New Orleans revelers face a soggy Fat Tuesday
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Parades managed to roll Sunday despite inclement weather, but Monday's Lundi Gras celebrations may not be so lucky.
Lundi Gras — Fat Monday — includes the final festivities before Mardi Gras. Forecasters say rain threatens Monday's parade of the Krewe of Orpheus, the star-studded group led by entertainer Harry Connick Jr.
And Fat Tuesday could be a wet one: The National Weather Service forecasts rain for much of the day, when traditionally as many as 1 million people revel in the streets.
Wars and even a police strike have prevented Fat Tuesday parades from rolling several times, but only once — in 1933 — has foul weather led to the cancellation of the Rex parade, according to Mardi Gras historian Arthur Hardy. Rex's parading history dates back to 1872.
"It's not looking good, but we're still hoping," Hardy said of Tuesday's forecast. "Winds are much more damaging than rain. That's the ultimate concern."
Hardy said it would be a "mighty sad day" if stormy weather nixed the big Mardi Gras parades this year.
City officials have the ultimate authority to decide whether a parade will roll.
"But it's always done in cooperation with the (krewe's) captain," he added.
If parades on Tuesday are canceled they would not be rescheduled. Lent begins on Wednesday. Mardi Gras is the festival that leads to the solemn season.
The inclement weather and a shooting Saturday night on Bourbon Street didn't appear to dampen the spirits of visitors.
Lisa Preston of Charlotte, N.C., said she was determined to enjoy her first Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
"I'm having a blast," she said, sporting a purple top hat and neck full of beads. "After the shooting, I'm keeping my eyes open, but Mardi Gras has really been a lot of fun, and the food. Oh my goodness, the gumbo here is out of this world."
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