Carnival crowds in New Orleans watch parade, Super Bowl

Monday, February 4, 2008
The Bacchagator float turned onto St. Charles Avenue on Sunday during the Krewe of Bacchus Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. Carnival revelers enjoyed parades in the weekend before Fat Tuesday. (ALEX BRANDON ~ Associated Press)

NEW ORLEANS -- Despite competition from the Super Bowl, thousands of revelers lined up along streets Sunday as New Orleans wrapped up a big Carnival weekend with another day of parades leading up to Tuesday's finale.

A second round of gunfire that marred Saturday night's parade did not appear to deter Sunday's merrymakers.

"It's a family party in this area," said John Wilson, 47, who was cooking burgers along the uptown parade route. "We come every year and have never had a problem."

Five people were shot Saturday night shortly after the Endymion parade had passed nearby. Two teenagers were arrested. Police said the suspects and possibly two of the victims had been arguing. The injuries were not life threatening.

It was the second time during the big Carnival weekend that gunfire broke out on a parade route. On Friday night, a man was shot in the arm out along a parade route, police said.

On Sunday, dozens of police were visible on almost every block of the uptown parade route.

The atmosphere was relaxed, children sat atop ladders to catch beads, and people strolled the streets laughing and talking, many with food or drinks in hand.

Crowds lined historic St. Charles Avenue before dawn, setting up tents and setting out lawn chairs for the duration.

Four parades rolled through the city before Bacchus, one of the "Super Krewes," with almost three dozen glitzy floats, 36 bands and Hulk Hogan as the celebrity monarch.

"We came for the duration," said David Segueria, 22, who was setting up a 32-inch television along with his barbecue pit and generator. "Can't be better than this, Bacchus and the Super Bowl.

"I don't have to move until a streetcar comes through and that won't be until after midnight," he said.

Like Segueria, many intended to combine the parade and the game. Televisions dotted the street, but not everyone intended to stay.

"I'm going home for the game," said Patrick Wadkins, of Jefferson, La., who had been out since 6 a.m. "I may not get to see it though. When you start on bloody Marys at nine and beer at noon, you may not be awake by kickoff."

As darkness fell, Joe Nicholas and his friends dragged themselves away from their television set as Hulk Hogan, wearing a gold, sleeveless vest, red, knee-length tights and a black headscarf tossed doubloons to the crowd.

"This is all about planning," Nicholas said. "Between floats we watch the game. Otherwise we're all about getting as much loot as we can."

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