New Orleans, Louisiana: Mardi Gras WorldA giant warehouse full of Mardi Gras floats.
Visitor Tips and News About Mardi Gras World
A fascinating look behind the scenes of the Mardi Gras. The tour is expensive, but well worth it, and the information is amazing. You see how the floats and decorations are made. As you walk through the massive warehouse, you'll be surprised by how many characters you recognize. There are also plenty of photo ops. At the beginning of the tour you get to dress up in costumes and take pictures.
I would definitely eat before you get there. The cafe has good food but is extremely expensive....11 dollars for a plain hamburger.[William, 07/22/2012]
Giant warehouse full of Mardi Gras floats. The tour was a little out of my price range, but we went into the gift shop and took a few pictures on the way out. Kids would definitely enjoy this place.[Scott, 04/14/2009]
The Mermaid gate is not on display and has not been for a number of years. There are plenty of other interesting displays and you can see the artists currently working on next year's Mardi Gras.[John Marchiafava, 08/05/2004]
Here is an image of the mermaids in situ at the World's Fair. They are now in the huge, surrealistic warehouses of Mardi Gras World in Algiers across the river from downtown New Orleans. You can take the ferry and walk on the levee towards the river bridge until you hit it. It is a bit expensive, but worth it if you are not visiting in Carnival season; also it is the only way to see the Mermaids now. Essential if you are a mermaid nut; especially essential if you want mermaids to counter Disney's Ariel (who we all liked until that crappy straight-to-video sequel).[Flatus Maximus, 06/02/2002]
Bored with grinding out floats for Mardi Gras year after year, some of Blaine Kern's offspring have started a business making big things out of fiberglass.
The neatest thing the Kerns ever did was the Mermaid Gate for the 1984 World's Fair, a pair of lovelies whose scales began a lot lower than expected and who had no scallop shell bikini tops to conceal their rather outre' nipples. [RA: Tipster David Carpenter corrects: "The gates were actually created by another floatbuilder, Barth Bros. Kern built the 'Bridge Gate' at the opposite end of the fair which featured a giant River God and maiden."] Their buttocks were bare as well, and the expressions of their huge faces was salacious in the extreme.
This did not bother the locals, but when the big water women were put on national television there was lots of puritanical complaining. This was quieted somewhat when the artists, with tears in their eyes, painted over the rosy areoles to impart the white of classical sculpture. This was only over part of the front of the ladies, face, chest, and arms; the rears remained in living color. The Mermaid Gate is still on display in the huge warehouses of Blaine Kern at Mardi Gras World.[Flatus Maximus, 03/04/2000]