Knights of Revelry 

The Knights of Revelry organized in 1874 and became the first major mystic parading association to parade during the day on Mardi Gras. Joe Cain's Lost Cause Minstrels had already paraded on Mardi Gras afternoon but they were a small band of comedians with  two simple flatbed wagons. After the Lost Cause Minstrels first appeared in 1868, many other small groups appeared on the streets to entertain the crowds during the day. But the major organizations were much different. They presented dramtic illumination, elaborate costumes and float designs that followed a unified theme and, of course, they were mysterious. Participants were not only masked but their identities were very carefully hidden. Rules that governed the associations forbade any member from showing his face while in costume and these laws were kept very strictly, as they still are today, secrecy being perhaps the most important directive of membership. 

The Knights of Revelry differed from all earlier mystic associations not only in the time of day but in the spirit of their presentation as well. The O.O.M, H.S.S. and I.M. parades that had already been successful at night on Mardi Gras, in addition to the Cowbellion, Strikers and T.D.S, which were still very popular on New Year's Eve, each presented annual themes that were historical and literary as well as purposefully esoteric, intended to alienate the common person. K.O.R. themes on the other hand, were geared toward the children and could be appreciated by the masses. For example, on February 19, 1896, the New Orleans Times Democrat reported, "The subject which they illustrated was one which could be and was appreciated by the large crowd, who waved a welcom to the mystic characters on the floats as they passed. The subject for this year was 'Flowers, Fruits and Vegetables.'" For this reason the K.O.R. quickly became the most popular of the mystic parading associations in the late nineteenth century. 

The [parade] given yesterday added to the well earned reputation of the organization. Wisely eschewing the abstruse and historical, not altogether suited to a day parade, it turned its attention to the familiar and gave us a representation of some of the most charming legends of childhood. 

Mobile Register, February 11, 1881
The ball of the Knights of Revelry was held tonight in the Princess Theatre, which was transformed to represent a castle and courtyard of medieval times. 

At 9:00 the knights dressed as crusaders entered on horseback through the Main street entrance, rode across the floor of the drawbridge, which was let down for them to cross, and disappeared within the castle. The effect was fine and represented the return of the crusaders -- a continuation of their Mardi Gras theme. The theatre was crowded to its utmost capacity with the elite of the city. 

Times Picayune, April 3, 1888

The Knights of Revelry made a beautiful parade. "Man and Material" was illustrated on Seventeen handsome floats, seeming to move by themselves, no horses being seen in the parade. 

New York Herald, February 18, 1885

Afternoon Events on Mardi Gras, 1905

At 1:00 this evening the Knights of Revelry entertained the thousands gathered in the Imperial City, with a magnificent parade.... Emperor Felix, on his gorgeous throne float with his escort of mounted knights, Tuscahoma Tribe of Red Men, the Drill Team of the Woodmen of the World, the Imperial and other bands and members of the city government and carnival association appeared with the "K.O.R." 

The line of march was as follows: 
Appear at the corner of Water and St. Michael Street,
St. Michael to St. Joseph 
St. Joseph to Dauphin St. 
Dauphin to Conception
Conception to St. Francis
St. Francis to Royal, Royal to Government
Government to Broad

Government to Jackson
Jackson to Dauphin
Dauphin to Royal
Royal to Government
Duncan Place to Water
Water to St. Michael to disband. 

When the K.O.R. concluded their parade they proceeded to German Relief Hall where they held a reception which was attended by an immense crowd. It was a brilliant success. When the reception concluded the members repaired to Elks' Home when they were especial guests of Mobile Lodge No. 108 B.P.O.E. 

At Elk's Home
Here was another brillian scene. The magnificent building was brilliantly illuminated and the Reception and Floor Committees were on hand early to receive their guests. It is roughly estimated that 1,000 people were guests during the evening of these -- the Best People On Earth. As with all of their funcitons this was a decided success and Knights of Revelry and other furtunate persons so declared as they bade the Elks good night when the Holy Easter had arrived. 

Montgomery Advertiser, February 17, 1905
It was the most successful carnival in the history of Mobile and the parade of the far-famed Knights of Revelry today was a marvel of beauty, both in artistic and mechanical skill. 

Montgomery Advertiser, February 28, 1906