Partiers in New Orleans are taking one last chance to eat, drink, and be merry today before Lent. Tourism officials don't believe the economic downturn has dampened the mood at this year's Mardi Gras celebrations and say big crowds over the weekend and nearly full hotels bode well for the annual event.
Thousands of revelers lined the streets this morning for one more day of parades before Mardi Gras officially ends at midnight. In heavily Catholic New Orleans, many will be in church tomorrow to have ashes daubed on their foreheads as they begin 40 days of prayer, penitence, and self-denial leading up to Easter. (Read more Mardi Gras stories.)