Celebrating Mardi Gras

This is a day of parades and parties in New Orleans. Fat Tuesday is marked by family-friendly events uptown and in the suburbs, and by heavy drinking and near-nudity in the French Quarter.

Pete Fountain's Half-Fast Walking Club starts the day, followed by the Zulu and Rex parades and the meeting of the courts of Rex and Comus Tuesday night.

The hotel association expects more than 90 percent of the area's 32,000 hotel rooms will be filled during the long weekend ending Wednesday, Ash Wednesday. Some 800,000 people were on hand last year.

Sporadic violence has been reported during Mardi Gras celebrations this year. Police blame it mostly on drug disputes or personal grudges. A police official says it's "the rarest of times where actual true, good, law-abiding citizens are hurt."

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