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A float in the Rex Parade turns onto Canal Street amid crowds of revelers on Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rusty Costanza / Getty Images

Lorraine Summers of New Orleans is dressed as Medusa while celebrating Mardi Gras in the French Quarter.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rusty Costanza / Getty Images

A reveler dances in the street to a group of drummers in the French Quarter.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: DAN ANDERSON / EPA

A Mardi Gras reveler temptingly dangles a string of beads from a balcony above Bourbon Street.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rusty Costanza / Getty Images

Revelers gather for the start of the Society of Saint Anne walking parade in the Bywater section of New Orleans during Mardi Gras day. Overcast skies and the threat of rain couldn't dampen the revelry of Mardi Gras as parades took to the streets, showering costumed merrymakers with trinkets of all kinds.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

A Trojan horse float makes its way through the crowd as revelers gather for the start of the Society of Saint Anne walking parade in the Bywater section of New Orleans.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

Babbette Hines, left, and Carol Jean Dixon, both of New Orleans, pose with their costumes representing sad ladies of the night, inspired by Storyville photographer E.J. Bellocq, before the start of the Society of Saint Anne walking parade in the Bywater section of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

Revelers gather for the start of the Society of Saint Anne walking parade in the Bywater section of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. FEMA markings from Hurricane Katrina are still displayed on the wall.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

Revelers gather for the start of the Society of Saint Anne walking parade in the Bywater section of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

The crowds scream as a float rides down the street during the Krewe of Bacchus Parade in New Orleans. Mardi Gras festivities will be happening all weekend long culminating with Fat Tuesday.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: DAN ANDERSON / EPA

Revelers yell for beads and trinkets during the Krewe of Orpheus Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

Tudda Honore, 6, performs as a drum major with the Roots of Music marching band during the Krewe of Bacchus Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

Flambeaus parade down St. Charles Avenue during the Krewe of Orpheus Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

Cardale Waterhouse gets a helping hand from an older band member as he marches with the Medard Nelson Charter School band during the Krewe of Mid-City Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

Mardi Gras revelers walk through the French Quarter on Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rusty Costanza / Getty Images

Victoria Mendel, 15, of New Orleans, rests between Mardi Gras parades on Napoleon Avenue in New Orleans.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

People walk near the 400 block of Bourbon Street in the French Quarter in New Orleans.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

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Mardi Gras 2013 shifts into high gear with Fat Tuesday in New Orleans

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Mardi Gras 2013 shifts into high gear with Fat Tuesday in New Orleans

Overcast skies and the threat of rain couldn’t dampen the revelry of Mardi Gras in New Orleans as parades took to the streets Tuesday, showering costumed merrymakers with trinkets of all kinds.

The parades began around dawn, led by clarinetist Pete Fountain and his Half-Fast Marching Club. Later, the Zulu krewe and the parade of Rex, King of Carnival, rolled down stately St. Charles Avenue to the business district.

Along the uptown parade route, some families camped out overnight to stake out choice spots to view parades.

Though crowds seemed a little thinner than normal, perhaps due to the weather, revelers were out in costume and eating and drinking themselves silly in the traditional last bash before Lent.

Throughout the day, street bands and costumed revelers will be parading through the city’s old quarter as big floats and marching bands parade on the major thoroughfares.

– Associated Press

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