Families turn out for Mardi Gras in New Orleans

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) Developments on Tuesday, Feb. 13, on Mardi Gras (all times Central Standard Time).

  • 12:00 p.m.

Families were out in force for Fat Tuesday in New Orleans.

Throngs of people were on the median for the final day of Mardi Gras, cooking up crawfish and red beans and rice. Others had set up ladders for their kids to sit on and catch beads and throws from the passing Zulu parade.

Joseph Rhyans moved to Houston in 2002 but said he tries to come back every year. He called Mardi Gras a “family thing” and he wants to teach his kids about it.

The Zulu parade will be followed by the Rex parade and then two truck parades. Families usually pack up and go home after that although celebrations in the French Quarter extend into the late evening before police do a ceremonial clearing of the streets at midnight.

  • 11:25 a.m.

Mardi Gras is when you come across alligators _ or maybe dragons _ from Boston taking photos of two-headed dragons from Wichita, Kansas, in the French Quarter.

They were among more than 100 people, many of them costumed, in Jackson Square about 10 a.m., as French Quarter festivities got under way on Fat Tuesday and a morning chill began warming up.

Zulu, the first parade, was already rolling on a route that ends on Canal street, the edge of the Quarter, with crowds jostling and shouting for beads, toy spears and Zulu’s signature painted coconuts.

Nearby, a street preacher shouted that people in the crowd were heading for damnation. He was backed up by about 50 followers and surrounded by a small crowd, most of them hecklers.

The religious group left after a few minutes of ear busting reggae and samba music.

  • 9:00 a.m.

Staying warm was a major theme of this year’s costumes on Fat Tuesday in New Orleans.

On the 7:30 a.m. ferry from New Orleans’ West Bank to Canal Street, Tracy Thomas wore a fuzzy, hooded pink zip-up suit over other clothes. She described her costume as her warm and comfortable pajamas.

She and neighbor Christine Stephens were headed to what has become their traditional Mardi Gras breakfast spot. Then they were going to get a good spot outside a po’boy sandwich shop to watch the Zulu parade.

Stephens wore a lavender wig, black pants, jacket and top hat and lacy lavender half-gloves. She described her costume as a cross between Goth and Lolita. Then she changed that to pastel Goth. She said she decided to forego a short skirt because it’s cold.

Tuesday’s forecast was for cloudy skies, temperatures in the 60s (15 Celsius), and a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms.

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