POSTED: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 3:00am
UPDATED: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 1:05pm
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WGNO-CNN) — Before and after Mardi Gras, Bill Hines is a lawyer, businessman, and civic leader; Nina Sloss is a college student studying international affairs.
But on Mardi Gras day, the crown will come out and the hat will go on for this year's royalty.
Nina's family history is full of Rex royalty, but she says she never gave much thought to being queen herself.
Now she knows just how to wave the royal scepter, since it is traditionally the Queen - and not Rex - who directs the carefully choreographed movements at the Rex ball.
"It's kinda funny how it's 2013 and we still have people pretending to queens for a day," Nina told WGNO News. "But that's what's so great about New Orleans. It's really routed in the traditions, and I think it should continue. It's a good way for debutants and other kids our age get to meet all the adults and really form relationships with people."
For years, Bill has tirelessly supported local charities and he helped New Orleans land the Hornets. Now, he has the keys to the city on Mardi Gras.
"I'm a native," Bill explains. "I went away for about eight years in the 70s and 80s and came back. Cutting through all the jokes, being King of Carnival is a serious position – it's an honor – but it's pure fun. It's as good as it gets."
One of the funny things about his majesty is that he knows he tends to talk a lot, so when the Rex leadership told him back in November that he would be king, they presented him with purple, green, and gold duct tape as a reminder to keep his mouth shut and keep the secret until the Saturday before Mardi Gras!