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Pete Fountain

As Mardi Gras revelry ends with a party, Lent begins

After a day of parades, blaring marching bands, elaborate costumes and crowds screaming for beads, another Mardi Gras celebration is over.

Fat Tuesday, which marks the end of the Carnival season, started before dawn in New Orleans and wrapped up with a ceremonial clearing of Bourbon Street at midnight. Lent — for many Christians a period of reflection or fasting ahead of Easter — begins Wednesday.

But the festivities were marred in the Alabama beach town of Gulf Shores where police said a car participating in the city's Fat Tuesday parade accidentally plowed into a band, injuring 12 people.

But in New Orleans and elsewhere the day was marked by frivolity and fun...