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Ball Traditions and Protocol

Photo Credit: School of Design

Ball Traditions and Protocol

Since the first Rex Ball was held in 1873 it has evolved into a unique spectacle—part “Imperial Reception," as it was called in the early years, and part formal ball. This area of the Rex website offers a detailed description of the ball and will also help members and invited guests understand what is expected of those who attend this glittering conclusion to the Carnival season.

Photo Credit: Kathy Anderson Photography

Honoring Tradition

Over almost a century and a half the Rex Ball has developed elegant traditions and a formal protocol. Unlike many Carnival balls, the Rex Ball is not a masked ball, but members and guests attend in full formal dress. In this image guests applaud Rex 2014, Jack Laborde, and the Queen of Carnival, Carroll Irene Gelderman, as they enter the ballroom.

Photo Credit: School of Design

Invitations

Attendance at the Rex Ball is by invitation only. Each year a new Rex Ball invitation is designed featuring elements of the parade theme. These highly coveted invitations are requested by Rex members to send to their guests. Included with the invitation is one admit card for each person invited, which must be presented at the door of the Ball only by the person whose name it bears.

Photo Credit: Kathy Anderson Photography

Attire

Members and guests attending the Rex Ball only wear <i>costume de rigeur</i>, which means floor-length dresses for ladies and white tie and black tails for men. An exception is made for members of the military, who are encouraged to wear the highest class uniform owned by them. The color gold is by tradition reserved exclusively for the King and Queen of Carnival.

Photo Credit: Kathy Anderson Photography

Seating at the Ball

The front rows of seating at the Ball are reserved. Seats in the unreserved sections should first be made available to ladies and to gentlemen who are infirm. Ladies who are seated on the front two rows of reserved seats traditionally wear white gloves of a length appropriate to their dress sleeves.

Photo Credit: School of Design

Ducal Medal

The Rex ducal decoration and its tri-colored ribbon are worn only by Rex members, dignitaries honored by the King of Carnival, and Dukes of the Realm in the Rex Court.

Photo Credit: School of Design

Photography

The use of regular or cell phone cameras in the Ballroom is strictly prohibited. Rex’s professional photographers are on hand to take pictures; those pictures are available after Carnival through the photographer’s website.

Photo Credit: Kathy Anderson Photography

Dais and Throne Area

Guests are invited to greet the King and Queen of Carnival and their Court from the ballroom floor. It is never appropriate for members or guests to go onto the throne area or dais.

Photo Credit: Mike Posey Photography

Ball Program

The Rex Ball begins promptly at 8PM on Mardi Gras night. The Marine Corps Band New Orleans performs a brief musical program, followed by the arrival of Rex and His Court. Guests are encouraged to arrive on time as the ballroom doors are closed while the Marine Corps Band New Orleans performs.

Photo Credit: Kathy Anderson Photography

Presentations

Once the King and Queen of Carnival and the Court are seated, special guests are honored and presented with the Rex decoration. A number of the season’s Debutantes are presented to Rex and the Queen of Carnival, and the Fifty-Year Queen is recognized.

Photo Credit: Kathy Anderson Photography

Honoring the Military

Affirming the Rex Organization's gratitude to our service members and veterans, the Marine Band New Orleans performs the service hymn of each military branch. Active duty and veteran service members and their families are asked to stand and be recognized as their service hymn is played.

Photo Credit: Mike Posey Photography

Grand March and Members Dance

The Grand March and the ball’s first dance are reserved for Rex members. Guests are invited to join in the general dancing that follows.

Photo Credit: Mike Posey Photography

Message from Comus

By tradition, the dance floor is cleared at 9:40 PM as the Captain of Comus arrives to invite Rex and his Court to visit the Comus Ball and participate in the Meeting of the Courts.

Photo Credit: Mike Posey Photography

Rex and His Court Depart

After a final procession, Rex, His Queen and Court bid the audience farewell and leave the ballroom. General dancing continues until 10:30 PM.