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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Visit to Mardi Gras World

With Mardi Gras in full swing and Fat Tuesday coming up next week, I though it'd be fun to give you a quick overview of my visit to Mardi Gras World in New Orleans. If a float is being made for one of the parades (did you know there is more than just the one big one?), then it's being made at MGW. Pretty cool, right?

preparing for mardi gras

All the sculptures and flowers and other items for floats are handmade by artists in the warehouse. Most things are made by sculpting foam layers to form 3D images, then they are sanded and painted before they are ever attached to anything. Most of the sculptures are not used again, so they get reused as something else or sculpted into something else later to use on a different float. 

Your visit to Mardi Gras, includes a short film to tell you about the different krewes that run each parade, the history of Mardi Gras and then a tasting of King Cake (the official Mardi Gras treat). Next you go into the different sections of the warehouse with your guide, who explains what is done where, answers your questions and then turns you loose to wander and take as many photos as you want. 

Did you know that krewe members have to pay a hefty fee to become a part of a krewe? 

Or that they have to supply their own beads and other throwaways? 

A parade may last for 6 or more hours, so you have to make sure you don't run out of beads and other throws. 

Alcohol is a given for krewe members, and floats are equipped with (apparently rudimentary) bathrooms. I didn't get to actually go on a float to see one, but I'm told they all have them, and they can get pretty gross. 

All krewe members must wear masks. I'm still not sure why this is, but they all match each other.

I also learned that each krewe runs their own parade and each has a theme every year. Once the current Mardi Gras is over, the folks at Mardi Gras World immediately start prepping and sculpting for the next year. Parades are big business. 

Want to visit Mardi Gras World on your next trip to New Orleans? A tour lasts about an hour, depending on how long you hang around to check out the stuff that you saw with your guide. Prices are less than $20 per adult, and are cheaper for children and seniors. Buy your tickets online before you go, or just show up and get in on the next available tour. The gift shop has a ton of stuff to enjoy while you wait for your tour to start.

Have you ever been to Mardi Gras?

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