See the Workshop Where Mardi Gras Parade Floats Are Born

Eldon Baldwin Follow, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Eldon Baldwin Follow, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In New Orleans, Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) means king cake, colorful beads, and elaborate parade floats rolling through the French Quarter. If you can't make it to New Orleans on carnival day, there are still ways to celebrate Mardi Gras in the Big Easy the other 364 days of the year—you just have to know where to look. At Mardi Gras World, visitors can tour the warehouse where Mardi Gras sculptures are built and get a sneak peak at upcoming parade floats, Smithsonian reports.

Mardi Gras World invites the public into Kern Studios, the workshop where the most elaborate and iconic displays are built for the New Orleans's parades. Open since 1984, about 200,000 visitors explore the site each year to learn about the history of the Mardi Gras celebration, see floats from years past, and see sculptures in the process of being made for upcoming parades. The 30-minute guided tour includes a video presentation, a photo op with Mardi Gras costumes and props, and a slice of king cake.

With the theme of the Mardi Gras festival changing year to year, Mardi Gras World has produced a diverse array of sculptures, including Day of the Dead skeletons and the Incredible Hulk. The workshop also builds statue props that have ended up in a Mobile, Alabama art installation, at the stadium where the Atlanta Braves play, and on the Las Vegas strip.

Mardi Gras World holds tours seven days a week with tickets costing $22 for adults. Check out the pictures below for a sneak peek inside the studio.

Float in Mardis Gras World.
Richard Martin, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Statues at Mardis Gras World.
Bob Jagendorf, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Mardis Gras float at Mardis Gras World.
Erin Pawlicki, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Gorilla statue at Mardi Gras World.
Thomas Hawk, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

[h/t Smithsonian]

Attention Aspiring Astronauts: Arlo Skye Now Has Space-Themed Luggage

Arlo Skye
Arlo Skye

While some travelers are preoccupied with getting their luggage through airport security, the designers at Arlo Skye are thinking bigger. As Condé Nast Traveler reports, the brand's new line of suitcases is inspired by space travel, with high tech features and a sleek, futuristic look.

Arlo Skye was founded in 2016 by alumni from Louis Vuitton and Tumi Inc. They set out to create luggage that emphasized design, with luxury polycarbonate suitcases available in trendy colors like rose gold and custom monogramming.

The company's Space Collection may be its most stylized line yet. It comes with a removable, 10,050-milliamp-hour charger with USB C and A ports for charging phones and other devices. The chrome-colored case is 22 inches tall, 9 inches deep, and 14 inches wide and weighs 8.5 pounds empty.

Space Collection suitcase from Arlo Skye
Arlo Skye

Depending on what type of space traveler you are, you can get one of three designs laser-etched on the bottom of your luggage. There's Moon Shot, Team Human, and Occupy Mars; each engraving comes with a short ode to space and a small picture of its respective celestial body. Like other suitcases made by Arlo Skye, these bags are zipper-free and made from polycarbonate with an aluminum frame.

Whether you're a globetrotter or an aspiring astronaut, the Space Collection from Arlo Skye makes a great travel companion.

Buy it from Arlo Skye for $450.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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Here's How You Can Help Rebuild Paris's Notre-Dame Cathedral

 Kitwood, Getty Images
Kitwood, Getty Images

A fire at Paris’s famed Notre-Dame Cathedral raged for nine hours on Monday, drawing the world’s attention to the partial destruction of one of the best-known cultural monuments on the planet. The efforts of more than 400 firefighters managed to preserve much of the 859-year-old structure, but the roof and spire were destroyed.

Financial support for the building has already come pouring in, with billionaire François-Henri Pinault pledging $113 million toward reconstruction and another billionaire, Bernard Arnault, promising $226 million. A total of roughly $1 billion has come in from donations, but a revitalized Notre-Dame is a considerable expense that could cost even more.

For people who would like to assist, donations are being accepted by the nonprofit French Heritage Society for virtually any amount.

Why will expenses run so high? Prior to the fire, Notre-Dame was in dire need of extensive restoration. Buttresses caused instability to major walls, gargoyles were damaged, and cracks had formed in the now-destroyed spire. The cathedral is owned by the French government, which allots roughly 2 million euros (or about $2.26 million) annually to upkeep. Between the existing wear and the fire, it could take years or possibly decades for the work to be completed.

The publicity surrounding Notre-Dame has also motivated people to assist in rebuilding efforts on a smaller scale, and closer to home. Three churches in Louisiana that were recently targeted in allegedly racist arson attacks saw donations climb from $150,000 to over $1 million following the Notre-Dame fire. You can donate to that GoFundMe campaign here.

[h/t CNN]

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