Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit New Orleans: Mardi Gras World




March 30, 2023

Visit New Orleans: Mardi Gras World

Disclosure: Our family's visit was hosted.

I admit that my perception of Mardi Gras was one of partying and beads, however, after visiting Mardi Gras World, I learned Mardi Gras is so much more - it's history, culture, and community.

The tour starts off with a quick 15-minute video detailing the history behind Mardi Gras, and how it evolved to what it is today, which is a multi-day celebration of tradition and giving.

Mardi Gras centers not only around parades, but also balls, carnival, lots of food and drink, masks (float riders don masks so you don't know who's throwing the gifts), and the standard colors of purple, green, and gold.

Each color represents something: purple = justice; green = faith; gold = power.  

We also learned all about Krewes, the social groups responsible for parades and floats, as well as throws, which is the general term for the free gifts thrown during the parade (most commonly - beads), and how Indian tribes participate in the parades with their elaborate costumes.

The video also went over the process the Kern Studios team goes through to create props, which include sketches and molds.  

Then we all indulged in a slice of King Cake.

We then proceeded on the tour, where a guide walks us by different stations, such as the painting, sculpting, and paper mache, in which the various props are worked on by Kern Studios employees.  

The props are owned by Kern Studios, and are made for Mardi Gras, as well as other parades and shows.

While some props are sculpted by hand, other props are sculpted by Pixie, a robot!

The props are indeed larger than life, with some several stories high!

There were so many recognizable personas and characters - from athletes to musicians to Disney characters.

The floats, which are organized and created by Krewes, do indeed come equipped with restrooms, since parades last for hours!

After the guided portion of the tour, you are free to roam the warehouse and take photos.  There are numerous fun photo ops!

My kids loved seeing so many familiar characters - Aladdin, the Cat in the Hat, Chucky, and even the Beatles!  It was fun to see how many props we could recognize.

The props are repurposed after each parade - a white coat of paint covers each prop so they can be reused for other parades (Kern Studios works on over 400 floats a year!). 

It was really neat to see the behind-the-scenes of what goes into making the props for the legendary Mardi Gras parade floats, and it was very interesting to learn about the history of this long-standing New Orleans tradition, that generates upwards of a billion dollars for the community.

Mardi Gras World
1380 Port of New Orleans Pl
New Orleans, LA 70130

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