Mardi Gras season rolls into last big weekend in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Mardi Gras season entered its last big weekend of parades and galas in New Orleans before its end at midnight Fat Tuesday, when Ash Wednesday ushers in the period of Lent leading to Easter.

The Krewe of Endymion’s parade moved through the city Saturday night and ended inside the Louisiana Superdome — where the 2016 Endymion Extravaganza was underway. In 2015, 20,000 people attended the party. Pitbull and Steven Tyler were providing entertainment this year.

Mardi Gras historian Arthur Hardy said this year’s Endymion parade consists of 36 floats and 3,100 riders.

Endymion Captain Ed Muniz said the krewe spent more than $1 million to update the lighting on the floats.

Before Endymion arrived in front of his home on Orleans Avenue, Scott Colomb was throwing a porch party with 250 invited guests, who were treated to New Orleans food, beverages and live music.

“Singer Irma Thomas will be leading a second line and performing her hit music,” Colomb said.

On the west bank of New Orleans, the Krewe of NOMTOC — New Orleans Most Talked of Club — started in front of Elmo Peter’s home Saturday morning. “Thirty-eight years ago, my girlfriend and I were asleep, … but we heard sirens and bands. We got out of bed and started marching in the parade and have been doing so every year,” Peters said.

The super Krewe of Bacchus, known for its spectacle, plans to roll on its traditional St. Charles Avenue route Sunday evening with 31 floats and 1,400 riders.

Krewe captain Clark Brennan said this year’s parade takes the title “Flights of Delight.” Clark said keep an eye out for floats such as “Soaring in a Hot Air Balloon,” ”When Pigs Fly,” ”Mary Poppins” and “Flying Saucers.”

New Orleans native and critically acclaimed actor Anthony Mackie will reign as Bacchus XLVIII in the parade. Mackie is known for his roles in the Marvel franchise films “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” ”The Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Antman.”

Brennan said the riders have spent up to $3 million dollars for their throws — items they throw to the crowd — this year.

“The riders will toss eight custom light-up throws, special doubloons and foam throws,” Brennan said.

On Monday, Lundi Gras, the krewes of Orpheus and Proteus have their parades and Rex and Zulu will roll on Fat Tuesday.

According to Hardy, this year’s event is the biggest since before Hurricane Katrina. Although the number of floats and riders may change, “the quality of the floats this year is outstanding,” he said. “They are bigger and very well made.”

And rain hasn’t delayed or canceled parades this year, Hardy said.

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