Carnival season begins in New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Below-freezing temperatures didn’t stop costumed revelers from ushering in the Carnival season aboard a New Orleans streetcar.
Monday night was Twelfth Night, which for many Christians marks the end of the holiday season and the beginning of the overindulgence and debauchery associated with Carnival.
In New Orleans, Twelfth Night is when street parades begin.
“It doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t miss this for anything,” said New Orleans resident Kelley Frank, a cocktail in hand as she adjusted her long shawl against the unusual cold. “This is what we do, what we live for, rain or shine or in this case, freezing.”
In the French Quarter, revelers dressed as knights, peasants and angels paraded to pay homage to Joan of Arc, the martyred girl warrior born on Twelfth Night more than 600 years ago.
In all, more than 100 parades will be held along the U.S. Gulf Coast in the months leading up to Mardi Gras on March 4. The end of Carnival is marked by Ash Wednesday, the day after Fat Tuesday, when Lent begins as the faithful prepare for Easter.