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Mardi Gras World

The history of Kern Studios, an operating workshop that has created floats for Mardi Gras and other parades around the world since 1947, dates back to when artist Blaine Kern painted a mural in his local hospital in order to pay for his mother’s medical bills. The mural caught the eye of a surgeon who was the captain of a Mardi Gras krewe and he invited Kern to design and build floats for him. One float led to the next and in 1947, Blaine Kern opened Kern Studios. Over the years, Kern has become one of the city’s leading parade designers and builders working for Rex, Zulu and other legendary krewes. Kern Studios opened Mardi Gras World in 1984, offering a firsthand look at what they do. Located on the East Bank of the Mississippi River, today Mardi Gras World is one of New Orleans’ top attractions, welcoming over 150,000 visitors from around the world each year. It has been featured on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, the Food Network, HGTV and in several films.

Mardi Gras World

Mardi Gras World

See Mardi Gras Floats!

See Mardi Gras Floats!

Mardi Gras World Mardi Gras World
See Mardi Gras Floats! See Mardi Gras Floats!

The Mardi Gras World Tour

During your Mardi Gras World tour, a guide will take you behind-the-scenes and show you where the magic of Mardi Gras is made. Learn about the history of Mardi Gras, watch Kern Studio’s artists at work, and enjoy a slice of the famous King Cake. If time permits, shop Kern Studio’s gift shop for all things Mardi Gras or head to Mardi Gras World’s Café for New Orleans-inspired cuisine.

Highlights of Your Mardi Gras World Tour

Mardi Gras Past and Present

Start your Mardi Gras World tour by learning about the history of Mardi Gras. An introductory film explores Mardi Gras from its origins that date back thousands of years ago to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility to its longstanding traditions that carry on to this day.

Kern Studio’s Float Dens

The artisans at Kern Studios have designed and built some of the oldest and largest Mardi Gras floats. Discover flamboyant floats as you are guided through Kern Studio’s float dens, studio spaces where you will find designers hard at work. Learn about every aspect of the creation process, from design and construction to painting. Kern Studios creates floats for more than 40 parades each year.

The Famous King Cake

Bring your Mardi Gras tour to a close with a piece of the famous Mardi Gras King Cake. Originally this sweet pastry was made as a simple ring dough with a small amount of decoration, but has become more festive over the years with sugar toppings in the traditional Mardi Gras colors purple, green and gold. Traditionally King Cakes have a small, plastic baby inside and the person who receives the slice of cake with the baby is asked to carry on the festivities by hosting the next King Cake party.

Shopping at Mardi Gras World

Browse the gift shop at Mardi Gras world. From Mardi Gras beads and doubloons to masks and feathered boas, the gift shop sells a wide selection of Mardi Gras merchandise for you and your loved ones.

Dining at Mardi Gras World’s Café

Enjoy New Orleans-inspired fare in Mardi Gras World’s café, such as traditional Louisiana po-boys, gumbo and jambalaya. Outdoor seating at the café offers stunning views of the mighty Mississippi River.

Travel Tips

-          The Mardi Gras World Tour lasts approximately one and a half to two hours.


-          Mardi Gras World is ADA compliant.


-          Bring your camera. There will be exciting photo opportunities in front of floats, with props, or wearing traditional Mardi Gras costumes.