Sunday 8 December 2019

Revellers don eclectic costumes for New Orleans Mardi Gras

Fancy dress designs included Donald Trump and a glamorous vampire.

Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras

By Rebecca Santana and Janet McConnaughey, Associated Press

Crowds of people lined the streets of New Orleans on Tuesday to celebrate Mardi Gras and bring carnival season to a close.

Families camped out from early in the morning to catch beads and stuffed animals thrown from float riders, while revellers took to the streets in elaborate or funny costumes evoking Marie Antoinette, president Donald Trump and glamorous vampires.

Other amused bystanders took in the chaotic scene from lawn chairs.

Mardi Gras

This year’s costume designs did not disappoint, and the French Quarter’s most famous street, Bourbon Street, and parallel Royal Street were crowded with costumed tourists and locals, many of them stopping each other for photographs.

One group dressed as pink flamingos. Two men, both dressed as Mr Trump, greeted each other in the crowd.

Other costumes included Mr and Mrs Potato Head, Pac Man and Mrs Pac Man, as well as an angel of death with black wings and a halo.

Mardi Gras

Shannon Abraham, from Reno, Nevada, said she had spent dozens of hours designing and making her elaborate silver-sequined dress.

She wore a big silver wig of curls and a pair of silver fangs to complete her look as a “Glampire Extraordinaire”.

Speaking of the people dressed up in the French Quarter, she said: “The effort that they’ve poured into this celebration and their costumes is extraordinary. And I like to be part of that. I like to contribute.”

Patients from Children’s Hospital of New Orleans wave for beads and trinkets outside the facility during the procession (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

On Royal Street, JoAnn Lemoine, from Marrero, Louisiana, was sitting in a lawn chair on the sidewalk watching the ebb and flow of revellers on the streets. For her, the fun was in the people-watching.

“We love it. We come here every year. This is what we do every year, come out and watch all the people on the streets and all the costumes and this is a good year because all the costumes are out because the weather is so good,” she said.

Mardi Gras

Carnival season, which starts on January 6, draws about 1 million visitors and pumps about 840 million dollars (£604 million) into the city’s economy, according to the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. It also means two weeks of 12-hour, no-holiday shifts for the city’s police, who are reinforced by 165 state troopers and officers and deputies from half a dozen nearby areas.

Groups that join the Mardi Gras parade include the North Side Skull and Bone Gang, which wakes people up and tells children to behave, and the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, a historically African-American group that parades in blackface and grass skirts.

Later, the New Orleans Police Department said it was investigating the shooting deaths of two men on Tuesday night just a couple of miles from Mardi Gras activities earlier in the day.

Police spokeswoman Ambria Washington said that five people were shot before driving to a petrol station in St Claude Avenue.

The victims were on a nearby street when multiple suspects opened fire on them, police said.

News media reported that the shooting started at a house party a few blocks away from the petrol station.

PA Media

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