Monday, September 12, 2005
Blaine Kern Sr. on Mardi Gras
The question on the lips of many - fans who've already booked flights and hotels, and those who are just looking for the definitive sign that New Orleans is alive and kicking - is "Will there be Mardi Gras in New Orleans this spring?"The answer from the guy who can rightfully claim the title of "Mr. Mardi Gras" - Blaine Kern Sr. - is an unqualified "absolutely." Kern is the New Orleans artist whose float designs revolutionized Mardi Gras parades beginning in the late 1940s, leading the the huge superfloats and superkrewes that draw the biggest crowds during modern Carnival parades. His Kern Studios and Mardi Gras World have produced the world's biggest, most elaborate floats, and his massive compound in Algiers supplies floats and tractors for the majority of metro New Orleans parades.A couple of dens (warehouses where a krewe stores and builds its floats) have been damaged in Gretna, Kern said Sunday in a defiant interview on WWL-870. But the majority of building of floats for superkrewes Endymion, Rex and Orpheus has already been finished, and the captains of these krewes and others are looking not only to have Mardi Gras in New Orleans during the Carnival season that peaks on Fat Tuesday - Feb. 28, 2006 - but to make it bigger and better than ever . . . to make a statement.