Fat Tuesday celebrated across United States

Cameron Herrington yells for the next customer in line to come to the register during Bourbon n' Toulouse's Mardi Gras party Tuesday night. The restaurant, located on Euclid Avenue, offered patrons crawfish, beer and live music to celebrate the event. Photo by Allie Garza | Staff

Cameron Herrington yells for the next customer in line to come to the register during Bourbon n' Toulouse's Mardi Gras party Tuesday night. The restaurant, located on Euclid Avenue, offered patrons crawfish, beer and live music to celebrate the event. Photo by Allie Garza | Staff

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 “Fat Tuesday,” 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 year’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 n’ 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.

“This is our Christmas, our Saint Paddy’s Day,” said co-owner Kevin Heathcoat.

— Compiled by News staff and from Associated Press reports