METAIRIE, La. -- At Manny Randazzo's bakery in Metairie, customers began lining up in freezing weather before dawn.
Randazzo has 16 bakers working all night baking king cakes that serve up to 50 people.
"We're getting this for our Ma-Ma, Ma-Ma Theresa," said customer Christina Bragg. "It's King's Day, I had to buy her a king cake, and then we got one for our house too. ... We just got regular flavor so everybody can have what they wanted."
More and more of their business is being done by phone and Internet, and they're shipping king cakes all over the United States.
"It's a great thing that we get to share a piece of New Orleans with the rest of the country," said Manny Randazzo.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu cut a king cake to officially kick off the 2014 Mardi Gras season at a ceremony attended by members of the 33 krewes that will parade in New Orleans this year, including the King Of Zulu.
"We have several surprises for you all this year," said King Zulu 2014 Garren Mims. "We also have a tribute to Nelson Mandela."
And the police chief says his officers will have vigilant security.
"Mardi Gras is a public event, so don't move your living room furniture, your kitchen furniture, your bedroom furniture onto the neutral grounds," said Chief Ronal Serpas. "Remember that we expect people to cooperate with one another, and common courtesy equals common sense equals common safety."