NEW ORLEANS -- It began with two big royal arrivals on the riverfront. First there was King Zulu and Queen Zulu, Garren Mims and his wife, Georgette Mims.
Within the hour came Rex -- the king of Carnival, Jack Laborde -- saying there's one good way to handle the Fat Tuesday's festivities.
'Enjoy it,' Laborde said. 'Have fun. We're here to celebrate the city.'
In Spanish Plaza, this year's queen of Carnival, Carroll Gelderman, stood by as Rex issued a proclamation.
'I do hereby ordain decree the following,' Laborde said, 'that during the great celebration all commercial endeavors be suspended. That the children of the realm be freed from their studies and be permitted to participate in the pageantry.'
And to the city's political leaders, he added:
'That the mayor and City Council cease and desist from governance.'
As Mayor Mitch Landrieu consulted with council members and other advisers to decide whether to give in to the king of Carnival's demands, King Zulu took the stage.
'I'd like to say congratulations to King Rex 2014,' he said. 'I pray that you have a safe and memorable ride.'
And he indicated he is not buying the chilly, rainy forecast for Fat Tuesday.
'I also talked to our Zulu witch doctor, and we will have good weather tomorrow.'
He gave Rex a prized Zulu coconut, and then Landrieu came forward with his decision.
'We will fulfill the will of the people and turn over the key to the city to you, so that tomorrow in New Orleans will be a day of abandon,' Landrieu said. 'Happy Mardi Gras.'
With the stage set for a huge celebration Tuesday, the mayor and king of Carnival slammed down the plunger that officially kicked off the party.
And fireworks filled the sky as a city full of visitors and locals prepared for a Fat Tuesday full of fun.