Every year residents and tourists gather in New Orleans to celebrate a well known tradition that takes place on the day before Ash Wednesday known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. The holiday is filled with colorful costumes, masks, beads galore, and most importantly an amazing carnival celebration. The EIJ newsteam received a behind the scenes tour of Mardi Gras World, where several artists and craftsman are already hard at work for the next holiday.
The first thing you do when you go to Mardi Gras World is walk through the gift shop to watch a short video on the history of Mardi Gras. The room has two racks of costumes and hats for you to put on for any pictures you want to take before the film, and when you’re done you take a seat and enjoy watching the history of Mardi Gras floats. Did you know the first parade in New Orleans was in 1857?
We then move into the part of the building where the artists are at work creating the floats for next years Mardi Gras. The floats are made of either Styrofoam or Plexiglas and are recycled from past float sculptures. The floats were originally made out of cardboard until around 20-years-ago when they switched to Styrofoam to get a longer lasting product that they could reuse. When artists come up with a float they want to make they can either start from scratch or find an existing float and mold it into a different shape using various techniques. There is also a machine they use to get a more precise sculpture for their bigger products for companies such as Chic-fil-A and Disney.
If you are interested in setting up a tour you can go to http://www.mardigrasworld.com/ for more information.