NEW ORLEANS – The Latest on Mardi Gras (all times local):
New Orleans police say a man has died after a shooting along the Mardi Gras parade route. That brings shooting deaths Tuesday in New Orleans to three, with five other people wounded.
Police say one man died at a hospital hours after an afternoon argument along the traditional Mardi Gras parade route, and two were killed and three wounded in a shooting outside a party Tuesday night.
Police did not identify any of the victims.
Police say the day's first shooting left a man in critical condition with a head wound and a boy in stable condition with a leg wound. A news release late Tuesday said the man reportedly was talking coherently before he was taken to the hospital.
The party is ending in New Orleans as Mardi Gras is coming to a close.
Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, for many Christians a period of reflection or fasting ahead of Easter.
On Fat Tuesday, the last day of revelry, thousands of people — some in costume, some not — took to the streets to celebrate. At midnight, police held a ceremonial clearing of Bourbon Street to symbolize the end of the Carnival season.
Carnival starts on Jan. 6 and includes parades in various parts of the city as well as other cities and towns along the Gulf Coast.
The New Orleans Police Department is investigating a fatal shooting just a couple of miles from Mardi Gras activities earlier in the day.
Police spokeswoman Ambria Washington Tuesday night five people shot, two men fatally, before driving to a gas station in the 5100 block of St. Claude Avenue in the Lower 9th Ward. One person died at the scene. A second victim died at a hospital.
The body of the victim who died at the now chaotic crime scene could be seen inside a red Nissan sedan at the La Express gas station about 2 miles (3.22 kilometers) from where revelers gathered for Fat Tuesday celebrations. Police tape surrounded the area as dozens of people looked on.
Washington says no other information was available at this time.
New Orleans Police say two shootings near the traditional Mardi Gras parade route left three people wounded.
The first shooting happened about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday at St. Charles Avenue and Carondelet streets.
Deputy Superintendent Paul Noel says one man was shot in the head and is in critical condition. Another, a juvenile boy, was shot in the leg and is in stable condition.
A second shooting happened during a fight that broke out near St. Charles and Second Street. Police Chief Michael Harrison says a man who they believe was shot twice was rushed to the hospital. His condition is unknown.
Families are out in force for Fat Tuesday in New Orleans.
Throngs of people were on the median for the final day of Mardi Gras, cooking up crawfish and red beans and rice. Others had set up ladders for their kids to sit on and catch beads and throws from the passing Zulu parade.
Joseph Rhyans moved to Houston in 2002 but says he tries to come back every year. He calls Mardi Gras a "family thing" and he wants to teach his kids about it.
The Zulu parade will be followed by the Rex parade and then two truck parades. Families usually pack up and go home after that although celebrations in the French Quarter extend into the late evening before police do a ceremonial clearing of the streets at midnight.
Mardi Gras is when you come across alligators — or maybe dragons — from Boston taking photos of two-headed dragons from Wichita, Kansas, in the French Quarter.
They were among more than 100 people, many of them costumed, in Jackson Square about 10 a.m., as French Quarter festivities got under way on Fat Tuesday and a morning chill began warming up.
Zulu, the first parade, was already rolling on a route that ends on Canal street, the edge of the Quarter, with crowds jostling and shouting for beads, toy spears and Zulu's signature painted coconuts.
Nearby, a street preacher shouted that people in the crowd were heading for damnation. He was backed up by about 50 followers and surrounded by a small crowd, most of them hecklers.
The religious group left after a few minutes of ear busting reggae and samba music.
Staying warm is a major theme of this year's costumes on Fat Tuesday in New Orleans.
On the 7:30 a.m. ferry from New Orleans' West Bank to Canal Street, Tracy Thomas wore a fuzzy, hooded pink zip-up suit over other clothes. She described her costume as her warm and comfortable pajamas.
She and neighbor Christine Stephens are heading to what has become their traditional Mardi Gras breakfast spot. Then they are going to get a good spot outside a po'boy sandwich shop to watch the Zulu parade.
Stephens wore a lavender wig, black pants, jacket and top hat and lacy lavender half-gloves. She described her costume as a cross between Goth and Lolita. Then she changed that to pastel Goth. She says she decided to forego a short skirt because it's cold.
Tuesday's forecast was for cloudy skies, temperatures in the 60s (15 Celsius), and a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms.
Tens of thousands of revelers are expected on New Orleans streets for parades and rowdy fun as Mardi Gras caps the Carnival season in a city with a celebration of its own, its 300th anniversary.
The anniversary of this Louisiana port city will feature prominently in Fat Tuesday's festivities.
Rex is New Orleans' oldest parading Carnival group. It is celebrating the tricentennial with 21 of its 28 floats commemorating its history from those who lived in the area before Europeans settled it in 1718 to the Battle of New Orleans in 1815