The former 'tit Rex and Chewbacchus arty Mardi Gras parades, Sat. in New Orleans

'tit Rex parade
CHRIS GRANGER/THE TIMES-PICAYUNE It took some kneeling and lots of looking down as the float entitled, "Tutu Pequeno Tutu Tarade" being pulled by Michael Cerveris, top left, goes up Poland Avenue in New Orleans for the 'tit Rex parade on Saturday, February 26, 2011. (Photo by CHRIS GRANGER/ | THE TIMES-PICAYUNE)

My number one, not-to-miss 2013 Carnival occurrence will take place Saturday (Jan. 26) in the Bywater and Marigny neighborhoods, as two of the Crescent City’s premier post-Katrina do-it-yourself parades, the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus and the mini-marching parade formerly known as ‘tit Rex (a shortened form of Petit Rex, inspired by the venerable Rex parade and pronounced like the dinosaur), will roll through the narrow streets. The Chewbacchus parade is devoted to Star Wars, Star Trek and all things science fictiony. The parade formerly known as ‘tit Rex (more on that in paragraph three) is a Lilliputian version of a Carnival procession, with shoe box- sized floats towed by formally attired marchers.

Neither Chewbacchus nor the parade formerly known as ‘tit Rex are as huge or splendid as most Carnival parades. But the expressive homemade floats and individualistic costumes in both parades make them much more amusing than most major Carnival krewes – to an art critic anyway. To me, they will always represent the bottom-up, come back spirit that is the silver lining of New Orleans’ 2005-to-present recovery era.


Mardi Gras parade formerly known as tit Rex rolled Saturday Pay a video visit to the Carnival parade formerly known as tit Rex that drew relatively large crowds in the Bywater and Marigny neighborhoods Saturday, February 13, 2012, despite a cold wind.
The tongue-in-cheek five-year-old micro marching group mentioned above was a modest affair that passed below most people’s radars until 2011 when it was towed onto the front page of the newspaper because representatives of the Rex parade, which has ruled the streets on Mardi Gras since 1872, took exception with the mini-krewe’s appropriation of their name. To head off possible legal action, the directors of ‘tit Rex decided to alter their title with the addition of a pronunciation symbol known as a schwa -- an upside-down e.

“We have not heard a single word from them since we added the schwa,” said ‘tit R(upside-down e)x captain Jeremy Yuslum.

The ‘tit R-schwa-x parade kicks off at five on St. Roch Avenue near St. Claude Avenue. The assembly of toy-encrusted hand-made floats will follow their masters like puppies on leashes through on an angular U-shaped path between St. Claude Avenue and the riverfront, before concluding at the AllWays Lounge 2240 St. Claude Ave. for the annual “Gallier Small” presentation in which a master of ceremonies will describe the small satiric floats to a wondering public. This year’s theme is “Bare Minimum” so the possibilities are endless. Afterwards, krewe members celebrate in the AllWays Lounge at their annual Ping Pong Ball.

2013 tREX mapX.jpeg The 2013 route of the parade formerly known as 'tit Rex.  

At about that time the ‘tit Rex festivities are splashing down, the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus will be leaving the launching pad near the corner of Chartres and St. Ferdinand Streets on it’s rectilinear route at 8. With planning it should be easy enough to catch both mostly un-motorized processions. Emissaries from Chewbacchus are expected to visit the ‘tit R(upside-down e)x ball in order to invite the micro krewe members to join in a toast.


First Chewbacchus Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans New Orleans' first Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus Mardi Gras parade rolled March 6, 2011. Watch as the science-fiction-inspired walking parade with hand-towed and bicycle-powered floats launches on Clio Street. To read about the origins of the new “BacchanALIEN” carnival club search for a March 6, 2011 story titled "Chewbacchus science-fiction Mardi Gras parade rolls today" by Doug MacCash.
“If the big guys can do this sort of thing,” Chewbacchus co-founder Ryan Ballard said, referring to the old-line uptown parades that engage in ceremonial public toasts, “… it makes sense for the funky little parades to do it.”

Yuslum points out that he has never viewed ‘tit R(upside-down e) as a subversive, anti-Mardi Gras organization. In fact, he sees it as a way to reciprocate for the fun he’s gleaned from Carnivals past.

“I enjoy the super krewes;” said Yuslum, “’tit R(upside-down e) is not diametrically opposed. We’re not trying to set the world on fire. We want to give back.”

Speaking of setting the world on fire … one of the most memorable ‘tit R(upside-down e)x moments was in 2011, when one of the tiny floats that was lighted with several votive candles burst into flame near the beginning of the route.

Twenty-thirteen is the first year Chewbacchus has paraded in the downtown neighborhoods. Krewe co-founder Ryan Ballard said that the Chewbacchians made the move, in part, because their warehouse den is in the neighborhood.

Besides the relocation from Central City to the Marigny/Bywater area, Chewbacchus’s big news this year is that Peter Mayhew, the actor who played the krewe’s namesake Chewbacca in the Star Wars movie series, is expected to ride in a Millennium Falcon Float made from a motorized airport runway service vehicle. Ballard said that in the three-year history of the 550-member intergalactic krewe, they have never rolled on the same date or along the same route – and don’t intend to.

“We change the date and route every year. We’ll probably continue to change. I’m not a big fan of being stuck in any sort of tradition.”

The approximately 75-member ‘tit R(upside-down e)x krewe has also changed routes each season, though it has remained in the same neighborhood.

The Chewbacchus parade features a homemade R2-D2 robot float that serves as a rolling beer cooler. The krewe has produced a mini R2-D2 in smallish solidarity with ‘tit R(upside-down e)x.