NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Scattered showers didn't deter revelers Monday as thousands flocked to New Orleans' historic French Quarter and surrounding areas along the Mississippi River for festivities leading up to Mardi Gras.
Despite the weather, Monday's parades proceeded as planned. Those included the Krewe of Orpheus, led by entertainer Harry Connick Jr., and the Krewe of Proteus, the Carnival season's second-oldest krewe dating to 1882 and named after an early Greek sea god.
Despite the rain and cloudy skies, the riverfront throbbed with music as revelers awaited the arrival of the King of Zulu, who toasts the King of Rex. As brass bands played on stages set up along the river, masked and costumed revelers caught beads tossed from French Quarter balconies.
"It's crazy, all these people with no inhibitions," said Robin Danford, of Arlington, Texas, as she walked down Bourbon Street, where many partied and tossed beads and drank.
The National Weather Service has forecast rain for much of Fat Tuesday, when as many as 1 million people traditionally revel in the streets of New Orleans. But so far officials have not canceled any scheduled parades.
The Roman Catholic period of Lent begins on Wednesday and Mardi Gras is the annual festival that leads to that solemn season.
Meanwhile, a shooting Saturday night that wounded four people on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter didn't appear to deter visitors.
Lisa Preston, of Charlotte, N.C., said she was determined to enjoy her first Mardi Gras season in New Orleans.
"I'm having a blast," she said, sporting a purple hat, her neck draped with numerous strands of beads. "After the shooting, I'm keeping my eyes open, but Mardi Gras has really been a lot of fun."
Monday's festivities also included New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu saluting the parade kings of Zulu and Rex.