Friday, February 10, 2012


Mardi Gras is just around the corner - on Tuesday, February 21 this year. Last week the students in the  Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP) visited Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World, the den where floats are assembled and decorated for many of the carnival parades.

Our visit began with a film on the history of Mardi Gras.
LIEP students are ready to view a film on Mardi Gras history.
After the film, King Cake was served.
Our guide serves us King Cake.
Olena Kashirny of Ukraine and Irma Chavez of Venezuela enjoy King Cake together.
After the film and King Cake, we entered the den, a huge warehouse-like area filled with floats and props. The props are large figures of fiberglass or papier-mache which can be installed on different floats from year to year. Below you will see some of the props and floats in Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World den.
A long view of one section of the den, filled with props
Flowers for a float
Pol Salvador and Victor Messa of Spain watch as artists install flowers on a float.
Xiang "James" Zhang of China poses with a train float.
A mermaid prop
Helena Posada and Nicole Rios of Nicaragua pose with a Mr. Potato Head prop.
Cuicui "Coco" Zhao of China poses with a prop.
Cuicui "Coco" Zhao and Xuan "Serena" Wang pose with a pelican prop.
We concluded our visit to Mardi Gras World with some time in the gift shop, where we were able to try on various Mardi Gras accessories.
Helena Posada and Nicole Rios of Nicaragua and Marietta Rivero of Mexico
model Mardi Gras headpieces.
Cuicui "Coco" Zhao of China, Luiza Azevado of Brazil, and Xuan "Serena" Wang of China
show off their alligator hats.
Hao "Kevin" Li of China poses in a Mardi Gras costume.
Finally, we gather to say goodbye to Mardi Gras World.
LIEP students pose for a final photo before saying goodbye to Mardi Gras World.
Our visit to Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World was fun and informative. Seeing where and how the floats and their props are created and assembled will increase our enjoyment during the carnival parades that begin this weekend, continue throughout next week, and culminate on Tuesday, February 21, with Mardi Gras itself!