Blaine Kern grew up on the West Bank of the Mississippi. 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.
Blaine Kern is universally recognized as the man who makes Mardi Gras magic. Under the leadership of his son, Barry Kern, Blaine Kern Studios produces floats and props for over forty New Orleans parades as well as pageants around the world—from Philadelphia to Antibes.
Kern props and sculptures enhance themed environments in Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Japan’s Toho Park and many other entertainment centers. Corporate partners include Coca-Cola, M&M Mars and Chik-Fil-A. (That’s a Blaine Kern cow in Atlanta Braves Stadium and on all those billboards).
Blaine Kern Studios, 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.
So much of what we love in Mardi Gras was created by Blaine Kern and his team of artists and magicians. That’s why he’s earned the name by which he’s known and honored: Mister Mardi Gras.