In January we took a 3-day weekend to use up some travel vouchers before they expired thanks to the selfish Chinese leader 🙁 However, we did have a great time. While we had been there before and checked out Jackson Square in the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, there was still something we hadn’t done on those previous trips, see a float parade during Mardi Gras. As it turned out, we were there during what would have been the beginning of Carnival and Mardi Gras, but again the parades and such were canceled by the aforementioned pathetic Chinese leader. While we were disappointed, we decided to finally check out Mardi Gras World! This is where all the floats are designed and created. We had a blast, and it was a great substitution.
One of the cool things about going to Mardi Gras World is that they have a free shuttle with several stops on Canal Street. We didn’t have a car as we were staying in the French Quarter and using public transportation. Thus we happily caught the shuttle and made our way to the museum. Once there we entered through the main area, which is also a little store, we paid our admission fee and got a piece of King Cake. Not sure if they do this all the time, or if it was because we were there during Mardi Gras. Either way, it was a great way to start our visit.
There is a 15-minute presentation video that they show you before you begin the tour, which at the time was self-guided. I am not sure if they use to have actual tour guides or not, and I forgot to ask. They probably do to help explain what is done in each section. The movie gave us some idea however the warehouse is over 300,000 square feet. That is huge. I am sure a docent, or such, would be able to give more detail. Hopefully they can bring them back soon if they did have them before. FYI, there were a few signs here and there though which also helped.
I was blown away by all the colors and shapes and sometimes messes, lol. It was like an organized mess, in a good way, lol. They also have an operating workshop that has created breathtaking floats for Mardi Gras and other parades around the world since 1947. Wow, that is a long time. Another thing I learned is that the artisans create floats for more than 40 parades each year. I thought I’d share that interesting bit of trivia.
I loved seeing all the characters we knew and trying to figure out the ones we didn’t know. It almost felt like a circus without all the noise and clowns popping out from every corner. It was very quiet the day we were there. I had to figure it wasn’t like that on a normal year, but then again maybe it was as they would have hopefully been done for the Mardi Gras season. Either way, our visit to Mardi Gras World was absolutely amazing.
Another thing I could stop thinking about was the last season of The Amazing Race Season 32. The last few contestants on the last season had to complete a challenge that was filmed at Mardi Gras World. That just made it cooler to see in person.
For a little bit of Mardis Gras World history, we have to look to the original creator Blaine Kern often referred to as “Mr. Mardi Gras. He was invited to design and build floats by the captain of a Mardi Gras Krewe, which led to more and more floats. Later Kern traveled all over Europe and learned from some of the world’s leading float and costume designers. He brought these ideas home to New Orleans, and the rest they say is history.
If you haven’t been, I hope you get to make it to see Mardi Gras World for yourself one day. It is very interesting and they state that they don’t waste and reuse as much as they can. With Mardi Gras less than 4 months away, they are busy getting ready for a wonderful celebration. Here is a link to their website with more information.
Laissez les bon temps rouler
Mardi Gras World Visitor Information
1380 Port of New Orleans Place New Orleans, LA 70130
Daily 9 am – 5:30 pm
The first tour starts at 9:30 and the last tour starts at 4:30
Adult Admission: $22.00
Children, Ages 2-12: $14.00
As stated earlier, Mardi Gras World offers a complimentary shuttle for people taking a tour. They have designated pick-ups downtown and in the French Quarter. Click on this link to see the shuttle pick-up locations for the Frech Quarter Shuttle Map stops and the Downtown Shuttle Map stops. The shuttle is very easy to spot because it is covered with photos of Mardi Gras World and has the logo on the side. They do not have prearranged pick-ups, just call when you are at one of the designated spots, and they will pick you up!
They are located at the foot of Henderson Street, in the Central Business District. It is on the south end of the Convention Center. .
1380 Port of New Orleans Place
New Orleans, LA 70130
Parking is available in Lot J in front of our building, for a $20 fee.
The streetcar is one of New Orleans’ oldest forms of transportation and is a great way to tour New Orleans when you’re done touring Mardi Gras World. Just hop on a streetcar for a small fee and ride it to the Canal Street Station. You can arrange for the shuttle to pick you up right there.
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4 thoughts on “Mardi Gras World, New Orleans – A Behind the Scenes Tour”
I was supposed to go to New Orleans in May, but the pandemic forced the meeting to August. I will check this palace out! Thanks for the intro!
Sorry Roy, This stupid Wuhan Virus changed/canceled lots of our plans too. 🙁 Hope you enjoy it in August.
What a great time I had on my virtual tour with you!
Thank you Martha. Look forward to Lia’s Friday post tomorrow 🙂