Mardi Gras in New Orleans: Spectacular pictures as huge crowds join legendary carnival

Thousands of people donned their most colourful outfits to celebrate Mardi Gras at the legendary New Orleans carnival.

The Louisiana city is famous for its Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday) celebrations, which see parades with floats, dancers and musicians passing through the packed streets.

Families camped out from early in the morning to catch beads and stuffed animals thrown from float riders, while revellers took to the streets in elaborate or funny costumes evoking Marie Antoinette, president Donald Trump and glamorous vampires.

Other costumes included Mr and Mrs Potato Head, Pac Man and Mrs Pac Man, as well as an angel of death with black wings and a halo.

New Orleans is famous for its Mardi Gras celebrations (AP)

The event is popular with tourists, who came from all over the world to line the streets of the city’s French Quarter.

Shannon Abraham, who wore a silver wig and a pair of silver fangs, said: “The effort that they’ve poured into this celebration and their costumes is extraordinary. And I like to be part of that. I like to contribute.”

Carnival season, which starts on January 6, draws about 1 million visitors and pumps about 840 million dollars (£604 million) into the city’s economy, according to the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

It also means two weeks of 12-hour, no-holiday shifts for the city’s police, who are reinforced by 165 state troopers and officers and deputies from half a dozen nearby areas.

Groups that join the Mardi Gras parade include the North Side Skull and Bone Gang, which wakes people up and tells children to behave, and the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, a historically African-American group that parades in grass skirts.

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