Mardi Gras Floats: Big Business in New Orleans
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As Mardi Gras 2012 reaches its pinnacle Fat Tuesday, the float making business remains in full gear ahead all year long. Mardi Gras World builds the big floats. Its studio also offer tours 12 months a year, seven days a week.(Feb. 20)


Sound up of Parade:[Notes:LOCATION: NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA][Notes:SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS][ NAT SOUND OF MARDI GRAS PARADE/MUSIC]{VOICEOVER}MARDI GRAS, ONE OF THE BIGGEST FREE PARTIES IN THE WORLD BRINGS IN SOME 144 MILLION DOLLARS TO NEW ORLEANS. PART OF THAT GOES TO THE BIG BUSINESS OF BUILDING THOSE HUMONGOUS FLOATS.(SOT/ Barry Kern, Owner, Mardi Gras World)("Each year we build between 4 and 500 floats a year, we are having to complete pretty much a float every day, if you look at a calendar in terms of that, it's like an assembly line.")[VOICE-OVER]THE PINNACLE OF THE MARDI GRAS SEASON IS FAT TUESDAY, BUT THE WORK OF CREATING FLOATS NEVER ENDS. IT TAKES AN ENTIRE YEAR TO PREPARE ENOUGH FLOATS TO ROLL THROUGH THE STREETS OF NEW ORLEANS. (SOT/ Barry Kern, Owner, Mardi Gras World) "We have parades that are running in different cities like Orlando, we've got parades running in Japan, in Korea in different theme parks and places all over the world , there is a lot of municipalities all over the world that want to copy what we do in New Orleans because it obviously drives tourism, it drives people."[VOICE-OVER]THERE IS SO MUCH INTEREST IN THE FLOATS THAT PEOPLE COME FROM AROUND THE WORLD TO TOUR THE ENORMOUS STUDIO WHERE THESE FLOATS ARE MADE.(SOT/Paul Thompson, visitor from Cheshire, England) ("Well I thought it was very intricate and very colorful and much more professional than you would anticipate for what your surmise is a once a year carnival, that they actually produce these things and reuse them and reinvent them regularly. And that is quite amazing.")(SOT/ Barry Kern, Owner, Mardi Gras World) ("Our big thing is the tour business. Even if your hear during Mardi Gras and you want to see behind the scenes of how the things are built and anytime during the year, we are open seven days a week. And we've got tour guides that bring you through and actually show you the process of how we build the floats. ') [VOICE-OVER] EACH FLOAT WILL COST ANYWHERE FROM $10,000 TO $100,000 DEPENDING ON WHETER IT IS BEING REPURPOSED OR BUILT FROM THE GROUND UP.(SOT/Debra Sanders, visitor from North Sioux City, South Dakota ("It is awestruck that what they start out with is white blank canvas of Styrofoam and they produce some beautiful pieces.") [VOICE-OVER] IN THE WEEKS LEADING UP TO MARDI GRAS MORE THAN 100 PARADES WILL ROLL IN NEW ORLEANS AND ITS SUBURBS. THE FLOATS ARE THE RESULT OF LOTS OF WORK.(SOT/ Barry Kern, Owner, Mardi Gras World) ("You have dozens of artists, and sculptors and people that work in the prop shot and paint the floats and the carpentry workers all these people are working year round to get these floats on the streets for Mardi Gras.") [VOICE-OVER] AND EVEN BEFORE THE LAST 2012 FLOAT HAS BEEN FINISHED...(SOT/ Barry Kern, Owner, Mardi Gras World) ("We are already talking about 2013, we already have all of the designs for all of our major clients for 2013.") [VOICE-OVER] PREPARATIONS BEGIN FOR THE NEXT CELEBRATION.MARINA HUTCHINSON, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.(****END****) ANCHOR VOICE: MARINA HUTCHINSON-------------------------VIDEO PRODUCER: MARINA HUTCHINSON---------------------------VIDEO SOURCE: AP-----------------------VIDEO APPROVAL: ROD JUSSIM----------------------------VIDEO RESTRICTIONS: NONE----------------------------------MARKET EMBARGO (S): NONE--------------------------------