Walking into Mardi Gras World you might hear children laughing and clapping especially when they find out they will be getting King Cake as part of their tour. It is a magical place filled to the rafters with larger than life characters. You’ll see King Kong standing right beside Winston Churchill or Cleopatra.
For over 70 years, the craftsmen and artists have been building signature parade floats for the local Mardi Gras Krewes. A Krewe is a like a club. Each Krewe has a King and a Queen who rein over their Krewe for a year. Some Krewes have gorgeous and elaborate balls with big name entertainment. The Krewe members pay fees and these fees fund the costumes and floats that you see during Carnival season. Mardi Gras is an actual day and the whole season is referred to as Carnival. Most of the time locals just say “ Happy Mardi Gras”.
When you take the Mardi Gras World tour you’ll learn about the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans and then you get a chance to walk through the float den, where the artists make the actual floats.
It all started with Roy Kern, a local artist-turned-sign-painter who worked his way through the Depression. Roy painted names and signs on the bows of freighters and barges.
Unable to pay his mother’s medical bills. Roy’s son, Blaine offered to paint a mural in the hospital for payment,
The mural caught the eye of a surgeon. The surgeon was the captain of a Mardi Gras Krewe. Blaine was invited to design and build floats for his Krewe, and Kern Studios was officially founded.
Through the years, Kern Studio received numerous requests to get a behind the scene look at upcoming floats for Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras World opened in 1984 to provide a fun first glance of the upcoming parade floats. Each year about 150,000 people come to experience Mardi Gras World from school buses filled with children all the way to Seniors.
It is a good idea to call ahead for your tour and you can get more details at mardigrasworld.com or call 1-800-555-5555.