Churches around largely Catholic south Louisiana scheduled Masses at which priests would dot or cross the foreheads of the faithful with ash to mark the beginning of the 40-day season of penitence and fasting.
At midnight, mounted police slowly moved down Bourbon Street to clear off remaining drinkers, declaring the all-day party over.
Crowds weren't as thick Tuesday as in years past, likely because of the gloomy forecast and intermittent showers throughout the day. But it didn't stop the party.
New Orleans resident Diane Williams, sipping wine from her front porch, said Mardi Gras was all about "friends, family and vino."
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