Carnival Memphis


In 1931, the Mid-South was experiencing the Great Depression, like the rest of the country. In order for the region to prosper, it depended on Cotton. We needed something to increase the demand for that commodity.

Memphis Chamber of Commerce was finding it hard to compete with other cities in the South and needed to raise money. A. Arthur Halle and a group of businessmen asked Herbert Jennings for help. Mr. Jennings was the manager of Lowe’s Theatre, and he agreed to contribute and share an idea he believed would help promote business and draw attention to cotton. Jennings offered an opportunity to retailers to show off their cotton goods in his theater. Then he encouraged them to display their goods in their store windows. Halle was intrigued by the idea and wanted to take it on a grander scale. He called Everett Cook who was a friend of his to come to the theater to hear the ideas presented by Halle and Jennings. Those ideas quickly evolved into plans for a grand celebration involving a king, queen, and a royal court. By the wee hours of the morning, the men formed plans for the first carnival. The idea was a success and the demand for cotton increased.

The mission of Carnival is much the same today as it was 91 years ago: to recognize and promote an industry that has a major economic impact on the Mid-South community and to promote the City of Memphis as a great place to live and work, and to hold an annual celebration of an industry and its people. This mission is accomplished through the four C’s: Charity, Community, Commerce, and Celebration. Adding to the celebration are 10 Grand Krewes of Carnival, who have coronations and parties celebrating their King, Queen, and their Royal Court.

All of the Krewes Royalty along with Carnival participate in fundraising events to support our Children’s Charities. Krewes for Kids has been held annually since 2009 and is a fun and very successful event to this day.

Article courtesy of Carnival Memphis

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