TEA Connect Blog

03 March 2020

New Orleans: TEA Mardi Gras exploration Feb 2020

Networking met revelry when a group of Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) members met in New Orleans for a multi-day exploration of the city's world-famous Mardi Gras celebration, Feb 19-22. The long weekend, organized by the TEA Eastern North America Division, was sponsored by TEA member companies Lightswitch and Hoplite LBE and chaired by Greg Senner and Arielle Rassel.

Profuse and heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make this event a reality!

Summary from Greg Senner of Hoplite

The opening mixer at Rosie’s on the Roof at the Higgins Hotel was a great start to the event. It was a beautiful night and a great view of New Orleans. The mixer was followed by a walking Ghost tour of the French Quarter that included the long history of the city dating all the way back to its founding. 

Day One of the event started at Mardi Gras World with a tour hosted by Joe Mazotta, Sales and Business Development. We were fortunate enough to get some time with Barry Kern, the current head and 3rd generation creator of Mardi Gras Floats and experiences. Barry was able to tell an amazing story of his family’s history and their involvement in Mardi Gras becoming the event that it is today. 

Lunch was held at The New Orleans School of Cooking. Our Chef, Joy told stories about the culinary history of the region. The history was a great extension of the stories told by Barry Kern and gave a great sense of the melting pot of cultures that created the entire area of the country. 

Unfortunately, the Thursday Parades were cancelled due to high winds, but they were moved to the next afternoon before scheduled Friday parades.

Friday morning was spent at Carl Mack’s Mardi Gras Museum. This museum tells the story of the masks and costumes of the Carnival season. Carl Mack is a well-know designern and performer in the industry and a huge part of the town's culture. He has amassed and displayed costumes from not only local events, but from Carnival celebrations around the world. 

Friday’s lunch was at the world-famous Mothers Restaurant where the group sampled a wide range of New Orleans classic cuisine. After the Friday Parades the group moved to the Armeinius Bal Masque LII: The Armeinius Paradox. This Ball, normally held on the Saturday before Mardi Gras was moved to Friday night due to Parade route changes caused by upgrades to the New Orleans Superdome. This shift was the inspiration for this year’s theme, time travel. The Ball could be called “Fabulous” with its fantastical costumes and over the top showmanship. It was absolutely the highlight of the event. 


Q&A with Warren Kong of Lightswitch

How did you enjoy the TEA Explores Mardi Gras event as both sponsor and attendee?  

Lightswitch is always ready to support the TEA in the exploration and education, especially as it’s related to marketplaces off the beaten path.

What were highlights of this event for you?  

I was very impressed by the history and culture of the event and how they are woven into the culture of Louisiana.

How does your connection to the TEA benefit your company?  

Attending these "TEA Explorer" Divisional events allows us to make strong connections with other members. New relationships spring up. It puts a personal face on TEA member companies.

Can you share a personal story about the event? 

We were able to spend an hour listening to Barry Kern tell the history of his company and how it ties to the fabric of New Orleans. I am always fascinated about the history of the locations, people and attractions we visit. There is always room to learn. I think my personal story would be to listen to your ghost guide and NEVER,NEVER, NEVER walk under the balcony if they tell you not to!

Many thanks to Rich Hill for curating materials for this story. Photos: Greg Senner. See more photos in the facebook album on TEA's Facebook Page.



Posted by Judy Rubin



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