Boston Club (New Orleans, La.) | Tulane University Special Collections
The Boston Club was founded 1841, and was named not for the city of Boston, but for a card game. Its members were leading business gentlemen of New Orleans. Its first quarters were on Royal Street, and moved several times to different locations in downtown New Orleans. During the Civil War, the club was closed, but it reopened in 1865. In the twentieth century, elegant annual dinners were held. As the population of the city increased, the membership went up. It gradually rose to 200, then 325, then 400. Membership limits kept increasing until 1970, when the limit stopped at 600.
The Boston Club is very closely associated with Mardi Gras. In 1872 New Orleans had its first King of Carnival. The first Rex was a Jewish banker and cotton factor named Lewis Salomon, a Confederate veteran of Shiloh and other battles and a member of the Boston Club. Ever since, with few exceptions, Rex has been chosen from the membership of this club.