The Latest: Fat Tuesday gets off to an early morning start


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on Mardi Gras in New Orleans (all times local):

7:45 a.m.

Fat Tuesday is getting off to an early morning start.

Before sunrise Tuesday about one hundred people turned out at the Backstreet Cultural Museum to see the North Side Skull & Bone Gang come out.

The gang is a longtime Mardi Gras tradition. They wear costumes resembling skeletons with paper mache masks covering their heads and go through the neighborhood waking people up on Fat Tuesday.

Dabne Whitemore came to the door in her white bathrobe after hearing the gang and their drums coming from down the street.

She said she’s been living in the neighborhood for about 15 years and called the tradition “wonderful.”

Fat Tuesday marks the end of the Mardi Gras season before the beginning of Lent, a period of penance and spiritual renewal.

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4:05 a.m.

People across New Orleans Tuesday are marking the culmination of the Mardi Gras season with elaborate floats, eccentric costumes and marching bands.

Mardi Gras is the city’s biggest tourist attraction, and thousands of people have converged on the city in recent weeks to see the elaborate parades, floats, marching bands and dance groups that wind through the city’s streets.

The day kicks off with the Krewe of Zulu parade put on by the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, a historically black organization in New Orleans. Their parade dates back to roughly 1910. Then the Rex Organization, which dates back to 1872, will take to the streets.

After Rex comes two truck parades, also along St. Charles Ave. and that marks the end of the major parades in the city until next year.

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