Mrdi Gras Museums

New Orleans Mardi Gras Museums

There’s more to Mardi Gras than Bourbon Street and beads. An originally French tradition specific to Christianity, Mardi Gras and Carnival season represent a time of merriment before the penitential days of Lent. Since the first New Orleans parade in 1857, Mardi Gras has “survived world wars, yellow fever epidemics and political uprisings because man’s need to celebrate is universal and unstoppable,” says Arthur Hardy, a nationally recognized authority on Mardi Gras and a fifth generation New Orleanian. Discover this and more on Mardi Gras’ unique history at these convenient locations.

New Orleans Mardi Gras Museums
The Backstreet Cultural Museum
1116 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans, LA 70116 [Map It]
(504) 522-4806

Neighborhood: Treme
Attraction Type/s: Museum

Description: At The Backstreet Cultural Museum, visitors can find an amazing assortment of memorabilia indigenous to Mardi Gras, jazz funerals and other traditions found only in New Orleans. The museum houses the city’s largest collection of brilliantly colored and elaborately designed Mardi Gras Indian costumes hand made by local artisans costing upwards of $10,000 a piece. In this simple setting, the museum also houses an enormous collection of still photos and video footage of Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals and second lines.
Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World
1380 Port of New Orleans Pl., New Orleans, LA 70114 [Map It]
(504) 361-7821, (800) 362-8213

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attraction Type/s: Museum

Description: See another side of Mardi Gras at this museum that also serves as the largest float-building facility in the world. Guided tours give a history of the festival, from the mule-drawn carriages of the past to the sophisticated mega-floats of today. Along the way you'll see colorful floats and costumes in all their splendor, plus get to sample Mardi Gras treats like king cake and coffee.
House of Dance and Feathers
1317 Tupelo St, New Orleans, LA 70117 [Map It]
(504) 957-2678

Neighborhood: Gentilly/New Orleans East/Chalmette
Attraction Type/s: Museum, Cultural Center
The Presbytère
751 Chartres St., Jackson Square, New Orleans, LA 70116 [Map It]
(504) 568-6968, (800) 568-6968

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Attraction Type/s: Museum

Description: The Presbytere houses an elaborate and exquisite collection of Mardi Gras artifacts and memorabilia. The story of New Orleans’ extraordinary Mardi Gras tradition is dynamically told in a high-tech, interactive, permanent exhibition titled "Mardi Gras: It’s Carnival Time in Louisiana." The exhibit traces the celebration from its ancient origins to the 19th century emergence of New Orleans’ parades and balls to the present-day celebration that attracts millions of visitors each year.
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