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Mardi Gras Museums: A New Orleans Education.

Thomas Barrat / Shutterstock
Thomas Barrat / Shutterstock
Brian Lees
Written by Brian Lees
With Mardi Gras set to burst into action on February 9th, many festive folks are jetting into New Orleans to catch the start of the big event!

While you may know a few things about this celebration, New Orleans can help you fill in the blanks! Proudly commemorating it’s iconic annual carnival through several museums in town, The Big Easy will have you not only studying the bottom of your cocktail glass this Mardi Gras, but the history and meaning of it’s festival, and what it truly means to New Orleans and its citizens.

The Presbytére

Terry Poche / Shutterstock

Terry Poche / Shutterstock

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. Check out the elaborate collection of artifacts and memorabilia pertaining to this glittering event. 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

cvalle / Shutterstock

cvalle / Shutterstock

Prepare to be razzled and dazzled by this Treme neighborhood museum in New Orleans.

The handmade costumes represent the true meaning of dressing to the nines with their elaborate beads, feathers, and stones.

The museum contains memorabilia about Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals, and traditions that have stemmed from the city’s celebration.

However, the Backstreet Cultural Museum’s main draw is its collection of Mardi Gras’ Indian costumes.

 

Arnaud’s Restaurant

alberto cervantes / Shutterstock

alberto cervantes / Shutterstock

If you’re looking to kill two birds with one stone, enjoy a meal and a museum tour at Arnaud’s Restaurant, located in the French Quarter.

Scattered throughout the display cases are also photographs, masks, and jewelry, illustrating the opulence of the New Orleans affair.

Serving up classic Creole cuisine, Arnaud’s not only feeds your stomach, but your mind—boasting it’s own Germaine Wells Mardi Gras Museum within the restaurant! Enjoy the beautiful gowns and memorabilia worn by the royalty of New Orleans’ Carnival events, and take particular notice of the oldest exhibit, taking pride of place amidst the twenty-four or so extravagant costumes on display—Germaine’s Empress gown!

 

 

Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World

Terry Poche / Shutterstock

Terry Poche / Shutterstock

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. See first hand where many of the greatest floats used in the Mardi Gras parades are stored and constructed, and enjoy special events, including mask making, and float building! You just never know when you’ll need these skills.

This truly is a Mardi Gras site, in the making!

Have you ever attended Mardi Gras in New Orleans? Did you participate in the parade? Let us know your favorite Mardi Gras memory in the comments section below.

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About the author

Brian Lees

Brian Lees

Brian Lees is a Content Writer and Editor with 21 years of experience in the travel industry and a lifetime of personal traveling memories. Originally from Scotland, Brian is a big fan of soccer, family, friends, and food. He's now happily settled on South Shore Long Island with a wife, 2 kids, and a dog to keep him busy! Between trips to Jones Beach, he's happy to keep the OneTravel blog filled with travel insights for you all.

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