Monday, February 15, 2021

Mardi Gras World


Since the first Mardi Gras in New Orleans in 1857, elaborate floats have paraded through the city of New Orleans on the Tuesday before Lent. It is one of the largest public carnival parties in the world. Thousands of people fill the streets to watch the parades of colorful floats and to catch plastic beads thrown into the crowds by the "Krewes" on the floats. Marching bands and dance teams come from all over to perform, and social clubs and groups of artists and organizers spend practically every month of the year preparing floats and celebrations. More about the history of Mardi Gras can be read on this link.  Sadly, Mardi Gras parades have been canceled this year due to the pandemic, but as a substitute, many homeowners have decorated their own home fronts and porches as if they were floats, with different themes.  To see a news video about the innovative way homeowners are doing this go to this link.  


 On our trip to New Orleans, last January, my husband and I took a tour of the Blaine Kerns Mardi Gras Worldwhich is a 300,000 square foot working warehouse located along the Mississippi River, next to the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. Kern Studios, the world leader in float creation, has been a part of Mardi Gras history since 1932. Now the family-owned and operated business designs and builds floats for festivals and celebrations all over the world.




Their warehouse is enormous! As a visitor, you get the opportunity to walk around the entire grounds and watch the artists at work.  They work all year to sculpt, paint and decorate over 500 floats for a normal Mardi Gras year.



Their sculpture medium is styrofoam, which is covered with paper mache, and then painted.  Styrofoam is used so that the giant figures made for the floats remain light in weight.  The detail achieved is amazing.




Inside this room is a giant piece of styrofoam which a robotic machine will sculpt, using a 3D pattern programed into the robot's computer.




The robot was nicknamed "Pixie" after a former long time employee.
 It is used to make extra large sculptures, 60 feet or longer, in a method called digital fabrication.




We were able to stroll up and down the warehouse aisles inside Mardi Gras World.




These are just some of the many float figures we saw....


...and more.


We learned that often the styrofoam sculptures are repurposed or repainted, or combined with another part or different head so that they could be re-used.




I believe this figure, that was once a sculpture of a person from the movie "The Matrix," was in the process of being repainted to be made into a cowboy figure.



We saw many heads and bodies being repurposed this way




Floats were also being constructed from wood...


...and then painted and decorated with 3D sculptures.



The floats are pulled by trucks in the parade...



...and riding on the floats are the krewes--who are comprised of local social clubs/organizations that fund a float each year.  Wearing costumes and masks, they wave to the crowds and throw beads and trinkets as the floats pass the crowds.  Multiple Mardi Gras parades take place for two weeks before Fat Tuesday.


Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a wonderful celebration and hopefully the parades will return next year!



If you'd like to a recipe for a Madri Gras specialty King Cake that I make -- click here.

If you'd like to see my recipe for a Gluten
 Free Seafood Gumbo cooked in a slow cooker-- click here.


PS:... some good news...

I had the first dose of the covid vaccine! When Colorado approved the next age group availability of 65 and over, I qualified, and I diligently searched online until I found a local grocery store pharmacy that had available appointments. I had no symptoms afterward except for a bit of tenderness at the injection site.  I was given an appointment to come back for my second dose in 28 days. I had the first dose on the same day my husband received his second dose.  He had no adverse symptoms either, except for some tenderness at the injection site.  We felt a lot of relief to get the vaccine, as we knew our age made us more vulnerable to more severe illness from the disease.  We'll still be wearing our masks and social distancing for awhile, until more people receive their vaccine, but it was a definite step forward for us towards getting back to normal!

You can also find me on

 I'm linking this post to some of the following blog events:

 Mosaic Monday, All SeasonsBlue Monday, Through My Lens MondayLittle Cottage Link PartyHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me MondayHome Matters Linky Party,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Travel TuesdayHappiness Is HomemadeOver the MoonCreate, Bake, Make Our World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesday Turn AboutTuesdays With A TwistLet's Keep In TouchWordless Wednesday on a Tuesday,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayNanahood WWOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Your Whims WednesdayWednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful Wednesday Little Things ThursdayThankful ThursdayThursday Encouraging Hearts and Home,  Thursday Thinking Out Loud, Friendship FridaysFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch FridayPink SaturdaySunday on Silverado

Bookmark and Share

40 comments:

Villrose said...

Carnaval and Mardi Gras are very fascinating traditions. Visiting New Orleans, i found the citizens very creative.

Joanne said...

Oh wow! What a neat place to tour. So much creativity and color.

Rain said...

Congratulations on getting your vaccination! AND...nice to hear you had no adverse reactions, I think this is my biggest fear Pat. Your post is so cheerful, Mardi Gras world looks like such a fabulous, fun and happy place to be!

Barbara Rogers said...

What a great place to tour...and see all the craftsmen and women working to design the next floats! Yes, I also hope there are parades next year. I had my first Moderna shot with only a sore muscle at the site, and am due for my next one in less than 2 weeks. Hope all goes well for you all.

John's Island said...

A very interesting post. Lots of stuff I did not know. Cool photos! Thanks so much for sharing! John in Seattle.

Lydia C. Lee said...

Great pics! Ours is soon. It's a little different to yours but still a big deal here.

Ruth Hiebert said...

It would be so interesting to walk through that building and see the process of making the floats. good to hear that you have not suffered adverse effects from the vaccine. I am waiting to get mine as soon as it becomes available .

William Kendall said...

Fascinating works on display!

Gillena Cox said...

