The long-lost 1898 film Rex’s Parade is believed to be the earliest footage filmed in New Orleans | Mardi Gras

After ruling 124 years in the past as Rex, the King of Carnival, Charles A. Farwell rides once more—in a small a part of the film that was found in March in a Dutch museum.

This two-minute excerpt, believed to be the oldest movie footage present in New Orleans, might be proven Wednesday at 6 p.m. on the Presbytère overlooking Jackson Sq.. The presentation, which might be adopted by a dialogue, might be free and open to the general public.

Video of the 1898 parade reveals six floats, together with one carrying a reside bull. The theme of the present was “Harvest Queens”.

After Wednesday’s occasion, the movie might be integrated into the museum’s exhibit to rejoice the Rex’s one hundred and fiftieth birthday, which might be on show by means of December 11, and the movie might turn into a part of the everlasting Mardi Gras Presbytère exhibit, in line with Wayne Phillips, Louisiana. Curator of the State Museum of Carnival Collections. “It is extremely vital to step apart and never share it with our guests.”

Rumors unfold

The seek for this movie has been a long-standing obsession of Carnival insiders, spoiled by rumors of its existence for a few years. They have been annoyed till Mackenzie Roberts Beasley, an audiovisual researcher who is aware of the way to observe down even probably the most obscure movies, went on-line and located them on the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam.

Charles Farwell

Charles A. Farwell took over as Rex in 1898

The request to search out the movie got here from Will French, the Rex group’s historian and archivist, who occurs to be an previous good friend of Paisley’s. French, a company legal professional concerned in financing movie productions, stated he joined the search as a result of he wished to construct krewe’s video holdings.

For Farwell’s granddaughter, Lynn Farwell-White, the invention was private and exhilarating as a result of her grandfather died in 1917, 26 years earlier than she was born.

“I had the chance for the primary time in my life to see my grandfather alive and as an actual human being,” she stated in an e mail. “That is so particular!”


Rex took up the sword in 1898, and his granddaughter donated it to the krewe archive.

White donated a sword that was a part of Farwell’s Rex costume to the krewe archive.

Working class leisure

The movie was a venture of American Mutoscope Co. , which despatched crews in every single place to make movies. It was aimed on the working class, Beasley stated, as a result of the quick movies represented the sort of low-cost leisure they may afford.

Frank Armitage, one in every of America’s finest motoscope photographers, was despatched to New Orleans to {photograph} not solely the Rex Parade but additionally two Navy ships Rasta in port; Gallier Corridor, then New Orleans Metropolis Corridor; Steamboat loading crew. and a venture known as “The Highway to the South,” stated Ed Ball, a movie complement researcher based mostly in Gretna hollywoodonthebayou.com.

Paul stated that Armitage and his crew didn’t keep lengthy in New Orleans, as a result of they have been despatched to Cuba to doc the consequences of the sinking of the American plane provider Maine, which exploded within the port of Havana on February 15, 1898, every week. By late Tuesday. The sinking fueled anti-Spanish sentiment and was one of many elements that led to the USA declaring conflict on Spain, though the investigation confirmed that the explosion that sank the ship was the results of a hearth that lit the ammunition reasonably than Spanish sabotage.

This still image from the 1898 film Rex Ball shows the riders on a pine apple float..jpg

The theme for the 1898 Rex Parade was “Queen’s Harvest,” with floats representing bountiful shows of fruit and veggies. Within the 1898 present film, riders are seen on a pineapple floating.

To shoot the Mardi Gras clip, French stated, Armitage was in Gallier Corridor and was trying down Saint Charles Avenue towards Puedras Road. The end result, put collectively by the Dutch museum in pure, digital, and excessive definition copy, is wealthy intimately, stated French, who likened watching it to researching “100 Little Easter Eggs” as a result of every viewing reveals one thing new.

For instance, everybody stands alongside the parade route, and there’s no seen police presence to fend off crowds. Some knights dance on prime of their floats. There should not many costumed revelers, though one baby on the street is wearing a devilish costume.

don’t throw?

And no person throws something. “We predict Rex began throwing in 1920, on the premiere after World Conflict I,” Phillips stated. “We all know there have been occasional alternatives throughout rallies the place trinkets may be thrown from individual to individual, however it wasn’t one thing folks anticipated.”

Earlier than every buoy there was a silver bell-shaped banner bearing the theme of the buoy. This element was added as a result of the bid was 25 krewe. Though the Rex Group was based in 1872, political turmoil led to the cancellation of all 1875 reveals; Thus, the 1898 parade was the silver anniversary parade.

Then there may be that bull – Boeuf Gras, which represents the final meat eaten earlier than Lent. There is no such thing as a indication how onerous it was to place the animal over a buoy, or the way it managed to stay docile whereas driving.

Within the early years of the twentieth century, Phillips stated, reside bull was dropped from the present as a result of officers determined it was “now not tasty.” In 1959, Boeuf Gras returned in a papier-mâché model and has been a part of the Rex Parade ever since.

Discovering this video proves one factor, stated Dr. Stephen Hals, Rex historian and honorary archivist: “You’ll be able to’t hand over on discovering issues. It is good to know that these bits of proof of previous carnivals are proper there.”

Paisley stated the movie’s readability is “completely superb.” “It is a time capsule.”

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