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February 24, 2009
Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras is a sea of waving arms, strange costumes, anguished pleas for plastic beads and other gewgaws. And continuous shouts of "Hey," ''Hey" ''Hey." The nation may be locked in hard times, but the Zulu riders had exactly what the massed humanity below craved along a 6-mile parade route. Despite the sagging economy, tourism officials hoped to match last year's crowd of about 750,000. Before Hurricane Katrina, Fat Tuesday typically brought in about 1 million people. Hotels were at 90 percent capacity, according to Mary Beth Romig, spokeswoman for the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. A shooting along St. Charles Avenue, where first Zulu, then Rex -- the old-line krewe that claims the king and queen of Carnival -- and the seemingly endless truck float parade roll throughout the day, sent at least seven people to the hospital with what police described as non-life-threatening injuries. (21 images)


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Floats from the Zulu parade roll down St. Charles Avenue throwing beads and coconuts on Mardi Gras day on Feb. 24, in New Orleans, La. Getty Images / Chris Graythen


 

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Revelers wait for beads to fall from a balcony on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras on Tuesday in New Orleans, La. Getty Images / Chris Graythen



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Martin Sullivan of Charleston, S.C. celebrates Mardi Gras half-shaven in a towel and slippers in New Orleans Tuesday, Feb. 24. AP / Patrick Semansky



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Floats from the Zulu parade roll down St. Charles Avenue on Mardi Gras day on Feb. 24, in New Orleans, La. The Mardi Gras celebration ends at midnight, Tuesday, when the Catholic Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday. Getty Images / Chris Graythen



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Floats from the Zulu parade roll down St. Charles Avenue throwing beads and coconuts on Mardi Gras day on Feb. 24, in New Orleans, La. Getty Images / Chris Graythen



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Riders in the Krewe of Rex parade through the city during Mardi Gras day on Feb. 24, in New Orleans, La. Getty Images / Chris Graythen



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Riders in the Krewe of Rex parade through the city during Mardi Gras day on Feb. 24, in New Orleans. Getty Images / Chris Graythen



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Mardi Gras revelers walk up and down on Bourbon Street on Mardi Gras day on Feb. 24, in New Orleans, La. Getty Images / Chris Graythen



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Mardi Gras revelers walk up and down on Bourbon Street on Mardi Gras day on Feb. 24, in New Orleans, La. Getty Images / Chris Graythen



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Floats from the Zulu parade roll down St. Charles Avenue throwing beads and coconuts on Mardi Gras day on Feb. 24, in New Orleans, La. Getty Images / Chris Graythen



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A reveler walks along Bourbon Street with a stack of beads around his neck during Mardi Gras day on Feb. 24, in New Orleans, La. Getty Images / Chris Graythen



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A masked reveler stands with the Society of St. Cecilia on Royal Street on Mardi Gras in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 24. Carnival revelers were greeted with clear weather for Mardi Gras. AP / Alex Brandon



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Revelers throw and catch beads as the Zulu parade rolls down St. Charles Avenue on Mardi Gras in New Orleans Tuesday, Feb. 24. AP / Alex Brandon



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Christara Warner, 9, of the Cheyenne Mardi Gras Indian tribe adjusts her crown before marching in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 24. AP / Patrick Semansky



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Riders throw beads to the crowd during the Zulu parade as they roll down St. Charles Avenue on Mardi Gras in New Orleans Tuesday, Feb. 24. AP / Patrick Semansky



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A Mardi Gras reveler parades through the streets of the central business district in New Orleans, Tuesday. AP / Alex Brandon



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People reach for Mardi Gras beads thrown from a float in the Zulu parade as it winds its way through the streets of the central business district in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 24. AP / Alex Brandon



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People come to the aid of an unidentified victim at the scene where at least five people were shot and two suspects were taken into custody in a shooting incident along the Mardi Gras parade route in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 24. AP / Sam Horton



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A rider looks to throw his beads during the Krewe of Bacchus parade in the Uptown area of New Orleans Sunday, Feb. 22. AP / Alex Brandon



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A rider in the Thoth parade holds his beads before throwing them in the Uptown area of New Orleans Sunday, Feb. 22. AP / Alex Brandon



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Parade goers yell for beads and other trinkets during the Thoth parade in the Uptown area of New Orleans Sunday, Feb. 22. Carnival revelers were greeted with good weather for the weekend before Mardi Gras Feb. 24. AP / Alex Brandon



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