There’s no getting away from it, New Orleans is most famous for its over-the-top Mardi Gras celebrations, an important holiday in the city. I was curious about the event itself, including its history, so one afternoon I walked down to the waterfront to visit Mardi Gras World. Housed in one of the many enormous warehouses owned by Kern Studios – the preeminent designer of floats – the mission of Mardi Gras world is to educate visitors about the real meaning of Mardi Gras and to show off some of those amazing floats. As I soon learned, the Kern family never throws away anything; every float they’ve ever designed is in a warehouse somewhere, waiting just in case it can be repurposed. Walking around the warehouse open to the public was like walking through Wonka’s factory. The size and scale of the floats are over the top and the designs are of course beautiful. I admit, I didn’t know that much about Mardi Gras before visiting but I left with a much greater appreciation not only for the holiday, but also for the floats that have made it so very famous around the world.