The Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum, named for successor and daughter of Count Arnaud, opened in the French Quarter restaurant on September 15, 1983. Wells reportedly reigned as queen of over twenty-two Mardi Gras balls from 1937 to 1968, more than any other women in the history of Carnival.
The museum brings together more than two dozen lavish Mardi Gras costumes, including 13 of Mrs. Wells’ queen costumes, one of her mother’s and one of her daughter’s, as well as four king’s costumes worn by Count Arnaud, (whose title was entirely local and honorary) and six children’s costumes.
The oldest costume in the exhibit, Germaine’s Empress gown, was worn by Germaine’s mother, Lady Irma, in 1941. As the Queen of Iris, she portrayed “Good Queen Bess.” The most recent gown is Germaine’s as Queen of Hera, 1968.
The collection is enhanced by more than 70 vintage photographs, fabulous Carnival masks and faux jewels, elaborate krewe invitations and party favors. The traditional colors of Mardi Gras–purple, green and gold, symbolizing justice, faith and power–shimmer throughout.
Viewing of the priceless collection and memorabilia is free to the public during restaurant hours seven days a week.