What's the big deal about the miniature 'tit Rex Mardi Gras parade?

'tit Rex, New Orleans' tiniest Mardi Gras parade, which rolls on Saturday (Feb. 18) at 5 in the Marigny, is trouble. For openers, how are you supposed to start a sentence, or a whole story for that matter, with an apostrophe? That's just the beginning.

'tit Rex floats are modeled on the shoe box floats that New Orleans school kids used to make, and sometimes still do. 'tit Rex floats might be little and cute, but they have smart, adult, sometimes gnarly themes.

'tit Rex was founded by a bunch of artist-types in 2009, in part as a tongue-in-cheek taunt to the big, bland superkrewes that seemed to dominate Mardi Gras at the moment. Small was subversive.

'tit Rex was named for the meat-eating mega dinosaur Tyrannosaurus Rex, aka T Rex. In Cajun parlance, 'tit is short for petit, which means small. So 'tit Rex is like ... a darling little vicious apex predator.

'tit Rex remained basically below the radar, until ...

'tit Rex roared into the headlines in 2011, when the real Rex organization, the oldest and arguably most renowned Mardi Gras krewe of all, demonstrated a royal dearth of public relation savvy, when the management dispatched a lawyer to threaten poor little 'tit Rex for infringing on the mighty Rex's trade name.

'tit Rex avoided court by immediately turning their e upside down, which requires special keyboard shenanigans that some of us never mastered. Mighty Rex had won without a fight, but all the congratulations went to the little dinosaur. An upside-down e, by the way, is called a schwa.

Overnight, 'tit R(imagine a schwa)x became immeasurably cool. The ridiculously small procession is one of the exemplars of (what some of us call) the New Mardi Gras, a downtown DIY democratic groove where the krewe members and the crowd members are sometimes indistinguishable.

'tit Rex later had a territorial social media squabble with another New Mardi Gras upstart, the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus, which rolls in the same neighborhood on the same night at 7. But the rivalry seems to have simmered down of late.

'tit Rex captain Caesar Meadows said that the mini krewe's 2017 theme is "'tit Rex Takes a Nap," which is meant as a sarcastic echo of the dreamy, sometimes vapid themes of bigger parades. Meadows, an artist known for his mini comic books, had personally proposed the theme "'tit Rex Orders a Side Salad," but he was voted down.

'tit Rex's 33 floats will "definitely reflect the political climate of the times," Meadows said, finding no need to elaborate.