Mardi Gras Festivities in Full Force After Rain Delays

The weather was sunny and mild Sunday as revelers in this fun-starved city gathered for a day-long extravaganza of Carnival-season parades, including two of the biggest and glitziest.

The two big processions ordinarily are held on separate days in the big pre-Mardi Gras weekend, but a threat of thunderstorms on Saturday prompted the Krewe of Endymion to postpone its parade by a day.

That put Endymion in line to follow the Krewe of Bacchus through the Uptown neighborhood on Sunday night.

Crowds were being warmed up by three afternoon parades, by the krewes of Okeanos, Thoth and Mid-City.

The sunny weather and party atmosphere provided a sense of optimism for New Orleans six months after Hurricane Katrina flooded 80 percent of the city and dispersed more than two-thirds of the population.

The city's major newspaper, The Times-Picayune, ran a front page story Sunday with the headline "6 months later, recovery gaining focus."

The annual Carnival season winds up on Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, which is marked by parades and street parties through the city. In stricter days, the Carnival season was the last chance to use up all the fat in the larder and kick it up a bit before the austerity and fasting of Lent.