Postcard from... New Orleans


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Revellers in glitzy costumes filled the streets yesterday for Mardi Gras, opening a day of partying, parades and good-natured jostling for beads and trinkets tossed from passing floats.

A retired musician, clarinettist Pete Fountain, rode a mini-float decked out as a trolley ahead of a march by his group, the Half-Fast Walking Club, to kick off what translates as “Fat Tuesday.”

Many dressed up for the occasion. Friends Alexandra Sergutin and Ashley Dornier, both from New Orleans, said donning elegant gowns for the Carnival balls is one of their favourite activities. “It feels good to be a part of that tradition. It really does. It touches your heart,” said Ms Sergutin, “You’re a part of something amazing and big.”

Celebrations also were scheduled throughout south Louisiana and in coastal Mississippi and Alabama. In Louisiana’s swampy bayou parishes, costumed riders on horseback go from farm to farm, collecting ingredients for a huge community gumbo.

Outdoor celebrations were set to cease at midnight, at the beginning of Lent, with New Orleans police usually riding horseback down the French Quarter’s main tourist road, Bourbon Street, to clear the last revellers as the party ends for another year. AP