The Founders Ball III opened Rex: The 150th Anniversary of the School of Design, an exhibition of the Louisiana State Museum (LSM) and the office of Lt. Governor William H. “Billy” Nungesser, funded by the Louisiana Museum Foundation (LMF) through generous community support. The gala honored the Rex Organization for 150 years of Carnival leadership, as well as their commitment to New Orleans and the public good.
The Founders Ball III Honorary Co-Chairs, who are all former Kings of Carnival, were recognized. The Founders Ball III Co-Chairs were also recognized: Mr. Christian T. Brown, Mr. J. Storey Charbonnet, Mr. William H. Hines and Mr. R. Hunter Pierson Jr. The Founders Ball III Steering Committee were also recognized: Mr. Murray A. Calhoun, Mr. Benjamin A. Dupuy, Mr. T. Semmes Favrot and Mr. Philip N. Hodges.
Mark Romig served as Master of Ceremonies. Karl Hoefer, First Horizon Regional President for Louisiana and Texas, said a few words on behalf of title sponsor First Horizon. Mr. Erik F. Johnsen, the oldest living former Rex and Founders Ball III His Majesty’s Court Underwriting sponsor, also provided remarks. LMF President Melissa Douglass Steiner presented the Rex Organization with a proclamation from the LMF Board of Trustees, which James Reiss, a Rex Official, accepted on the organization’s behalf. Reiss then presented proclamations from the Rex Organization to the LSM, accepted by Lt. Governor Nungesser, the LMF, accepted by Executive Director Susan Maclay, and Wayne Phillips, LSM Exhibition Curator, accepted on his own behalf. Lt. Governor Nungessor provided closing remarks and presented the Rex Organization with his proclamation and a U.S. flag and Louisiana State flag that had flown over the Louisiana State Capitol.
Funds raised for the LMF covered the exhibition, conservation and acquisition of numerous rare Rex-related objects, educational programming and capital improvements. The exhibition was co-curated by Wayne Phillips, the LSM’s Textiles, Costumes and Carnival Collections Coordinator, and Dr. Stephen Hales, the historian and archivist of the Rex Organization.