Whether it was a parade in New Orleans or something as simple as a free short stack at IHOP, revelers across the nation celebrated Mardi Gras on Tuesday.
Mardi Gras, in English â€œFat Tuesday,â€ is a French term for the celebration preceding Lent, a 40-day period Roman Catholics observe ending on Easter Sunday.
In New Orleans, parade routes were crammed by dawn. Zulu, the traditional African-American parade, was the first of the day. Hundreds of truck floats followed throughout the day in parades to celebrate the event.
Tourism officials hope 750,000 people attended the New Orleans festival, matching last yearâ€™s numbers. Before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, about 1 million people came into the city to celebrate.
In Lexington, sites throughout the city celebrated Mardi Gras. At the Cajun restaurant Bourbon nâ€™ Toulouse, restaurant staffers had been cooking for over a week to prepare for the Tuesday crowd.
The restaurant flew about 400 pounds of crawfish in for Mardi Gras, and the building was filled to near-capacity Tuesday night as diners took part in the $25 crawfish dinner.
â€œThis is our Christmas, our Saint Paddyâ€™s Day,â€ said co-owner Kevin Heathcoat.
â€” Compiled by News staff and from Associated Press reports