News Archive

New Rex History Book Published

November 30th, 2010

Since its founding in 1872, the School of Design has added chapter after colorful chapter to the history of Carnival in New Orleans. This is a story best told in pictures, and a new book, Rex: An Illustrated History of the School of Design, does just that, and for a wonderful cause. All proceeds after publication costs go directly to the Pro Bono Publico Foundation.

Assembled by Rex archivist, Stephen Hales, this book is filled with more than 260 beautiful images telling the story of Rex, the King of Carnival, from his appearance on horseback in the first Rex Procession through the 2010 Parade and Ball. Museums and private collectors have allowed use of images never before published, documenting not only the history of the Rex Organization but also tracing the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Photographs of modern Rex Parades and Balls show that the School of Design continues to build on its oldest traditions of beauty and spectacle.

Among the 12 chapter subjects are The Grand Ball, The Rex Procession, Rex and the Military, The Rex Den, and Rex: Symbols and a Song. The book’s final chapter, Pro Bono Publico, documents the new dimensions given to the Rex motto in the five years since Hurricane Katrina.

Priced at $35, Rex: An Illustrated History of the School of Design will be available for sale in area bookstores on November 15, in time for individual and corporate holiday giving. It is also available for online purchase through Publisher Arthur Hardy’s website,

Times-Picayune Review

Pro Bono Publico Foundation Announces 2009 Grants

January 18th, 2010

The Pro Bono Publico Foundation has awarded nearly $220,000 in grants to schools and to organizations helping schools succeed in their educational missions.  This is the third cycle of grants made by the Foundation, which was organized by members of the Rex Organization to help support initiatives vital to the recovery of the city following post-Katrina flooding.  The Foundation takes its name from the Rex motto, “Pro Bono Publico,” which means “for the public good.”

Rex members directly contribute most of the funds committed through PBPF grants, and their donations allowed this year’s grant total to grow by $65,000, a 40% increase over last year’s total of $154,000. Grants have focused on schools and organizations supporting the vital mission of educating New Orleans’ children.

Pro Bono Foundation leaders said their on-going support for public education in New Orleans is based on their belief that no part of the city’s recovery has offered more hope, as well as evidence of solid progress, than the reform of our failed system of public schools. New Orleans has become a model of educational reform, and children now have access to a network of successful and accountable schools, predominantly charter schools, which now serve over 60% of our students.

The drive for system-wide school reform in New Orleans has attracted not only strong and enthusiastic local support but also generous national assistance.  Organizations such as Teach for America and KIPP have joined local organizations such as New Schools for New Orleans and New Orleans Outreach to assure that the process of renewal and reform succeeds.  Rex members have helped lead and support many of these organizations and schools, and many have received grants from the Pro Bono Publico Foundation.

This year’s grant recipients (* indicates first-time grant recipients):

Charter Schools:

  • New Orleans Charter College Prep
  • Warren Easton Charter High School
  • KIPP New Orleans Schools (operating five charter schools)
  • First Line Schools* (operating two charter schools)
  • McDonogh City Park Academy*
  • Crocker Arts and Technology Charter School*
  • Miller-McCoy Charter Middle and High School*

Other Schools:

  • The Good Shepherd School
  • Cathedral Academy
  • New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA)
  • Xavier University Preparatory School*

Supporting Organizations:

  • Teach for America
  • New Schools for New Orleans
  • Center for Development and Learning
  • New Orleans Outreach
  • Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Communities in Schools*

    Rex Welcomes Teach For America

    November 3rd, 2009

    Long before Mardi Gras, and for the first time in memory, the Rex Den opened for a very special group of guests. On a crisp, bright Halloween afternoon the Den swarmed with young teachers enjoying hot dogs, king cake, and tours of the Rex Den filled with nearly completed floats.

    Rex volunteers greeted nearly 200 Teach for America Corps Members and led tours of the den, answering questions about the Rex Organization and explaining how floats are created. Visits to the Lieutenants’ and King’s rooms provided opportunities for these young educators to view displays of Rex history and to learn about the origins of Carnival in New Orleans.

    Teach for America Corps Members are graduates of colleges and universities across the country, and have committed to serve at least two years teaching in some of our most challenging schools, not only in New Orleans but also in neighboring parishes. TFA’s presence in the Greater New Orleans area represents one of the organization’s most substantial national commitments. By next year nearly 500 TFA teachers will be part of the ongoing transformation of public education in the New Orleans region.

    These young and energetic teachers have proven very effective in improving the performance of students in their classrooms. Many of them will continue to teach and lead schools well beyond their initial two-year commitment, and many will stay in the communities they have come to serve.

    TFA’s visit to the Rex Den was intended both to thank these highly motivated young educators and to extend to them a special welcome to our community. For many of them this was a first exposure to Carnival—they began their work in New Orleans only this Fall. Next February many will witness their first Mardi Gras parade, so this was a nice preview.

    Rex’s President and Captain each welcomed the TFA visitors, and thanked them for the important work they are doing. Pro Bono Publico Foundation Chairman Christian Brown presented a check for $15,000 to TFA leaders, the second such grant awarded by the Foundation. He also announced that individual Rex members had made additional pledges, significantly increasing Rex support for Teach for America.

    The Pro Bono Publico Foundation has focused its grants on education, especially on charter schools and supporting organizations working to assure that every child has access to an excellent school. Teach for America, its leadership, and its dedicated Corps Members are a key part of the progress we are making to achieve that goal. Rex applauds their work!