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Purple Knights News · Rex and St. Augustine High School: Celebrating 50 years


This Carnival the past will meet the present when members of the 1967 St. Augustine High School Marching 100 band will join the members of the Rex Organization highlighting the 50-year partnership between Rex and St. Augustine High School.

The Rex Calliope Float in this year’s Rex parade will include 20 members of the 1967 Marching 100, who 50 years ago, were in the first African-American group to participate in the Rex parade. The Calliope float will roll right in front of the Marching 100. The 1967 band members will throw 10,000 specially created commemorative cups marking the anniversary of this occasion.

On Tuesday, February 21, Rex representatives welcomed members of the 1967, Marching 100 to the Rex den to tour the facility and see the custom designed, commemorative cups that the band members will throw on Mardi Gras Day. Cleland Powell, a representative of the Libby Defour Fund, who assisted in the purchase of the cups, attended the event and extended his best wishes to the band members for a great ride on Mardi Gras Day.

“This is a very important milestone for St. Augustine, Rex and the City of New Orleans,” said Kenneth A. St. Charles, Ph.D., President and CEO of St. Augustine High School.  “As members of the band we were always taught that we could compete with anyone and the fact that the band was chosen to integrate the Rex parade validated that. And we always felt pride that we led the way for all the other bands,” St. Charles added.

“Mardi Gras is a tremendously unifying event and we don’t stop and think of all the ways we are brought together as a community but certainly this has been one enduring way we have all been brought together,” Christy Brown, Rex Organization Captain said.

For 50 years the St. Augustine High School Marching 100 has been on hand to celebrate Mardi Gras, pump up the crowd and to represent the school with pride and zeal all Carnival season long. The band has since performed for several U.S. presidents, for Pope John Paul II, the Rose Bowl and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parades, and for several Super Bowls.

See below to view a video of the event filmed and edited by St. Augustine Student Film Crew members Jalen Hinton, Tavis Smith, and Angelo Aubry.  

Click here to view more photos of the event.