NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The public visitation for Blaine Kern earlier today drew people from every walk of life to Gallier Hall. Many said Kern was an inspiration and a man with incredible talent and passion for his work.
“My dad listened to his path. I was listening to Frank Sinatra, my way and he did it his way,” Kerns’ son Blaine Kern Jr. said.
Kern started his humble beginnings as an artist before being noticed by a local krewe captain.
The first float he designed was placed on the back of a mule-drawn carriage in 1932 and the rest was history.
“I grew up here in New Orleans and Blaine as an inspiration since I was a child. I went to art school because of all the floats and paintings and I, fortunately, got a job working for Blaine. It was an amazing experience to know him and be inspired by him,” friend Harry Hebert said.
“He will be sorely missed but his imagination will live on through in so many people, in his family and in so many floats that you see on carnival day,” said Mark Romig, marketing director for New Orleans and Company.
“I have fond memories as a kid with Bacchus. I was a page with Bob Hope, but i grew up as carnival was growing my dad was so instrumental in that. I took it as a normal childhood but it was anything but normal-looking back ya know,” son Brian Kern said.
He’s described as having a large than life personality full of charm.
Kern was also a visionary who made his dream a reality. He became a premier float builder and his talent as an artist was recognized around the world.
“Well, now when you think of New Orleans you also of great parties, carnival, festivals.. because of what Blaine Kern did and how he brought Mardi Gras to just a different level where it became an international sensation,” Congressman Steve Scalise said.
Kern transformed his gift into a multi-million dollar business.
He’s responsible for not only building beautiful Mardi Gras floats, but for also helping design parts of Disney World and so much more. Across from Gallier Hall today, Kern’s work was on display. A fitting tribute to a man who meant so much to New Orleans.