News Portfolio


Blaine Kern grew up on the West Bank of the Mississippi, and New Orleans was always a presence and an inspiration.  Blaine's father, Roy, was a sign painter who worked his way through the Depression painting names on the bows of freighters. Blaine learned and watched and waited for his chance.

That chance came when Blaine's mother was hospitalized. The young man painted a mural in the hospital to help pay her medical bills. The painting caught the eye of a surgeon who was captain of a Mardi Gras krewe. One float led to another and Blaine was hired to design a complete parade.  Over time, he became the city's leading parade creator, working with Rex, Zulu and all the legendary krewes.

Traveling in Italy, Blaine was impressed by the extravagant prop concepts and animation that marked the European style of float building. He brought them home to New Orleans and developed the monumental scale and lavish ornamentation of today's Mardi Gras spectaculars.

concept artist

The Kerns are universally recognized as the makers of Mardi Gras magic.  The tradition continues under the leadership of Blaine’s son, Barry Kern, the president and CEO of Kern Studios and Mardi Gras World

Barry grew up working in the family business.  Barry has traveled abroad from a young age to interact with designers and artists worldwide in similar businesses.  He has taken Kern Studios from a float building company specializing in New Orleans Mardi Gras to be the world’s leading maker of floats, props, and sculpture. Kern Studios designs, builds, and produces parades, creates unique objects of art, and builds themed environments for museums, theme parks, restaurants, and attractions worldwide.  Kern artists have been behind major projects for theme parks including Disney, Universal Studios, Paramount Parks, Six Flags and casinos including Harrah’s, MGM Grand, Circus Casino, and countless other projects internationally.  Kern Studios produces floats and props for over forty New Orleans parades as well as pageants around the world—from Philadelphia to Antibes.

Kern Studios at Mardi Gras World on the New Orleans riverfront, is the city's largest and most diverse complex of premier event venues.  It embraces the unique attraction, Mardi Gras World, where visitors and locals alike immerse themselves in the color, music, history, and magic of Mardi Gras every day of the year.