Where in the USA is the CoCo Locomoto? travel blog

Props for Mardi Gras Floats


Carving one of the props





A signature float

A stripped down float ready to be redecorated

Yesterday was an interesting day to say the least. We spent several hours touring Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World which makes most of the floats for Mardi Gras which ends on Fat Tuesday. Since that is coming right up, they are madly getting the floats ready for the parades. They have 20 warehouses full of props and floats and we learned lots about the process. They have only 50 employees who work year around designing and then creating the floats and props. They start the process for the next year the day after the parades. All the props used to be made from paper mache but most are now being made of styrofoam because they can be reworked into other props for floats in other years. Most "krewes" as they are called are societies around the city who have a budget each year for floats. Each krew must have a minimum of 12 floats in a parade and a maximum of 30. Each has at least one (usually 4) signature floats they use every year that are the same year after year and all the other floats in their krew are new and designed and decorated with whatever theme they have chosen for the next year. The floats that are changed each year are stripped down after Mardi Gras to prepare for the new year. The krewes own the floats and Blaine Kern's stores them and rents them the props. There are 35 parades within the city of New Orleans in 13 days ending on Fat Tuesday. It was amazing to watch the artists take a prop say a bluebird that had been used last year and with the addition of styrofoam pieces glued on here and there, some paper mache, carving and paint, it was turned in to a hummingbird. The big flowers are made of 2 pieces pf posterboard with wire glued in between them and bent into the perfect shape and then painted. The average float costs about $50,000 a year to redo. The only floats that have lighting are the signature floats and most of them are being redone with new LED lighting. Each float throws thousands of dollars worth of trinkets to the crowds as they pass by. Blaine Kern's also does some of the floats for Disney as well as other clients around the world.

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