NEW ORLEANS — A cold, gray day greeted revelers gathering Tuesday along parade routes as the Carnival season in New Orleans headed to a crest with the unabashed celebration of Mardi Gras.
The first street marching groups, including clarinetist Pete Fountain's Half-Fast Walking Club, were to begin their marches along oak-lined St. Charles Avenue and into the business district.
The Zulu parade began on schedule, led by a New Orleans police vanguard on horseback that included Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Later, the floats of Rex, the king of Carnival, and hundreds of truck trailers decorated by family and social groups would wind down St. Charles Avenue.
Light rain began to fall early in the morning in New Orleans, and umbrellas sprouted along the parade route. Sleet was expected to fall on some merrymakers in areas north and west of the city.
But revelers were still expected to gather by the tens of thousands in the French Quarter, where the bawdy side of Mardi Gras was expected to be on full display.