Posts tagged Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World
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.
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.
The Second Annual Blush Ball, Mardi Gras kickoff celebration with the Pussyfooters Marching club and service organization was an event not to be missed! Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World (Westbank) was the perfect location for a Mardi Gras Party. The featured artists were Big Sam’s Funky Nation, DJ Soul Sister, the Mardi Gras Indians, the 610 Stompers, and the Pussyfooters.
This was a party with a purpose- a portion of proceeds went to support the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children. Visit metrobatteredwomen.com for more info. Metro provides victims of abuse with a crisis line, counseling and legal advocacy, and shelter services throughout the Greater New Orleans area.
Here’s a photo of my friend Jack underneath the Bacchusaurus