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Upcoming Events

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Andrew Jackson: Hero…

Mar 26 - 29, 2015
THNOC's exhibition tracks Jackson's rise from humble beginnings to immortality… more

Artist Spotlight…

Mar 26 - 31, 2015
New Orleans-based woodturning artist Tom Dunne will be the featured artist in… more

CrimeStoppers Luncheon

Mar 26 - 26, 2015
Crimestoppers GNO will have its 30th annual awards luncheon and pledge drive at… more

Edgar Degas: The…

Mar 26 - May 24, 2015
Featuring drawings, prints, sculpture, and photographs, all from a single… more

EN MAS’: Carnival and…

Mar 26 - Jun 7, 2015
Curated by Claire Tancons, Krista Thompson, EN MAS': Carnival and Performance… more

Jim Roche: Cultural…

Mar 26 - Jul 12, 2015
Born in 1943, Jim Roche received a BA from Florida State University (1961)… more

Kikuo Saito at…

Mar 26 - Apr 4, 2015
Octavia Art Gallery is pleased to present a selection of works from New York… more

Le Petit Theatre…

Mar 26 - 29, 2015
Donald Margulies' Pulitzer Prize-winning play tells the story of a couple… more

Louisiana Crawfish…

Mar 26 - 29, 2015
Enjoy authentic Cajun cuisine such as Crawfish pie, Fried Crawfish Tall… more

Ogden After Hours…

Mar 26 - 26, 2015
Join us for Ogden After Hours for Sarah McCoy. more

Tennessee…

Mar 26 - 29, 2015
A stellar group of literary, theater and musical talent will gather for the… more

Tennessee Williams:…

Mar 26 - May 31, 2015
Tennessee Williams was one of the most admired playwrights of the 20th century.… more

The Columns Hotel…

Mar 26 - 26, 2015
The Historical Columns Hotel with its "sophiscicated atmosphere" and… more

The New Orleans…

Mar 26 - Nov 18, 2015
Marvel Universe LIVE! will captivate audiences with an authentic and original… more

The Trio feat. Johnny…

Mar 26 - 26, 2015
Join us for The Trio feat. Johnny Vidacovich & special guests. … more

12th Annual Saints…

Mar 27 - 29, 2015
The festival features panel discussions and master classes on literary topics… more

America's Hometown…

Mar 27 - 27, 2015
In the adventuresome spirit of the weekend's FoodFest, it will bring the best… more

Hogs for the Cause

Mar 27 - 28, 2015
Eighty teams of BBQ competitors, comprised of a mix of some of the region's… more

Lauren Sturm - Bayou…

Mar 27 - 27, 2015
Performs solo acoustic piano. more

Lauren Sturm - Bayou…

Mar 27 - 27, 2015
Performs solo acoustic piano. more

Andrew Jackson: Hero…

Mar 26 - 29, 2015
THNOC's exhibition tracks Jackson's rise from humble beginnings to immortality… more

The Party's Restarted: Mardi Gras World Open

They don't call this a party town for nothing.

Recovering from the ravages of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, artists are eagerly returning to the task of crafting puckish icons for Mardi Gras parades.

The pre-Lenten Mardi Gras celebrations here boast masquerade balls and raucous merrymaking that gain worldwide attention. And for Blaine Kern, the 78-year-old known as "Mr. Mardi Gras," a little joy is exactly what this town needs.

"Yes, there will be Mardi Gras parades!" declares Kern, whose family operates Kern Studios, a Mardi Gras assembly line. "Everybody wants to do it," he says. "We are going to show the world that we are still alive and want to have fun."

Part of Kern's operation is Mardi Gras World, an Algiers warehouse where the notoriously creative Kern family and its legion of artists work their magic, churning out floats and fantasies for virtually all of Mardi Gras’ biggest parades. Thousands come to Mardi Gras World every year to watch the artists at work and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the artistry behind the fantastic spectacle of Mardi Gras.

On Monday, Oct. 17, Mardi Gras World reopened for the first time since Hurricane Katrina to offer its popular tours. Mardi Gras World is open for business from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily, with the last tour at 4:30 p.m. Reservations are only required for 10 or more.

Daily tours begin with fantasy and fun from the beginning: Colorful Mardi Gras props, like a gigantic jovial jester, fiercely realistic alligators, and a gorgeously exciting Marilyn Monroe with skirt flying greet one and all to this amazing factory. After a brief introduction by a knowledgeable guide and a spirited video about the history of Mardi Gras and the company, visitors can dress up in authentic, ornate carnival costumes. Free king cake and hot New Orleans coffee is served!

During the self-guided portion of the tour, visitors enter a maze of amazing props of all sizes. In one area, heaps of props await repair, while artists, painters, and sculptors create their masterpieces. Next, the tour enters the "den" (float artists' warehouse). It is a big carpentry and paint shop, where workers build and decorate sensational floats. For each "krewe" (club), artists paint each float with brightly-colored themed scenes. Gold and silver foil as well as thousands of fiberoptic lights on the sides of the floats glisten and glow. The floats appear as colorful and animated as any imaginative Hollywood movie.

A tasty lunch of New Orleans delicacies is also served daily from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. for $10 per person. Special tour rates apply for adults, seniors and children.

Mardi Gras World is also available to rent for spectacular special events.

Meanwhile, Kern and his artists are revving up for a Mardi Gras that many are seeing as New Orleans’ post-Katrina coming out party. February 28, 2006, will mark the 150th anniversary of the first formal Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. But more importantly, Mardi Gras 2006 will be a celebration of the rebirth of New Orleans and a demonstration of its enduring character and spirit.

The City Council has unanimously given its blessing to carnival krewe captains to proceed with their plans for Mardi Gras 2006. So far, 31 krewes have announced their intentions to parade. The Mayor’s Mardi Gras Coordinating Committee is next meeting in mid-November to present a parade calendar and information about routes. Though Mardi Gras will be scaled down relative to previous years, it is expected to be a tremendously jubilant, spectacular and emotion affair.

While air-brushing a giant parrot, Mardi Gras World artist Charles Bendzans says that the Mardi Gras parades must go on.

"This is what we do here - have fun," Bendzans says, spraying turquoise paint on the bird. "Mardi Gras is a frame of mind."

Daily Tours:
Doors open: 9:30 am
Last Tour: 4:30 pm

School Tours:
Children PreK-6th Grade: $3.50
Children 7th-12th Grade: $6.50
Chaperons: $6.50
Teachers and Transportation Driver: FREE

(Limit 150 Students per tour)
Admission prices include King Cake & Drink!

Mask Making
Learn how to create your own Mardi Gras Mask
with feathers and glitter! All materials furnished
$4.00 extra for each child.

Pizza Lunches with Fresh Fruit and Beverage
$4.00 extra for each child through 6th grade,
plus teachers and chaperons.
$5.00 extra for each child 7th-12th grade,
plus teachers and chaperons

Group Tours:
Adults, age 12 and above: $9.50
Children, 4-11: $5.00
Children, 3 and under: FREE
Seniors: $9.00

*All tours include free King Cake & Coffee!
Reservations are only Required for 10 or more, so just stop by!
Don't forget your camera!


Adults: $15.00
Children 11 and under: $7.25
Seniors: $11.00
Student w/ college or high school ID: $11.00

*All tours include free King Cake & Coffee!
Reservations are only Required for 10 or more, so just stop by!
Don't forget your camera!

Cooking classes available by appointment.

Facility available for private functions.