Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mardi Gras

New Orleans is famous for the Mardi Gras Carnival. The carnival begins on King's Day, (Feast of the Epiphany) which is Jan 6, 2014 and will continue until the Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday, (day before Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins) The first Mardi Gras parade was held in 1857. By law, every float rider must wear a mask. On Fat Tuesday anyone may wear a mask as well. We visited Mardi Gras World which is where the floats are prepared each year. There are about 300 floats made each year but only 28 floats can participate in any one parade. That's why there are so many parades and why it lasts the entire day and well into the night. I've included a sample of the float preparations below. Because of the large number of pictures, I've whittled them down to as few as I could. As a result, I will put them in no particular order and post them on several pages. Enjoy!

These "sculptures" are created, used and then many are saved to be used on other floats. Often small changes are made, such as the jersey number.

Goodness Gracious! It's Jiminy Cricket! Bigger than life....

We even got to dress up!  I've never been much of one for dress up, but this guy made me do it....

The float starts out as an artist's rendering. It's then colored and finalized then sent to the warehouse to begin construction. The float basics are already constructed as they use them year after year. The extras are added to complete the float.

The sculptures start out as large sheets of styrofoam that are laminated then carved. Watching these folks work was inspiring. Imagine being able to take a block of styrofoam and make it into the figurines you see in the following pictures. I can only dream of being that talented.

These two ladies were working from nothing more than a rendering. She was using a knife to chip away the foam and the detail was awesome!

Check out the details and the vibrant colors they use when creating these masterpieces.

I loved the bright colors of these hot air balloons. The guy painting them made it look way too easy.

This will adorn the front of one of the floats for the 2014 Mardi Gras Festival.

Look for this float in next year's parade.

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