Want to explore the behind-the-scenes magic of New Orleans’ most unique cultural and spiritual event of the year, the infamous Mardi Gras? Since 1947, Blaine Kern Studios has opened the doors of Mardi Gras World to locals and tourists alike to give them a peek inside all the craftsmanship, technology, and soul that goes into creating the ultimate Carnival experience.
Imagine walking within arm’s length of 20-foot papier-mâché sculptures of mythical beings like Zeus or Thor, or a giant jester with a hat and bells that feature nearly every vibrant color you can imagine? These magnificent works of art have donned the fronts and backs of parade floats for as long as any of us have been standing along St. Charles Ave or Canal St with our families and friends, waiting for them to pass.
Growing up in this city, since we were kids we had favorite parades, and even favorite floats and characters. Costumed riders returned our, “Throw me somethin’, Mister!” with handfuls of beads, doubloons, trinkets, stuffed animals, spears, frisbees, and more. But what’s lasted most in our memories aren’t the trinkets and plastic beads—it’s the picturesque, awe-inspiring, and sometimes even hilarious float designs that’s captured our hearts.
Mardi Gras World offers guided tours through these rows and rows of towering, fantastical float designs, sculptures, and costumes. You’ll even get to see the impressive technology that animates the very mega floats we ogle on the parade routes. Plus, bits of Carnival lore and the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans are weaved into the tour for a little lagniappe.
From concept to completion, Blaine Kern Studios does it all, to the delight of parade-goers around the world. You can see their marvelous work at Universal Studios Florida, Japan’s Toho Park, Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and in parades in many other international cities.
New Orleans’ Mardi Gras World is located off of Convention Center Blvd on the East Bank of the city. Their tours run seven days a week from 9:30am till 4:30pm, and they last about an hour. They even have a café with seating right on the Mississippi if you want to stay for lunch.
You can visit their website for more information about ticket prices and the free shuttle offered to visitors.