Travellers to New Orleans generally spend most of their time in the French Quarter. But across the river is another iconic New Orleans gem: Mardi Gras World. Visitors to Mardi Gras World are invited to wander through a maze of rooms that explode with color. No matter which way you turn, another fantastic image grabs your eye. This is the place where parade floats are made. Not the gigantic balloon heads that float above the streets of New York during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, but the fantastic floats that glide down St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana during Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, and Halloween.
It’s easy to feel lost as you wander the paths through the warehouse. There are so many things to look at that you begin to feel overwhlemed by all the color and detail. Your eye can’t take it all in at a glance. Visitors really need to stop and examine one piece at a time.
The forms are used over and over. A quick change of paint makes a genie into a revolutionary soldier. A Halloween pumpkin becomes Cinderella’s carriage. The magic is in the artistry created with these oversized doll’s heads and rotating fantasy worlds.
The result is magical. Visitors feel as though they’ve been taken backstage on the set of an amusement park ready to spring to life. The rooms are sprinkled with familiar cartoon characters and newly-imagined monsters such as the dragon Leviathan, who is decorated with blinking arcade lights that add to the fun.
It’s a part of New Orleans that shouldn’t be missed. Whether you travel to the Big Easy in February for the real Mardi Gras parade or not, a little bit of the festivities of New Orleans’ carnival atmosphere is always available to be sampled at Mardi Gras World. I feel like I got a behind-the-scenes peek.
Have you been somewhere that made you feel that way?