Bring on the Beads...
Rocker Bret Michaels and Grammy-winning singer Cyndi Lauper were expected to usher in Mardi Gras with musical performances in the wee hours of the morning Tuesday.
Michaels, the bandana-wearing Poison frontman, and Lauper were the celebrity riders in Orpheus, the parade club founded in 1993 by New Orleans native actor and crooner Harry Connick Jr.
Just as the Orpheus ball was to wind down early Tuesday, revelers were gearing up for the Fat Tuesday parades rolling shortly after daybreak. Some revelers would party through the night.
Clarinetist Pete Fountain will be leading his marching band from the city's Garden District to the French Quarter. The float parades follow Fountain and his "Half Fast Marching Club" — first the African-American Krewe of Zulu, the group known for the decorated coconuts it hands out to revelers, and the parade of Rex, King of Carnival.
Lent follows Fat Tuesday. It is the period of fasting and repentance before Easter Sunday.