Cold, gray day doesn’t stop Mardi Gras revelers

Die-hards, some in Mardi Gras costumes, braved the weather along the traditional St. Charles Avenue parade route and in the French Quarter.

“We’ll drink, drink, drink until it gets drier,” said Dean Cook of New Orleans as he walked Bourbon Street dressed as a pirate with vampire fangs.

“Mermaids love the water,” he said of his wife, Terrina Cook, who was dressed in a shiny blue mermaid costume, complete with a fin.

Ronnie Davis, a professor of economics at the University of New Orleans, decided to break his button-down image for at least one day. Clad in tutus, he and his wife, Arthurine, stood along the avenue watching the Krewe of Zulu’s floats roll by.

“All year I have to dress professionally. This is the one time I get to act like a fool,” Davis said.

Celebrations were scheduled throughout south Louisiana and in coastal Mississippi and Alabama, sharing the traditions brought by French colonists in the 18th century.

In Louisiana’s bayou parishes, riders on horseback would go from town to town, making merry in what is called the Courir du Mardi Gras.

The merriment must come to a halt at midnight, when the solemn season of Lent begins. New Orleans police were expected to sweep down Bourbon Street at midnight in the annual ritual of letting revelers know the party is over for another year.

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