Mardi Gras World – Uniquely New Orleans
Mardi Gras World – Uniquely New Orleans
We think of Mardi Gras as a uniquely New Orlean’s tradition. Mardi Gras makes us think of floats, grand costumes, and beads tossed into the crowds. We might think of it that way, but in fact, Mardi Gras has been celebrated all over the world for thousands of years. What IS unique about Mardi Gras in New Orleans is being able to watch the artists create the floats and props that go on them!
Some think of Mardi Gras parades as being far from a family friendly activity. As it turns out, naughty parades are the only ones that make the national news. There are 12 days of celebration and up to 55 parades – all but a very few are completely family friendly. Tune in to local New Orleans news channels for the family friendly versions. It is all surprisingly G and PG rated.
Mardi Gras World – Mr. Mardi Gras
Blaine Kern, an artist, has been making Mardi Gras magic since 1947! His first work was a mural in a hospital which led to his first float. The reception to that first float started the avalanche of offers for making floats which still continues. Now his business, Mardi Gras World, makes wonderful creations for Disney, Universal Studios, Harrah’s and other company. Walking around the warehouse is a fun ‘I Spy’ game to see what stands out to you!
Blaine Kern, now known as simply as Mr. Mardi Gras, helped take care of people in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He opened the warehouse, turned on generators, gave shelter and served meals to anyone who needed. The Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the 82nd airborne used this warehouse as a staging area to help serve 775,000 meals. Mr. Mardi Gras is more than just fun – he has a real passion about New Orleans.
Mardi Gras World – The Floats
Mardi Gras world is THE maker of floats. Each year they put together 500 new floats for Mardi Gras. The process begins each year the day after Mardi Gras ends.
They are excellent at recycling and often take pieces from one piece and use it on another year after year. The warehouse is FULL of creations from past floats.
Floats weigh up to 21 tons and can hold between 40-5o riders. Each float has a porta potty on board, too. Riders, who throw treats like beads and coins, are required by city ordinance to wear masks.
Mardi Gras World – More than just Mardi Gras
I loved this mock up of the Laocoon and Sons statue from Vatican City. Everything in the studio is HUGE!
Mardi Gras World – Working art studio
Take a rare opportunity to see artists in action! These artists create the props, the animals and creatures decorating floats, and you can see them in every step along the way.
It was fascinating to see the props and floats in different stages of completion. See some pieces carved out of styrofoam and others covered only in paper mache. Still more pieces were being painted. This is going to be a referee but at this stage his head looks a lot like Sponge Bob Squarepants to me!
Mardi Gras World – Find your favorites
Take your time wandering around. It was fun to see everything from the musical group KISS to Disney characters. It felt like a treasure hunt. It was SO much fun. I don’t know why this isn’t on the very top of any ‘What to see in New Orleans’ list!! Kids would LOVE it.
Mardi Gras World – The Tour
Your tour will include the warehouse and studio and a film. The short and very interesting film is included. Do not be tempted to skip it. The short film is a good brief history of all things Mardi Gras. Try on a costume and have a slice of King’s Cake.
Mardi Gras World – Visit information
Blaine Kern Studios is a fantastic workshop where everything is SO much larger than life! I had SOO much fun here and think everyone needs to visit! HUGE flowers, ants, people, footballs, cows…. too many wonderful things to mention!
Tours are available 7 days a week beginning at 9:30 and ending at 4:30.
Call for the FREE shuttle to come and get you from one of 20 downtown locations. I used the free shuttle and it was comfortable and easy.
Mardi Gras world an absolute MUST for New Orlean’s visit with KIDS!
If you love all things Mardi Gras read about the fun things you can see at the mardi gras exhibit in the New Orlean’s Presbytere. The costumes are such fun!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist