Mardi Gras World

P1010489We jumped on the ferry (again) today and headed over to Mardi Gras World, a working warehouse where bigger than life figures of all kinds are made for the parade floats that showcase the Mardi Gras celebration. Many floats are over 100 feet long and are rebuilt each year with a different theme.

Most of the ornaments or figures, called props, are made of Styrofoam glued together in layers and then formed and sculptured with electric kitchen knives, razors, and sandpaper. Then crepe paper is applied for smoothness and the objects are ready for painting. The warehouses, twelve in all, house over 20,000 “props” that make up the 300 plus floats used in the 52 parades that are conducted each year during the 12 day Mardi Gras celebration period.

Once “Crewe” members board their floats for a parade, the doors to the float are screwed shut so no one can leave. Crewe members could be aboard their floats for as long as ten hours. Newer floats today have porta-potties on both the upper and lower levels. Crewe members are also attached to a cable for safety measures while throwing beads and other souvenir objects to people that line the city streets to celebrate Mardi Gras. All parades and events are family orientated except for Bourbon Street where adult bad behavior is tolerated to a point.

At the end of the tour we were treated to a piece of King’s Cake, a European, southern white cake with rich frosting served during holiday period. Each cake has a small trinket inside, often a small plastic baby said to represent Baby Jesus, and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations during the celebration period. And no, we did not get the plastic baby, boo hoo.

After the tour we headed over to the “Central Grocery” for one of their famous muffuletta sandwiches. Central Grocery is a small, old-fashioned Italian grocery store with a sandwich counter in the French Quarter. It’s been there since 1906 and maintains it old world charm even today. Tourists and locals flood the place each day for the muffuletta sandwich that is world famous and has been featured on PBS and The Today Show. It’s made with a special Italian bread baked fresh daily, wonderful Italian salami, baked ham, cheese, and a special olive salad topping. Everything blends together and makes your taste buds dance with joy…

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2 thoughts on “Mardi Gras World

  1. JoAnne Smith

    FYI……..we went to the 1975 and 1976 Mardi Gras. I can’t remember which year it happened but we were at the Parade of Rex and Jacky Gleason was the King of Rex and the float he was on stopped in front of us. Jacky was throwing large purple beads with a lovely bronze medal on it. He spotted us with our three children and just as the float began to move again threw a big handful of these coveted beads at us. Unfortunately he was about a 100 feet above us so he through them hard so we would get them. The whole lot hit me in my face. Bleeding happened instantaneous! My upper lip was split and my front tooth was broken. Fortunately and miraculously a gentleman near us came to our aid who just happened to be an oral surgeon who’s office we were standing in front of to see the parade. We all go inside and he stopped the bleeding, gave me novacaine and used a new bonding product and made my two front teeth a matched set. He had never used this bonding product but said it should hold till we got back to MI where I would need to get it capped. Would you believe I still have the bonded tooth!

    How cool to take this tour. These floats are incredible. The city has to remove all of the traffic lights for the parades because the floats are so tall. What’s his name (1st spouse) had a good friend from Metarie and that is why we went to those two Mardi GRAS.

    Keep having fun and I love the blog.

    Jojo

    Reply
    1. Tom & Patricia Post author

      What a story, Joanne! We have nothing to match it…..maybe a good thing considering your injury. Having gone on this tour made us think it would be so much fun to be here for the actual Mardi Gras Parade. We were told that the parade is no longer held in the French Quarter because of the narrow streets. In addition, it is interesting to know that for twelve days before Ash Wednesday many different parades are held in addition to the main one. Maybe one day……

      Reply

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