Ever wonder what happens to all the floats and props that was used during Mardi Gras? Ever wonder how these floats and props are made? Mardi Gras would not be the Mardi Gras we know and see today without Blaine Kern and his descendants creating Mardi Gras World. For my trip to New Orleans, I’ve decided to make a quick stop at their warehouse.
This very unique attraction is located about a 10-minute drive from the French Quarter. Mardi Gras World is a gigantic warehouse where the best floats and props are created for Mardi Gras. It is the same warehouse where old floats and props are currently stored. The floats are often reused the following year, reconfigured and repainted with a different them and design. During the tour, the guide tells us that the majority of their props (these are the statues in the floats) are made with Styrofoam glued together and carved to its desired shape. Then the structure is covered with paper maché then primed and painted to its design.
Mardi Gras floats and props are not the only thing Mardi Gras World make. They make various props for companies such as those you see on the roofs of fast food restaurant chain and the local professional football team, The Saints. Since these is no intention of reusing them, these structure is made with fiber glass which is permanent and non-reusable.
During my visit to Mardi Gras World, I saw props from Dr. Suess books, superheroes, characters from film and television, even Winston Churchill with his signature cigar. There is also a giant replica of the Super Bowl trophy. We even got to see some of the artists work on some of the props.
If you would like to visit Mardi Gras World, tickets are available at the gift shop for $20 for adults. If you don’t have a car, you can request for a pick-up in one of the popular areas in the city such as Canal Street and the French Quarter. You must be ready for the pickup, no reservation is required but you need to call ahead. The shuttle is free. The tour itself is about one hour and it includes a short video of the history of the company and a sampling of the famous king cake.
Since I could not be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, I thought I’d visit the place where the floats and props for this grand party are made and I was not disappointed. I got more than I expected and it was a good way to spend time in the city famous for this particular festival.