NEW ORLEANS – Wet streets, puddles and soggy ground greeted the faithful revelers who braved rainy forecasts threatening to wash out Mardi Gras, New Orleans' biggest free show.
Freddie Zeigler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Slidell, La., said there's an 80 percent chance of rain Tuesday, with showers likely hitting in the pre-dawn hours along Louisiana's coast and moving into the metro area around sunrise. Still, lulls are predicted throughout the day.
"It's going to be dicey though for parades, but it all depends on how fast that warm front moves to the north," Zeigler said.
Fat Tuesday kicks off with the Zulu parade, which rolls at 8 a.m., followed by Rex two hours later.
Still, rain or shine, many revelers planned to hit the streets early Tuesday morning.
"We're going to get here extremely early," said Carly Gerhard, who drove with a friend from Philadelphia to New Orleans over the weekend — through storms that spawned tornadoes along the way — for her first Mardi Gras experience.
Gerhard said her most memorable experience so far has been the French Quarter.
"My favorite part was getting to Bourbon Street and seeing all the different people," she said. "The diversity is pretty cool. We're looking forward to the parades. We're looking forward to it all."
Frank Warford, of Riverdale, Ga., was holding an umbrella Monday as he walked Bourbon Street. He said he was ready to party through the rain.
"This is a party city. Everybody's partying and having fun, catching beads like crazy," said Warford, his neck draped in beads. "If it rains, put a hat on. It's as simple as that."
Katiey Diamond, of Sayreville, N.J., said rain won't ruin her Mardi Gras.
"I'll party if it's freaking thundering," she exclaimed. "We've got indoors. We're good."
Scattered showers didn't keep revelers away Monday either as thousands flocked to the French Quarter and along the Mississippi River for Lundi Gras festivities.
As local brass bands played on stages set up along the river, Jim and Sheron Rogers, of Bay St. Louis, Miss., beers in hand, said they hadn't missed a Mardi Gras since 1990, and that come rain or shine they were taking in this one.
"We just love it," Sheron Rogers said. "The people, the music. It's just a beautiful, fun city."
Many said they weren't going to let the rain or weekend shooting on Bourbon Street wreck the party.
"You can't let the threat keep you from having a good time," Jim Rogers said.
Deron Bridgewater, 23, of Marrero, La., faces four counts of attempted first-degree murder for the weekend's quadruple shooting during the final weekend of revelry that culminates with Mardi Gras.
Bridgewater surrendered Monday after seeing his photograph on a television newscast Sunday night, New Orleans police spokesman Frank B. Robertson III said. Police have issued an arrest warrant for a second suspect in the shooting and authorities sought a third person who is believed to have critical information regarding the shooting, Robertson said.