Archive for April, 2011



The owner of the world-famous Mardi Gras World has been ordered to relinquish his title and give ownership of the float-building company to his son.

Orleans Parish Civil District Judge Reese Kern made the ruling today, forcing Blaine Kern Sr. to hand over ownership of the company to Barry Kern at a shareholders meeting April 26.

Judge Reese Kern

Judge Reese Kern

Blaine Kern Sr. founded the company more than 50 years ago and provides floats for the majority of Mardi Gras Krewes that ride during New Orleans’ carnival season, including Rex, Bacchus, Endymion, Alla, Orpheus, and Caesar.

Barry Kern filed a suit against his father Oct. 1, 2010, to evict him “from any directorial or officer position” and to appoint “a receiver to manage and/or dissolve” Blaine Kern Artists (BKA).

That lawsuit made headlines across southeast Louisiana and, and just two days later, the Times-Picayune reported that an intermediary team composed of the Captains of Endymion and Bacchus had stepped in for Blaine and Barry Kern and resolved their differences.

Six months later, Barry Kern sued his father again, claiming Blaine Kern Sr. “failed and refused to consummate the agreement.” A violation of the October agreement requires the violating party to pay $100,000 to the other party, according to the suit.

The suit alleged that Blaine Kern Sr. had agreed in part to sell his shares of the company to Barry Kern, “including payment of debts of Blaine Kern, Sr., lease of facilities owned by Blaine Kern Sr., and a lifetime consulting contract with Blain Kern Sr.”

Blaine Kern Sr. improperly acted as a manager of BKA, the suit alleged. Kern allegedly fired his other son, Brian Kern, asked for BKA to pay his personal expenses and demanded the cashier at Mardi Gras World to give him money from the cash register.

The suit claimed “Blaine Kern Sr. has no right to exercise any managerial control over BKA. “The agreements between Barry and Blaine Kern were arranged by Owen “Pip” Bennan, the captain of the Mardi Gras krewe Bacchus, the suit said.

The meetings resulted in a seven-point letter of intent and a four-point agreement, which essentially transferred control of BKA from father to son.  Soon after the agreement was announced, a recorded offer of settlement was filed in Orleans Parish on Oct. 5, according to court documents. The case remains active under Judge Michael Bagneris.

The original suit stated Barry Kern is seeking control of BKA because his father, 83, has acted under the influence of his fourth wife, Holly Brown, who is nearly 50 years younger than him.

The October suit alleged that Blaine Kern’s spending has made BKA “technically insolvent” and that the company has bounced payroll checks to employees. It also claims that Blaine Kern named Brown as co-captain and treasurer of Blaine Kern’s Krewe of Halloween in the Boo Carre, which has failed to make timely payments on equipment and materials provided by BKA.

The suit also makes the claim that Blaine Kern improperly fired Barry Kern, who was named president of BKA in 1995 after successfully running similar companies in Europe, Las Vegas and Orlando. Barry Kern has since resigned as president even though the suit claims Blaine Kern had no authority to fire his son.

Brown is not mentioned in the most recent suit filed by Barry Kern.

New Orleans attorneys Randall Smith, Stephen Gele and Melissa Desormeaux are representing Kern.

Barry Kern Lawsuit Hearing Set For Friday


The dominant float building company in New Orleans continues to air its dirty laundry publicly. A hearing has been scheduled for Friday in the  civil suit filed by Barry Kern, who once again, is suing for control of the New Orleans float-building enterprise that his father, Blaine Kern Sr., founded.

Blaine Kern

Blaine Kern

Barry Kern

Barry Kern

This is the biggest float production company in New Orleans, and possibly the world. They build Rex, Bacchus, Endymion, Muses, Orpheus, Alla, and many other parades. They travel around the world building floats and props for a myriad of uses and users.

Barry Kern, the president of Blaine Kern Artists, is seeking an injunction to keep his 83-year-old father “from interfering with the management of the company,” said Randall Smith, the younger Kern’s attorney.  Barry Kern must be awfully upset to sue his octogenarian father. When you sue your elderly parent, you generally lose the public relations battle before it starts.

This is the latest chapter in a feud that went public last fall, when Barry Kern filed a suit alleging that Blaine Kern Artists was a company in fiscal crisis. He laid much of the blame at the feet of Holly Brown Kern, the elder Kern’s fourth wife, saying she was responsible for a big increase in her husband’s spending, often with company money.

Now I have some experience with Holly Brown Kern from before she was married to Blaine, and she controlled him pretty good back then.  I am sure Holly is pulling a lot of strings behind the scenes now.

That dispute was settled in an agreement between the Kerns that was witnessed by leaders of three major Carnival organizations: Bacchus, Endymion and Rex, who also are longtime Kern clients.

But in the suit filed this week, Barry Kern claimed his father had not lived up to the pact, in which he agreed to sell his stock in the company to his son and attend a shareholders meeting where Barry Kern, 48, would be elected president. Whoever failed to live up to these terms would have to pay $100,000 plus attorneys fees to the other Kern, the agreement stated.

“We need to resolve who’s running the company so that customers can feel comfortable about paying their bills and move forward with planning for Mardi Gras 2012,” Smith said.

Judge Kern Reese will conduct the 9 a.m. hearing.


Barry & Blaine Kern

Barry & Blaine Kern

The most renowned and biggest Mardi Gras float builder is feuding publicly again. The family organization that builds Rex, Bacchus, Orpheus, Endymion, and Zulu, among other icon parades in New Orleans has their dirty laundry out for all to see.

The son of famous Mardi Gras float designer Blaine Kern has once more filed suit against his eighty three year old father, this time claiming the elder Kern has reneged on an agreement they made in October.

Barry Kern filed suit against his father Blaine last year in an attempt to oust him from the family float business, but local Mardi Gras krewe captains built a truce.  When Barry last filed suit, key Mardi Gras Captains forged a truce which was they believed was forever but…

Barry Kern announced Thursday that he is again suing his father.  Here’s the lawsuit.

“No one is more saddened than I that my father has refused to honor the agreements we publicly made on October 5, 2010,” said Barry Kern in a statement. “I have been trying for six months to have him do so, but we cannot wait any longer. I love my dad, but I have been forced to act to protect him, my family, our company, our employees, and the best interests of Mardi Gras.”

In the suit Barry Kern alleges that Blaine Kern has interfered with his son’s managerial control in several ways, including: firing his other son, Brian Kern; demanding payments for personal expenses; reducing a contract with a client that put it below the amount needed just to meet costs; and appearing at the cash register at Mardi Gras World, demanding cash.

The original suit in October, 2010, contended that Blaine Kern had mismanaged the business, leaving it “technically insolvent.” Blaine Kern replied at the time that he had fired his son as company president for running the business into the ground.

Blaine Kern said this evening he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

Blaine and Holly before marriage

Blaine and Holly before marriage

Go to Top