Archive for October, 2010
Well, well, well. I thought the Kerns had kissed and made up, at the urging of Bacchus Captain Pip Brennan and Endymion Captain Ed Muniz. They may have made up publicly, but the suits Barry Kern filed to dump his Dad as head of the family company remain on file.
A separate suit filed in Orleans Parish is also continuing. In it, Mardi Gras World LLC (MGW) is suing Blaine Kern and BKA, claiming that BKA has violated its licensing agreement and moved property from MGW’s warehouse on the Mississippi riverfront.
That petition for injunction was filed Sept. 15 and claims that the defendants “removed inventory from the plaintiff’s business and have threatened to continue to remove inventory.” MGW and BKA have a licensing deal, a copy of which was attached to the petition, that grants MGW “exclusive license” for all property – including floats, props, costumes and sculptures – possessing a “Mardi Gras theme.”
According to court papers, MGW sought a temporary restraining order against BKA to prevent Blaine Kern or his employees from removing any more Mardi Gras property. A September hearing was continued until Oct. 28 after plaintiffs filed an amended petition for injunction.
New Orleans attorneys Randall Smith, Stephen Gele and Zach Butterworth represent Barry Kern.
New Orleans attorney Stephen Dwyer represents MGW.
New Orleans attorney Marc Stein is listed as the registered agent for BKA.
It was a short public feud, less than 1 month. There’s so much money for the Kerns at stake, some of the major krewe captains, notably Owen ‘Pip’ Brennan (Bacchus Captain) and Ed Muniz (Endymion Captain) got the Kerns to sit down by inviting the father and son to a meeting without telling each other. It was a classic usage of the Take Away Sale- If you don’t kiss and make up, we’ll take away Bacchus and other key krewes.
This is a hollow threat, there’s no other float builder around to take up the slack if the Kerns don’t build the major krewes. Carnival is less than 6 months away, and that’s go time in the float building business. Only Blaine Kern Artists have the size to build Bacchus, Rex, Endymion, Muses, Alla, Orpheus, and many more parades at once.
It’s very ironic that a Brennan was called to settle this family feud, since the Brennans have a large family and have been feuding in and out of the newspapers for decades
The family survived a rift that left the children of the late Owen Sr. about as disposed toward their aunts and uncles — Adelaide, John, Ella, Dick and Dottie — and their 11 children as the Hatfields were disposed toward the McCoys. Since 1974, when the feud split the business, Owen’s children — Pip, Jimmy and Ted — have run the family’s original restaurant, Brennan’s, on Royal Street.
At the same time, Ella, Dick, Adelaide, Dottie and John took over Commander’s Palace in the Garden District and built it into one of the 10 top grossing restaurants in the United States. Adelaide, who did not have children, died in 1983. Ella, Dick, Dottie and John continued to run Commander’s and built five other restaurants — Mr. B’s, Palace Cafe and Ristorante Bacco in New Orleans, Brennan’s and Third Coast in Houston.
I know Barry, Blaine Sr, Blaine Jr, and Holly Brown from many dealings. In 2006, I was asked to put together a Mardi Gras Music Compilation, and Blaine and Barry agreed to sponsor it. The next day, I’m called to a meeting at Mardi Gras World, and I’m told the CD won’t feature Professor Longhair and Al Carnival Time Johnson, but none other than Ms. Holly Brown.
Vince Vance from Vince Vance & the Valiants was called to produce the CD, and was asked to add a few of his excellent Mardi Gras tunes to the mix. Blaine sells the CD from a little stand for 5 years in his Gift Shops, so it probably sells fairly well. Holly was the new girlfriend at the time, and when she exerted complete control of the situation and Blaine, I knew she was a keeper.
Now, 5 years later, Blaine and Holly marry. Blaine fires Barry as Company President on August 31. Barry sues Blaine a month later, claiming Holly has been interfering with the business for years. Where was Kern Artists Executive Secretary Pixie Naquin in all this? Unfortunately, Pixie passed away recently, leaving the Kern men to their own devices, and that resulted in the lawsuit. You can see the huge role Pixie played as a peacemaker within the family now that she’s gone.