NEW ORLEANS >> Mardi Gras season is kicking into high gear with a slew of major parades throughout New Orleans.
Parade-goers took to the streets today to watch the Krewe of Cork pay homage to wine in the French Quarter and the first parades that pass along the city’s famed St. Charles Ave.
Some residents already tried to reserve a seat for the festivities by putting out ladders earlier this week but city officials removed them.
There are also some more offbeat parades like the Krewe of Chewbacchus on Saturday, which pays homage to science fiction and Krewe of Barkus on Sunday that features dressed-up dogs.
Although Carnival season officially began Jan. 6, the festivities really kick into high gear the two weekends ahead of Fat Tuesday. This year Fat Tuesday is Feb. 13.
Throngs of people converge on New Orleans’ streets to watch the long parades of floats, bands and marching groups and to reach for the beads and other swag the float riders throw out.
Don Westman and Misty Gertge, a young couple from Denver, strolled Bourbon Street decked out in Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold as they took in the sights of their first Carnival, which included a couple dressed as pirates and a man dressed as Donald Trump holding a sign that said, “Fake News.”
“This was on my bucket list,” said Westman, wearing beads around his neck while sipping a cocktail.
Many revelers wore jackets and scarves after temperatures dipped into the 50s.
“I packed for every kind of weather,” said Gertge, wearing large furry purple, green and gold leg warmers.
This year has seen a bit of ribbing between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama, over who has the stronger claim to Mardi Gras. Alabama’s state tourism agency purchased 10 billboards around New Orleans and southern Mississippi to promote the Carnival season in Mobile.
Rather than mentioning Mobile, they tell drivers how many miles they are from “America’s original Mardi Gras.”
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson tweeted a photo of one of the billboards at New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landreiu and said Mobile would love to “show you how it’s done!”
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu responded, saying: “That was then and this is now.”
“There’s only one great Mardi Gras in the world,” he added.