Mardi Gras revelry ends, Lenten season begins

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Mardi Gras revelry ends, Lenten season begins
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: Revelers party in the French Quarter despite the rain on Mardi Gras Day on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras in French, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: Revelers party in the French Quarter despite the rain on Mardi Gras Day on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras in French, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: Revelers party in the French Quarter despite the rain on Mardi Gras Day on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras in French, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: Revelers participate as the Krewe of Zulu parades down St. Charles Avenue Mardi Gras Day on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city.(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: Members of Rex parade down St. Charles Avenue despite the rain Mardi Gras Day on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city.(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: Members of Rex parade down St. Charles Avenue despite the rain Mardi Gras Day on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city.(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: Members of Rex parade down St. Charles Avenue despite the rain Mardi Gras Day on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city.(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: Rex, King of Carnival parades down St. Charles Avenue despite the rain Mardi Gras Day on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city.(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: A reveler looks on as Rex, King of Carnival parades down St. Charles Avenue despite the rain Mardi Gras Day on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city.(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: Members of the Krew of Mondo Kayo Social Marching Club parde Mardi Gras day in the rain on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: Members of the Krew of Mondo Kayo Social Marching Club parde Mardi Gras day in the rain on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city.(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: The King of the Krewe of Zulu pardes dispite ther rain Mardi Gras day on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city.(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: Memebers of the Krewe of Zulu parde dispite ther rain Mardi Gras day on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city.(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: Members of the Krew of Mondo Kayo Social Marching Club parde Mardi Gras day in the rain on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city.(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: Members of the Krewe of Zulu pardes dispite ther rain Mardi Gras day on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city.(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 04: Members of the Krew of Mondo Kayo Social Marching Club parde Mardi Gras day in the rain on March 4, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fat Tuesday, the traditional celebration on the day before Ash Wednesday and the begining of Lent, is marked in New Orleans with parades and marches through many neighborhoods in the city.(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Mardi Gras crowds in the French Quarter are seen from the balcony of the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures caused the crowd to be smaller than previous years. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Members of the St. Augustine High Marching 100 band march in the Krewe of Zulu parade during Mardi Gras day in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Revelers yell for beads from balconies in the rain during Mardi Gras festivities in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept much of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Mardi Gras revelers jump over standing water in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept much of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Some revelers stand-in the rain while another stands under a balcony during Mardi Gras festivities in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept much of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Mardi Gras crowds in the French Quarter are seen in the rain from the balcony of the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept much of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Mardi Gras crowds in the French Quarter are seen in the rain from the balcony of the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept much of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Revelers throw beads from balconies in the rain during Mardi Gras festivities in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept much of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A reveler jumps over water in the rain during Mardi Gras festivities in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept much of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Revelers yell for beads from balconies in the rain during Mardi Gras festivities in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept much of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Police on bicycles ride through standing water past revelers during Mardi Gras festivities in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept much of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Mardi Gras revelers jump over standing water in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept much of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
King of the Krewe of Rex, Jack Laborde, rides on his float down a largely empty St. Charles Ave., during Mardi Gras day in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Evan Lazarof, 5, of New Orleans, sits on a child's ladder with his father Gary Lazarof, amongst ladders that would normally be filled with children, as parades roll by on St. Charles Ave. during Mardi Gras day in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept most of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Mardi Gras bead are seen strewn on the wet street during Mardi Gras day in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept most of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Parade-goers walk along a comparatively sparsely crowed parade route during Mardi Gras day in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept most of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Two parade-goers try to catch throws during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept most of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Members of the Krewe of Rex, throw beads and trinkets from a float along a largely empty St. Charles Ave., during Mardi Gras day in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
King of the Krewe of Rex, Jack Laborde, rides on his float down a largely empty St. Charles Ave., during Mardi Gras day in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Parade-goers watch the Krewe of Zulu march during Mardi Gras day in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A lone child reaches for a stuffed toy handed to him from a float rider during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept most of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Empty children's ladders sit as parades roll by on St. Chrales Ave. during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept most of the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Members of the Krewe of Zulu march during Mardi Gras day in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The Zulu parade began on schedule, led by a New Orleans police vanguard on horseback that included Mayor Mitch Landrieu.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
King of the Krewe of Rex, Jack Laborde, rides on his float down a largely empty St. Charles Ave., during Mardi Gras day in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and unusually cold temperatures kept the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Members of the Krewe of Zulu hold painted coconuts to give to parade-goers, as they march during Mardi Gras day in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. The Zulu parade began on schedule, led by a New Orleans police vanguard on horseback that included Mayor Mitch Landrieu. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Members of the Krewe of Rex, throw beads and trinkets from a float along a largely empty St. Charles Ave., during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Rain and cold temperatures kept the normally massive and festive crowds away. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Parade-goers try to catch beads thrown from floats during the Krewe of Bacchus Mardi Gras parade rolls down Napoleon Ave. in New Orleans, Sunday, March 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Members of the all-femal flambeaux group, called 'Glambeaux,' march in the Krewe of Muses Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. The 14-year-old Muses parade, one of the city's youngest, has become an unofficial kickoff to the big Carnival weekend leading up to Fat Tuesday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Sophie Woodruff, a member of the all-female flambeaux group, 'Glambeaux,' marches in the Krewe of Muses Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. The 14-year-old Muses parade, one of the city's youngest, has become an unofficial kickoff to the big Carnival weekend leading up to Fat Tuesday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The merriment of Mardi Gras has ended and the solemn season of Lent has begun Wednesday.

