building once served as City Hall and is where the viewing stand is located for city officials, including the mayor. Here both krewes toast the mayor, with the Krewe of Zulu going first, followed by Rex.

Mary Staes

Mary Staes

Mary Staes is Digital Content Lead for Very Local. She works with our freelancers and crafts content for our social media platforms and website. Before Very Local, she worked with CBS affiliate WWL-TV as a web producer and weekend assignment editor for about 4 years. She has also handled broadcast coverage for 160 Marine Reserve training facilities while she served as an active duty Marine. As a native New Orleanian, she takes being "very local" to heart. She loves being intertwined with the culture and figuring out how there are less than two degrees of separation between us all, whether we're natives or not.

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