Mardi Gras World

Get an inside view into preparations for one of the world’s most famous annual festivals.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a way of life, a time when this already energetic city lights up even further with daily parades and festivities. Most cities are content to throw celebrations that run for a few days, but in New Orleans the parade season begins in January and builds up steam until “Fat Tuesday,” the day before Ash Wednesday. At Mardi Gras World, however, the carnival season runs all year round.

Mardi Gras World is a large, warehouse-style building located on the banks of the Mississippi River. It forms part of the studios of Blaine Kern, a celebrated local artist with an internationally recognized flair for creating floats and props.

The working studio grew from humble beginnings. In the 1940s, a young Blaine Kern first publicly demonstrated his artistic skills by painting a mural on a hospital wall as partial payment for his ailing mother’s bills. Spotted by a float captain, he was asked to work on a design for the forthcoming parade. He was soon a hugely sought-after artist, and his visions brought floats to life on a scale never seen before. Today, his designs are no longer limited to carnival floats. His studio is also responsible for some of the props you see at Disneyland, Universal Studios and other major theme parks.

Wander through a fantasyland of floats and props that have made each carnival special. Join the one-hour studio tour which commences every half hour to see master float builders at work and get a behind-the-scenes peek into the technology which brings the floats to life. Tours are included in your admission price. Afterwards, soak up the views of the Mississippi River as it rolls past the Mardi Gras World Café.

Mardi Gras World houses one of the most dazzling “museum archives” in the world and gives visitors insight into this fascinating sub-culture. It's open seven days a week, except major public holidays and Mardi Gras. A free shuttle is provided with ticket purchase with pickups in 20 convenient locations.