Continued from page 2

Alison Scott, 35, of New Orleans, was part of a group that had a small city of tents and canopies set up at Lee Circle. She and her family had been coming to the spot for about 40 years. “Believe me, I’m always glad to get here and then I’m always glad to go home,” she said.

Her 6-year-old daughter, Shannon, was asleep nearby under a blanket of beads.

“She just pooped out. This is the first time she’s stopped. She’s been so excited all day,” Scott said.

In the Cajun country of southwest Louisiana, masked riders went from town to town, making merry along the way in the Courir du Mardi Gras. And parades were scheduled elsewhere around Louisiana and on the Gulf coasts of Mississippi and Alabama.

The celebration arrived in Louisiana in 1682 when the explorer LaSalle and his party stopped at a place they called Bayou Mardi Gras south of New Orleans to celebrate.

Parading and street revelry would give way to Mardi Gras‘ elegant side, with the lavish and private grand balls of the Rex and Comus krewes on Tuesday night signaling the traditional end of the celebration. Carnival 2012’s French Quarter party, however, will officially end when officers on horseback clear Bourbon St at midnight as Mardi Gras gives way to the beginning of Lent, the period of fasting and repentance before Easter Sunday.