THE ICON: Henri Schindler
THE LEGACY: Over more than four decades, Henri Schindler has quietly become one of the most important artistic forces behind New Orleans’ annual Carnival celebration, designing beautiful, fanciful Mardi Gras floats, staging elaborate krewe balls and serving as artistic designer for the king of Carnival himself, Rex. But his devotion to the city’s signature party doesn’t stop on Ash Wednesday. Schindler, a Carnival historian, stays busy sharing his knowledge as the author of a series of books and a curator of museum exhibits on Mardi Gras traditions, making him not just key creative contributor to modern Carnival celebrations, but also a crucial keeper of the flame behind them.
THE ARTIST: Alexandra Kilburn
THE INSPIRATION: “Carnival is such a kaleidoscope of color and detail. Even with the large ducal badges, you can’t see it until you’re right there. At a distance, you just see the ribbons. It’s the same with the floats — there are so many details. And the ball, the costumes, where all of this is in motion. It’s all very ephemeral; it was meant to be ephemeral, and that’s why they are treasures.” — Henri Schindler, in a 2006 interview with The Times-Picayune