NEW ORLEANS — Mardi Gras partyers swarmed the French Quarter on Saturday and lined the city's streets to grab beads thrown by strangely costumed people on parade floats.
"It's the greatest party you've ever been to," said 70-year-old Jim Hennosy of Dublin, Ohio, as he downed a beer at 11 a.m. at Molly's at the Market, a bar near Bourbon Street. "The whole place is partying, that's why we come down."
A few bar stools away, Carolina Greene was wearing three strands of multicolored beads and working on her third beer since 6 a.m.
"I'm getting primed for whatever happens," said the 39-year-old lumber saleswoman from Tchula, Miss.
The party will last in heavily Roman Catholic southern Louisiana and along much of the Gulf Coast until Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, traditionally the last day of feasting and celebration before Ash Wednesday and the sacrifices of Lent.