Gorgeous mardi gras pics. Happy Monday
Ours was a virtual carnival season fir the most part. No crowd activities


Much💗love

Jeanie said...

LOVE these photos! The tour of that warehouse would be fascinating -- and so impressive and remarkable to see these big things up close like that and the how to and all!

Good news on your vaccine. I hope I'm so lucky!

lesh Stgermain said...

Wow, 500 floats? That is bigger than the Rose parade for the New year, and they already started making the floats in Sept. so maybe they start with these figures a year in advance? That would not surprise me. Happy you could take the vaccine, because I know that is important to you.
Many thanka for sharing the details of making the floats with All Seasons!And thank you for the link for the gumbo. It's years ago that I made it, so I'm off to look at the recipe:) Have a lovely week, Jesh

Angie said...

Pat - I had no idea there was a "business" that exists solely to make Mardi Gras floats! Seems it would be a wonderful place to work. Isn't it fascinating how an opportunity like this - to manufacture such magical floats - has spawned the necessity for a specialty robot and many other innovations? I love it! This is exactly the kind of "behind-the-scenes" place I like to visit. One of the events/venues on my bucket list is the Rose Parade and the places they build those floats! Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday with these spectacular photos. (And I am glad you are getting vaccinated with little to no side effects!)

handmade by amalia said...

So much fun! It looks almost foreign to me now, celebrating in the streets, we've been through so much.
Amalia
xo

Lady Fi said...

Wow - amazing creations!

I can't wait to get the vaccine but it may be a while.

stevebethere said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your pics so colourful too what fun heheh!

Have a madi-grastastic safe week 😷😷😷

Jackie McGuinness said...

I can't wait until we get our vaccines.
I love NOLA but could never do the crowds at Mardi Gras. Have been there for their Easter parade and that was fun. Lots of Easter bonnets.
The warehouse would be fascinating to visit.

Lisa notes... said...

I've never been to Mardi Gras. It looks like such a feast for the eyes! Glad you got your vaccine. I'm still waiting my turn; not sure when it will be.

Sharon Wagner said...

Great behind-the-scenes photos. I've been seeing the yardy gras images on T.V. and wishing I was there to do a drive by. Happy Fat Tuesday!

NCSue said...

Mardi Gras will be a muted celebration this year!
Thank you for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2021/02/cedar-creek-galleries-not-your-average.html

Duwan @MakeLikeAnApeman said...

I love this. I'm in New Orleans all the time to visit my niece but she has never suggested visiting this place. Next time we will have to go. I've never thought too much about how these elaborate floats were created but I'd love to see the process. I know people are very disappointed in the cancelation of Mardi Gras this year - at least my niece is. Thanks for a virtual taste of the day.

kwarkito said...

so many beautiful mardi picures. An excellent Report ! thank you for the explanations

Lillian www.sognafaret.no said...

Celebrating is always fun

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

So glad for you both! ..... Happy Fat Tuesday today . What a great day to read your post. Yes, that warehouse studio is an amazing and truly unique place! I had a comment from a lady in Shreveport last week who said this year they are calling it Yardi Gras as they are decorating their homes instead. But today she commented that they have several inches of snow and ice! that’s probably true in New Orleans as well,so it was really not a good year to celebrate. Next year, everything will be better. I hope.

Rambling Woods said...

I enjoyed this colorful post...Michelle

diane b said...

That was an amazing place to visit. I remember seeing the trees in New Orleans dripping with colourful beads.Ithink we were there just after Mardi Gras in 2014.

eileeninmd said...

Hello,

What a neat tour, the floats are so colorful. I have never been to New Orleans and the Mardi Gras looks like a fun time. I am sorry they can not celebrate this year due to Covid. We are still waiting on the vaccine here, we need more doses. Take care, enjoy your day!

Jim said...

Very colourful.

bookworm said...

What amazing artwork goes into these floats. I was watching the news reports of houses turned into "house floats" and giving employment to artists who otherwise would have been without work due to the cancellation of the festivities. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

bookworm said...

What amazing artwork goes into these floats. I was watching the news reports of houses turned into "house floats" and giving employment to artists who otherwise would have been without work due to the cancellation of the festivities. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

Spare Parts and Pics said...

What an amazing tour! Congratulation on your vaccines, and glad you had no side effects. My wife and I are scheduled for ours in about 12 days. I know it will be a relief to finally get the vaccine.

R's Rue said...

Amazing.

betty-NZ said...

What an awesome look at the fabulous floats.

It's great to see your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

Light and Voices said...

Wow! It was like looking at the parade up close and personal. How cool? I copied your slow cooker chicken gumbo recipe. Looks delicious! Thank you.

MarilynsTreats said...

S many exciting pi tures!! Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

Michelle said...

The amount of time, talent, and detail put into these floats is amazing. I love NOLA and have visited several times, but never during Mardi Gras. Don't know that I have the patience for the crowds! lol Thanks for linking up.

VENTANA DE FOTO said...

Me encantan las carrrozas y sus desfiles de vistosos colores.

Jeanne said...

I always enjoy your blog :)

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Thanks for taking us behind the scenes for Mardi Gras!

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

I wish I had the chance to visit Mardi Gras World when my husband and I visited New Orleans several years ago. Thank you for adding your tour to my Friday Favorites Linky Party. It is my featured pick of the week!

Lowcarb team member said...

So nice to see these Mardi Gras pictures, so colourful.

Good news on your vaccine :)

All the best Jan