New Orleans police swept through Bourbon Street at midnight in the city's annual ritual of letting Carnival revelers know the party is over - until next year.

Jim Baker, of New Orleans, said he usually dresses in costume for the Mardi Gras holiday, but the weather deterred him this year.

Baker said he chose to celebrate a little differently - sipping cocktails under the cover of a friend's French Quarter patio balcony while watching other costumed revelers brave the cold and rain.

Temperatures for most of the day in the New Orleans area were in the lower 40s and by early evening were at about 38 degrees. The wind chill made it feel even colder.

But there's one tradition Baker said he won't be straying from - rain or shine - and that's attending Mass and receiving ashes the day after Mardi Gras on Ash Wednesday.

"That's when I begin thinking about Easter," said Baker, who is Catholic. "It's about celebration and sacrifice before Easter, to show that you're appreciative of being here."

Baker said he planned to attend Mass at St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. He also planned to make a sacrifice for Lent, which is the six weeks between Ash Wednesday and Easter, the day Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead after his crucifixion.

"I'm giving up desserts," he said. "I love desserts, but I'm diabetic. So it's a sacrifice, but it will be good for me."

Giving up the excessive behavior was far from most people's minds as folks endured the wet and cold to celebrate Fat Tuesday.

"We'll drink, drink, drink until it gets drier," said Dean Cook of New Orleans as he walked Bourbon Street dressed as a pirate with vampire fangs.

"Mermaids love the water," he said of his wife, Terrina Cook, who was dressed in a shiny blue mermaid costume, complete with a fin.

Ronnie Davis, a professor of economics at the University of New Orleans, decided to break his button-down image for at least one day. Clad in tutus, he and his wife, Arthurine, stood along the avenue watching the Krewe of Zulu's floats roll by.

"All year I have to dress professionally. This is the one time I get to act like a fool," Davis said.

But the Mardi Gras revelry wasn't free of violence.

Just before midnight, two people were found shot to death in a parking lot near the Port of New Orleans, police said. In a statement, police said both victims - ages 25 and 28 - were shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the scene.

In an earlier shooting nearby that police said was unrelated, a 25-year-old man was shot and wounded while attending a concert at a banquet hall around 10 p.m. Police said he was brought to the hospital and listed in stable condition.

As a cold rain fell Tuesday afternoon, crowds along the stately, oak-lined St. Charles Avenue thinned and French Quarter bars filled with patrons looking for a dry spot to escape while letting the good times roll.

"It's awful cold," said Rick Emerson, a Tampa, Fla., native who was watching costumed revelers pass by from an open doorway of a Bourbon Street daiquiri shop.

Instead of alcohol, Emerson was sipping hot coffee to help stay warm.

Instead of costumes, Emerson and his wife, Cheri, were dressed in layers of clothes, hats and scarves. "We're bundled up. We're not used to this sort of thing."

Rick Emerson said it was 80 degrees in Tampa, Fla., when he left last week, but he was determined to make the most of Mardi Gras.

"We're freezing, but we wanted to see some costumes, so we took a chance and came down," he said.

The Emersons were among those making the most of the big celebration before the Lenten season begins for the faithful.

New Orleans native Leila Haydel said she was determined to make it a happy Mardi Gras no matter what.

"I have about seven layers of clothes under my tutu," she said, twirling on Bourbon Street in a purple, green and gold tutu and hoisting an umbrella. "It's once a year. You have to come and enjoy. You have to."
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