Day after day, year after year, the city of New Orleans treats us to so many cultural delights that we can’t help but take it for granted sometimes. The award-winning restaurants, the renowned museums, the vivacious live music scene – we experience these things with such regularity that it’s hard to fully appreciate the perks of living in the Crescent City.
Another experience we might take at face value is Mardi Gras: the biggest free show on earth. We look forward to the Carnival season each year, of course, but when is the last time you really admired and acknowledged the artistry that goes into each float? Mardi Gras is arguably our biggest symbol of hospitality in the city, and it touches so many aspects of tourism, from hotels to restaurants and more. Moreover, Mardi Gras is also an opportunity for local artists to show their skills on the big, beautiful floats we have come to know and love during Carnival.
Learn more about the true artists who create and care for our Mardi Gras floats each year below. New Orleans Will appreciate its local artists!
Blaine Kern Studios
New Orleans has a dedicated studio for creating the breathtaking parade floats you see during Mardi Gras. The artists who work at Blaine Kern Studios create detailed floats and props that extend beyond Carnival season, too – their work can be seen in parades all over the world, and the props they create can be seen in places like Atlanta, Times Square in New York City, and more. Did you know that the elephant fountain in Audubon Park, for example, was created right here by a local artist at Blaine Kern Studios?
Bringing Mardi Gras to Life
The artists who work on floats craft spectacular floats using humble materials like Styrofoam and papier mache. Without their creative vision, Mardi Gras would not be the festive, mesmerizing event we get to experience year after year. At Blaine Kern Studios, the artists work on floats for major krewes like Endymion and Orpheus, from painstaking details like painting to large-scale projects like 3-D modeling and sculpting. These artists work year round to make sure every single float is ready to roll by Carnival.
Own a Piece of Mardi Gras
Beyond artists affiliated with a larger studio, many artists independently contribute to carnival season through their sculptures, float-scale props, and other beautiful and colorful designs. One local shop, Miette, is celebrating the work of float artists and allowing the community to support them directly by purchasing props.
For the first time, Miette will be the dedicated retail outlet for float art pieces from long-time float artists like Thomas Randolph Morrison and Gabrielle Bruno (check out their work in this year’s Pygmalion parade). Whether you head to Miette (2038 Magazine St.) to buy a handmade float prop or maybe even just take a selfie, you can revel in the talent of our local artists.