We at Seiler Tucker are based in New Orleans. If you know anything about New Orleans, it’s probably related to the epic parades that go on every year at Mardi Gras. Last week the city of New Orleans received tragic news; Mr. Mardi Gras, Blaine Kern, had passed away. His wife confirmed his passing on Thursday, June 25th. He lived a long, creativity-fueled life up until his death at age 93. Kern is often credited with helping turn Mardi Gras into a massive, world-renowned event. So here, we honor his dedication to the artistry that goes into every float during Mardi Gras.
How did Blaine Kern become “Mr. Mardi Gras?”
He began his journey towards his title in 1932 when he and his father painted a mural in a hospital. Their client was so impressed with their skills that they hired Kern on to the Krewe of Alla. It wouldn’t be until more than 10 years later- 1947- that Kern would be able to start his own Mardi Gras artistry business; Blain Kern Artists. This company later became Kern Studios.
He traveled around the world improving his craft and learning an apprenticing under some of the world’s leading craftsmen. He went to study how to create sculptures and how to design incredibly large projects with intricate and extravagant decorations.
His small company gained more and more clients and so their popularity and renown grew exponentially. His company became known for both designing and constructing floats for some of the biggest and well-known Mardi Gras krewes. His clients included Rex, Zulu, Bacchus, Endymion, Orpheus, and Muses. It was the Krewe of Rex that gave him his title “Mr. Mardi Gras” in 1988 for all the work he did for the various parade groups. Kern, ever the discerning entrepreneur, decided he would trademark the name.
Blaine Kern slowly but surely built up his Mardi Gras empire. Everyone loved his creative abilities and ambitiously adventurous nature. He dreamed big for every project that he pursued. If his client could think of it, dream of it, Kern could bring their ideas into the physical world. He could always make it happen.
Kern had an immensely long tenure as the leader of his company; he gave over nearly all his stake in the company to his son, Barry in 2015. After more than 90 years, he provided so much joy and happiness to this community, and his son will continue his legacy of Mardi Gras merriment.