Our next adventure was a tour of Mardi Gras World. It’s a great behind the scenes tour of all the hard work and preparation that goes into Mardi Gras. Blair Kern Studios has been building Mardi Gras floats since 1947. They actually build floats for Mardi Gras, other parades across the country, Universal Studios and Disney. They also do quite a bit of work for movie sets as well.
Mardi Gras World works with 16 out of 53 Krewes in New Orleans. The various Krewes are nonprofit organizations that have floats in various Mardi Gras Parades. The events and parades around Mardi Gras last a total of 12 days. In order to be in the Krewe, you must pay dues which ranges from $500 to $1500. These dues are used to pay for the expenses associated with the float. The floats even have restrooms. There is a fee for everything, building and decorating the float which costs thousands of dollars. Their inventory was so large they have 15 other warehouses throughout the city.
The tour included a display of Mardi Gras costumes, a free piece of king cake and a 15 minute historic video. They allowed us to try the costumes on and take pictures. The kids really enjoyed the experience. They announced that the costumes were cleaned daily for the folks worried about germs.
We actually walked through the warehouse while the artists were working. They usually begin their work with a paper pencil sketch which is enlarged on to large pieces of styrofoam. After they are finished sculpting the figure, they use paper mache. They also said there were at least 6 or 7 other businesses in New Orleans that do the exact same thing they do. It was very interesting. Mardi Gras is certainly big business in New Orleans.
These paper drawings eventually become the real deal. Amazing!
This figure above is made out of styrofoam. Yes, he is talking on the phone and working.
Over the next few days we ventured to the zoo and a few other places. We used multiple modes of transportation which included walking, the bus and the trolley. We certainly got our exercise in for sure. Walking with my husband is like run walking if that makes sense. The kids complained a little bit but they got over it. If we let them they would have been content to be on their phones, laptops or tablets all day. Not happening! We also walked through Tulane and Loyola Universities. The craftsman style homes and the neighborhoods were quaint.
Our last day was spent at the National World War II Museum. It was very busy. Trip Advisor rated the WWII museum as the number one tourist attraction in New Orleans. It was very interesting from someone who is not a history buff by no means. We learned alot about WWII and the role that women and African Americans played in the war considering the times. Our goal was to expose ourselves to something new and different. We have to learn about our past in order to understand the present as well as the future. Never stop learning.
We stayed at the Wyndham La Belle Maison Resort which provided a full kitchen and all the amenities.
We purchased groceries for the week including milk, cereal, lunch food, fruit, water and snacks. Our motto is fun over food when we travel. What that means is we choose to invest more of our funds in experiences and activities and not eating out. We like a good meal but it’s easier with kids to eat in and not out. We ate out often but saved by eating breakfast and lunch in our suite most days. I had to remind the kids that the activities were not free. Go figure!
These are just a few highlights of our trip. If you ever have the opportunity to visit New Orleans, I’m sure you’ll find fun and enjoyment that suits you. I hope you have a fabulous weekend.
Peace and Blessings,