During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Carnival schedule had shrunk to only three parades staged on Mardi Gras Eve and on Fat Tuesday. To offer visitors more days to enjoy the pleasures of the season, a group of businessmen formed the Knights of Hermes in 1937, staging a parade that would bridge the weekend before the arrival of Rex. The founders chose Hermes, the Greek messenger of the gods, as their namesake. A golden statue of the sandaled, winged courier appears at the head of the procession. Hermes’ 1938 introduction of neon lighting as a means of float illumination was a first for Mardi Gras.