In its own small way, tiny parade tit Rex changes Mardi Gras

Steve Walkup fixes the lights inside a 'tit Rex float at Bywater Bakery.
The parade rolls through the Bywater and Marigny neighborhoods Saturday

By Chris Bynum | Special to The Advocate FEB 15, 2017 – 2:00 PM

In the Carnival season of supersized floats, a trio of revelers gathers inside a Bywater corner store, closed for the evening, to build a float using tiny parts and big imaginations.

When their mission is complete, they will roll out their finished parade-ready project like a child pulling a little red wagon.

“I was charmed by this parade the first time I saw it from the sidelines,” said Karen Crain, now a team captain, in the Krewe of ‘tit Rex (pronounced “T” Rex).

The shoebox-sized floats of 'tit Rex — ‘tit is short for the French petit or petite — offer sharp contrast to Carnival's many grandiose events on wheels that require spectators stand on tiptoe, jump to catch throws in mid-air or climb ladders to get closer. At this lone micro-parade, you look down, not up. Crouching, kneeling or leaning over are required for viewing.

‘Tit Rex, now in its ninth year, limits floats to 28. The number of spectators may be growing, but the compact concept of the event is intact.

“We easily spend a good month to six weeks on the float and the throws. Each one of us contributes at least 60 hours. It can be very intense closer to parade,” said Crain, an art consultant who joined the krewe in 2010.

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