Antwan Harris / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- Spectators watched the official opening of Mardi Gras Plaza as it began with a ribbon cutting.

The area will be the new home of Family Gras, as the festival is just weeks away.

'We are going to continue and we may even have to expand for Family Gras we hope we have that problem, but this suits our needs for people to come out and enjoy Family Gras,' said Jefferson Parish President John Young.

The plaza's design is nothing short of a celebration. The disks on the ground become Mardi Gras beads when viewed from the air.

The center of the plaza has an engraved state bird and a cement block of every Jefferson Parish Carnival Krewe to participate in the festival.

Perhaps the bigger draw this year is a lack of mud, and an obstructed view won't be such an issue.

'You remember coming to Family Gras in years past and you had to wear your boots because it was so muddy, well now you see we have concrete lines and grass in the Mardi Gras beads,' said Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng.

The group announced the lineup of performers including local fiddler Amanda Shaw.

The parish president hopes the new lineup will draw in new fans while keeping the traditional family atmosphere.

'It is an eclectic selection and it appeals to people who like music of all taste. So there is something for everyone here,' Young said.

The plaza was a nine-month project that cost about $860,000 to complete.

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