Cold, rain forecast as folks prep for Fat Tuesday - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Cold, rain forecast as folks prep for Fat Tuesday

Updated:

CHEVEL JOHNSON
Associated Press
    
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The day before Fat Tuesday is almost as lively as Mardi Gras, with bands playing on the riverfront, the French Quarter alive with revelers and the make-believe-monarchs of Mardi Gras putting in a time-honored ceremonial appearance.
    
And, oh yeah, on Monday night, that celebrity-infused parade of Orpheus, a super-krewe founded in 1993 by singer Harry Connick Jr. and Sonny Borey, the krewe's captain, rolled.
    
Actor-director Quentin Tarantino, actors John Schneider and James Roday served as Orpheus' 2014 celebrity monarchs. Tarantino led the 27-float procession that followed the Krewe of Proteus, the city's oldest Mardi Gras club.
    
Orpheus' more than 1,300-member krewe also will pay tribute to legendary singer Fats Domino, who will serve as the krewe's honorary grand marshal. Domino's son, Antoine Domino Jr., will play his father's music live on a special piano-equipped float. The Dixie Cups also will be recognized on the krewe's famous Dolly Trolley and Orpheus 2014 Musical Legend, Coco Robichaux, will be represented on its doubloons.
    
Earlier Monday, revelers, most bundled inside coats, some wearing scarves, hats and gloves, jammed the French Quarter's Woldenberg Park alongside the Mississippi River for New Orleans' pre-party known as Lundi Gras.
    
Maria Killeen, of Ottawa, Canada, wasn't deterred by the chilly temperatures, which were in the upper 40s, but with the wind chill it felt more in the 30s.
    
"This is balmy," Killeen said compared to what she's used to at home. "I'm loving the warmth!"
    
Her friend, Kathy Hughes, of Toronto, said they love coming to the city for the celebration.
    
"We have our costumes all ready. This year, we plan to be Grumpy Cat," Hughes said, referencing the cat that became a sensation on YouTube.
    
Priscilla Caillouet, of New Orleans, said the weather wasn't going to stop her family from attending the Lundi Gras celebration, which featured performances by Cajun violinist Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys and trumpeter Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers.
    
"This is wonderful," she said. "We just had to put on extra layers."
    
"What's better than live music, cold beer, good food and all that leads up to Orpheus," said her husband, Robert.
    
Family tradition lured Latricia Jackson to the riverfront. Her husband, Melvin Jackson, is a member of the Zulu organization and rides floats with the krewe's character, The Ambassador.
    
"We are the lead-in to Mardi Gras and we bring the spirit," Melvin Jackson said.
    
New Orleans native Raquel Breaux, who currently lives in Jonesboro, Ga., said missing the Lundi Gras event was not an option. "It's one of my favorite Mardi Gras traditions," she said. "I love the festival atmosphere, the food, the music. Did I say the food? It all just creates this feeling of being at a reunion. Just today, I've seen so many people who I haven't seen in a long time."
    
Later Monday, Zulu's king and queen, Garren Mims Jr. and Georgette Lang-Mims, met with John P. "Jack" Laborde, 2014's Rex, king of Carnival, who officially took over the city when Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave up his position for day.
    
"We will fulfill the will of the people and turn over the key to the city to you," Landrieu said during a riverfront ceremony, drawing a loud roar of approval from the crowd. "Tuesday is a day of abandon. Happy Mardi Gras!"
    
Fireworks peppered the sky to mark the start of the season's final days.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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