World’s Largest Float Debuted with Limited Success

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The Super Krewe of Endymion debuted a $1.2 million, 330-foot Mardi Gras float this year that took the title of the world’s largest float during its Feb. 9 parade.

“More planning went into this float than any other in the world,” said float designer Barry Kern, President/CEO of Blaine Kern studios, in an interview with WWL Eyewitness News.

The float’s theme was “Pontchartrain Beach, Then and Now.” Pontchartrain Beach was the city’s premiere amusement park that closed in 1983. The float is broken up into eight segments, all evoking a different memory of New Orleans’s bygone amusement park.

The first segment depicted the iconic rollercoaster, The Zephyr. The second represented the carousel, the third segment included a Ferris wheel, the fourth represented the Wild Maus ride, and the fifth section had a haunted house theme. Images of bathing beauties that frequented the park’s beach adorned the sixth section. The seventh section was dedicated to the “Music Express” attraction, and the final section featured a huge clown head, one of Pontchartrain Beach’s signature images.

The streets were filled with revelers waiting to witness the massive float on a rain-free night as opposed to last year’s Endymion rain-out. They were delighted by LED lights, sounds, and even scents from all eight sections of the float.

However, the mega-float’s inaugural ride was not without problems. According to WWL, crews had to break down the float in order for the fourth section to avoid hitting utility poles at Carrollton St. and Orleans St. The float hit barricades at Carrollton St. and Canal St. and injured a 63-year-old woman who had to be taken to the hospital because of her injuries. The float also hit barricades at Lee Circle, leaving six more people injured.

All of the issues caused significant delays in the parade. “We had to wait at least thirty minutes from the time of the last float to when the Pontchartrain Beach float got to us,” said parade-goer Christi Simoneaux.

Krewe officials said that they will investigate the injuries and apologize to anyone who may have been injured, according to WWL.

“Public safety is a top priority during Mardi Gras for both riders and spectators. As is the process after every event, the city will do an after action report to address all issues. In addition, the Mayor’s Mardi Gras advisory committee, comprised of all krewe captains, will be addressing these and other aspects as we prepare for Carnival season 2014,” said a spokesman for Mayor Landrieu’s office to WWL in regards to the injuries.

Krewe officials noted that the float is planned to be a permanent staple of all future Endymion parades.

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