Jacoby Jones, Ed Reed and Warren Sapp ride in Zulu
Mardi Gras 2013 played out under cloudy but mostly rain-free skies and thousands jammed the St. Charles Avenue parade route to enjoy the celebration.
82-year-old Pete Fountain and his Half Fast Marching Club entertained parade-goers in advance of the arrival of the Zulu parade whose procession included a float bearing Jacoby Jones and Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens and NFL Hall of Fame inductee Warren Sapp. Jones also was joined on the ride by his mother.
"This a blessing man, this is awesome. I love my city, I love my home town," Reed told reporters.
Tom Benson and his wife Gayle watched the passing parades with Archbishop Gregory Aymond at Gallier Hall.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu arrived at Gallier Hall on a white horse as he was escorted by members of the NOPD's mounted patrol.
Despite threatening skies, the Mardi Gras party carried on as thousands of costumed revelers cheered glitzy floats with make-believe monarchs in an all-out bash before Lent.
Crowds were a little smaller than recent years, perhaps influenced by the forecast of rain. Still, parades went off as scheduled even as a fog settled over the riverfront and downtown areas.
Police, who had to deal with massive waves of visitors — first for Super Bowl and then for Mardi Gras — reported no major problems.
The family side of Mardi Gras unfolded along St. Charles Avenue.
Cliff Kenwood and his wife, Jennie, of New Orleans, brought their two children — 8-year-old Ivy and 6-year-old Jack — to the festivities. Each was dressed as a skeleton and Cliff Kenwood wore a banner around his hat referencing the recent publishing changes to the city's newspaper — The Times-Picayune.
The costumes poked fun at the paper's decision to cut back from a daily publishing schedule to three days a week. "We're black, white and dead all over," Jennie Kenwood said laughing.
On Bourbon Street, women wore bustiers, fishnet stockings, bikini bottoms and little else. Some flashed flesh to attract the attention of people throwing beads from balconies.
"We're a flock of peacocks," said Laura Komarek, a recent New Orleans transplant from Minneapolis who moved to the Big Easy for a teaching job. Komarek and a group of friends walked Bourbon Street wearing leotards and large colorful feathers on their bottoms.
The costumes were plentiful. There were cows, bees, pirates and jesters. One reveler rode through the French Quarter on a bike dressed in a U.S. Postal Service jersey adorned with syringes, referencing the doping scandal for the famed cyclist.
Three men identifying themselves as the "Superdome lighting crew" dressed in jump suits with home-made patches reading "Entergy" and name tags saying Larry, Shemp and Curly, a nod to the comedy troupe The Three Stooges.
Peter Menge, 41, of New Orleans, said the power company was an easy target for lampooning after the 34-minute blackout during the Super Bowl. "The power just goes out here a lot," he said.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)