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Mr. Mardi Gras & Float Building Pioneer, Blaine Kern Sr., Has Died at 93

Blaine Kern is known as one “of the most important figures in 20th century Mardi Gras.” Kern founded Blaine Kern Artists in 1947, now known as Kern Studios.⁣⁣ Since its founding, the studios have become known for designing and building floats for the biggest parades: Zulu, Bacchus, Rex, Endymion, Orpheus, and Muses.

Since it’s founding, Kern Studios has become a multimillion-dollar company and has played a pivotal role in Mardi Gras for more than 65 years. Kern died late Thursday night, according to his wife Holly and reports from NOLA.COM & WWLTV. Kern was was 93 years old. 

While Kern studios have been at the forefront of Mardi Gras design for over 60 years, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that the company turned into an international powerhouse of design and fabrication. The studios have gone on to produce events, floats, and fabrication designs for Universal Studios, Six Flags, Walt Disney World, and dozens of other high ranking entertainment companies. 

Blaine Kern’s innovation in creating larger than life parade designs for the likes of Bacchus and Endymion have really paved the way for today’s super krewe’s. Kern’s ideas and creativity really pushed Mardi Gras into a national spotlight and turned New Orleans carnival into one of the greatest events in the world. Most of the innovations created are still used today, including double-decker floats, multi-unit tandem floats, giant animated prop figures, splashy lighting, and animatronics.⁣⁣

Kern is survived by his son and current studio head Barry Kern, his wife Holly, and his five children: Blaine Jr., Thais, Barry, Brian, and Blainey; as well as 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

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