NEW ORLEANS — The Latest on Mardi Gras celebrations that end with Fat Tuesday, the culmination of the Carnival season (all times local):
Police in the Alabama beach town of Gulf Shores say a car participating in the city’s Fat Tuesday parade accidentally plowed into a band, leaving three young people in critical condition and eight others with less-severe injuries.
City spokesman Grant Brown tells The Associated Press that the band had just entered the parade route Tuesday morning when a car behind the group lurched forward into the group.
Brown says the vehicle struck multiple people, injuring 11 in all. Details on the most severe injuries weren’t immediately available.
Brown says there is no indication the crash was anything other than what he calls a “horrific accident.” Brown says he’s not sure whether the band was from a school in Gulf Shores or elsewhere.
Video and photos from the scene show emergency workers helping the injured on the main highway running toward the beach.
Candace Crawford, a New Yorker who has lived in New Orleans for three years, wore bright leggings and a black shawl from which a grinning skull nestled against her left cheek.
Skeleton hands emerged as if one arm was around her neck and the outer at her waist.
“This is my little skull and bones guardian, and this is his little friend, “she said, while pointing to a skull near her waist. “Everyone’s so colorful at Mardi Gras. I said, ‘Oh. I’m going to darken it up.”
Although clarinetist Pete Fountain died last year, Pete Fountain’s Half-Fast Walking Club strutted from Commander’s Palace restaurant to the French Quarter on Tuesday, tossing beads and doubloons to recordings of his music.
A banner bore a photo of Fountain showing his eyes closed and hands folded in prayer.
That was the only solemn note. Club members were decked out from hat to shoes in nearly fluorescent spring green.
The sidewalk along St. Charles Avenue near Canal Street barely had room for pedestrians. Either there were two rows of chairs or a row of chairs and ladder seats for small children with ice chests and portable benches along a building wall.
Elaine Thomson of Silver Spring, Maryland, in a group of eight, says she’d been there since 7 a.m. Tuesday. The 48-year-old Thomson’s group included two “Mardi Gras virgins” whom she’d met during Day’s Bacchus parade.
Melinda Zetrouer (ZET’-roh-uhr), whose chair was in front of Thomson’s, had arrived at 5:45 a.m. and got the last four front-row spots.
The 56-year-old Zetrouer said she couldn’t count the years since her parents began taking her to parades rather than dropping her off at her grandfather’s house.
Thomson says, “This is my 23rd Mardi Gras. Every year they do it bigger and better.”
She says she’d go back to her hotel after the Rex parade if she could get across the street. She wasn’t sure whether she’d be able to do so before the truck parades began.
Costumes, costumes and more costumes.
And the costumes and creativity were on display Tuesday as hundreds of people gathered in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans for the St. Anne’s parade.
Gabrielle Begue describes her costume as “shrubs, greens, topiary” although she conceded that the leaves festooned around her body were a bit unruly to be called topiary.
Begue and her husband, Erik Winkowski, were dressed as what could best be described as large bushes put together with fake ivy and the liberal use of a glue gun.
Begue said with all of the year’s heated political commentary they wanted outfits that were “full whimsical.”
The St. Anne’s parade is a walking parade that goes from the Bywater and Marigny neighborhoods into the French Quarter and features people wearing an eclectic mix of homemade costumes.
Jim Segreto of New Orleans was a photo magnet with his Trump’s wall costume: blue sateen pants, an Uncle Sam hat and a cardboard box marked with black lines for cinderblocks.
A computer printed label read, “Trump’s $26 billion wall. Mexico offers ‘nada.’ We’re stuck with the bill.”
He says, “Unlike Trump’s plan, it only cost me about 26 cents.”
Segreto says he doesn’t always wear a costume for Mardi Gras.
He says, “This is a political year. This year I had to have something that made a statement.”
A half dozen pirates on the ferry from New Orleans’ west bank sliver were heading across the Mississippi River to join a much bigger crowd on the city’s east bank.
They were all active duty or retired military and families, heading to an annual Navy League breakfast called the Krewe of Eggs.
Charlene Wenrich, wearing an orange-red wig under her tricorn hat, said the group chooses a costume theme each year. “Last year was Harley. This year it’s pirates.”
Gerry (GAR’-ee) Leonard says pirates made for a much easier costume than motorcycle gang members: “You just throw on an earring and you’re good to go.”
The 30 or so people taking the 7 a.m. Tuesday ferry to Canal Street includes a couple of groups in tutus and a half-dozen pirates.
Craig Channell (shuh-NEL’) says, “this is the one time of year people can act like fools and get away with it.”
Channell, his wife, Darlene Channell, and friend Dian Walsh are visiting from Tampa, Florida. Host Bill Tucker is pulling a wagon holding a big cooler and four roll-up chairs.
Tucker says the cooler holds water and soft drinks. All agree that it’s too early for drinking anything stronger.
With three of the four wearing tutus, Tucker is accessorized with a wide studded leather belt. Craig Channell’s costume consists of a jester’s hat. He jokes that his tutu is in the wash.
They went to the glitzy Endymion parade Saturday. Channell says Tampa’s Gasparilla parade cannot compare.
The port city of Mobile, Alabama, is transforming itself into one big parade route for the climax of Mardi Gras season, Fat Tuesday.
Government offices and many businesses will be closed as parades roll almost continuously through the city starting Tuesday morning.
The weather is supposed to be good, and tens of thousands of people are expected to line parade routes trying to catch colorful beads, Moon Pies and Mardi Gras trinkets.
Alabama parades also are planned in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach on the Baldwin County side of Mobile Bay.
New Orleans gets most of the crowds and attention around Mardi Gras, but Mobile bills itself as having the nation’s oldest Mardi Gras celebration.
The Christian season of Lent leading up to Easter begins Wednesday.
Thousands of people are expected to throng the streets for Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans.
Fat Tuesday is the culmination of the city and region’s Carnival season.
Some of the biggest parades will take place along the St. Charles Avenue parade route.
Families, tourists and locals generally set up their chairs and ladders early to get a good seat for catching the trinkets thrown by riders on the floats.
In another part of the city, people dressed in elaborate costumes will take part in the St. Anne’s parade, an eclectic walking parade.
At the stroke of midnight, police on horseback will do a ceremonial clearing of revelers on Bourbon Street to mark the formal end of the Mardi Gras season before Lent begins Wednesday.
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