Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dinner at Grand Oaks Mansion

Last night we had dinner at the venerable Grand Oaks Mansion, strolling the terraces and gardens as we ate traditional New Orleans cuisine (most of which I didn't eat because seafood is vile, but interjecting that is ruining the mood) beneath the stars:

grand oaks mansion

We meandered over the paths and grounds beneath the stately oaks, dripping with Spanish moss, shivering in the air conditioning that was set too high.

The mansion grounds were air conditioned because there is no mansion. The grounds are fake. The stars are tiny lights in the painted ceiling. The oaks are made of plaster. The entire venue is inside a warehouse, down by the river in a neighborhood filled with barred windows and burned out lots.

And yet it was still somehow magical.

The best part of the night wasn't even dinner, or the mansion. It was exploring the warehouse complex, Mardi Gras World, where they make and store the floats that are used for Mardi Gras parades. We didn't really know what to expect when we pulled up:

mardi gras world (1)

and when you first enter you can't see very much, just an entrance and some random large figures:

mardi gras world (2)

mardi gras world (3)

mardi gras world (4)

mardi gras world (5)

but then you go around a corner and you're in the warehouse and it's huge and full of figures!

mardi gras world (6)

mardi gras world (7)

mardi gras world (8)

Some of the figures are easily recognizable:

mardi gras world (9)

and some are pretty famous:

mardi gras world (10)

mardi gras world (11)

mardi gras world (12)

but mostly they're just random:

mardi gras world (13)

mardi gras world (14)

I have no idea how they keep track of them, because there didn't seem to be any pattern to the way they were placed or stored and, as I said, the warehouse complex is huge:

mardi gras world (16)

It was like being on the backlot at Disney World, and even though everything was completely fake it was still sort of magical.

1 comment:

Marcheline said...

I see what you did here. You hit us with the sad, pathetic New Orleans post first, so that all of us who've never been there feel vindicated. Then you hit us with the really good stuff, and we're all like... "Wait a minute...."

Just for that your homework assignment is to Google a company called Pytram, Ltd. I just bought a vintage papier mache item made by Pytram on Ebay, and the history of the company will completely tie into this post. But you have to look it up to see why.