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NEW ORLEANS City streets closed and turned over to hundreds of floats and riders and musicians and marchers, thousands of revelers lined St. Charles Avenue in the early morning hours waiting for Zulu and Rex as part of the annual Mardi Gras fete.

Zulu began rolling a little after 8 a.m. with Rex to follow. Elroy James will preside as King Zulu and Tanyanika Phillips will serve as Queen Zulu. Rex 2012 is New Orleans native Hardy Fowler. His queen is Ella Monsted Bright. The parades culminate the nearly two weeks of partying and revelry that is a signature of New Orleans.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Superintendent Ronal Serpas led off the parades on horseback down the traditional St. Charles route, before the mayor took his place at the review stands at Gallier Hall, where Landrieu will toast each krewe as they pass.

Unlike the bad weather that moved several parades on Saturday and nearly stopped the superkrewe Endymion from rolling, cool temperatures and clear skies prevailed early Fat Tuesday.

Familar sights such as Pete Fountain's Half-Fast Marching Club were seen on St. Charles before Zulu and Rex, while the Northside Skull and Bones Gang went through the French Quarter waking New Orleanians to Mardi Gras morning.

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