With Mardi Gras just under a week away, many are getting ready to board flights to New Orleans for the main event.
While you might only know a few things about this celebration, New Orleans is never one to leave a visitor hungry for information.
This city amply tells the story of its iconic yearly traditions for Mardi Gras throughout several museums in town.
While you might think the only studying you should be doing at Mardi Gras is the bottom of your cocktail glass, consider spending some time in these museums to fully appreciate what Mardi Gras means to New Orleans and its citizens.
The Presbytére: Serving as the main Mardi Gras museum in New Orleans, the Presbytére is home to the permanent exhibition, "Mardi Gras: It’s Carnival Time in Louisiana." The exhibit details the celebration of the event from its ancient origins to present day. Visitors get to see an elaborate collection of artifacts and memorabilia pertaining to the event in the city. Expect to be bombarded with information on krewes, secret societies, racial histories, and costumes, all part of the Mardi Gras makeup.
The Backstreet Cultural Museum: Prepare to be razzled and dazzled by this Treme neighborhood museum in New Orleans. The museum contains memorabilia about Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals, and traditions that have only stemmed from the city's celebration. However, the Backstreet Cultural Museum’s main draw is its collection of Mardi Gras’ Indian costumes. The handmade costumes represent the true meaning of dressing to the nines with their elaborate beads, feathers, and stones.
Arnaud’s Restaurant: If you want to kill two birds with one stone by enjoying a meal and a museum tour, Arnaud’s Restaurant is the spot for you. Located in the French Quarter, the classic Creole cuisine is complimented by its own Germaine Wells Mardi Grads Museum within the restaurant. Visitors can see the beautiful gowns and memorabilia worn by the royalty of New Orleans’ Carnival events. With over twenty-four extravagant costumes on display, visitors should be sure to see the oldest, Germaine’s Empress gown. Scattered throughout the display cases are also photographs, masks and jewelry, illustrating the opulence of the New Orleans affair.
Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World: For the over the top Mardi Gras museum, head to the Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World. All in good fun, this world is all about appreciating Mardi Gras. Blaine Kern’s Studios is responsible for creating most of the Carnival parade floats. Visitors can see where many of the greatest floats used in the Mardi Gras parades are stored and constructed. This is Mardi Gras truly in the making, where special events include mask making and float building.
CC Flickr photo credit: Mark Gstohl
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