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Mardi Gras 2011: New Orleans Celebrates End of Carnival Before Lent (VIDEO)

Mardi Gras


Fat Tuesday

are trending on the brink of Lent. Traditional parades, music, and gala balls are under way in New Orleans. The city expects more than a million people to pack the streets for the final day of the Carnival season, which falls this year on the latest date in more than 150 years.

The crowds are a boost for New Orleans’ tourist-driven economy, which was hammered in 2010 by the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Mardi Gras celebrations lead into Ash Wednesday and the pre-Easter season of Lent. This year, the Twitterverse seems conflicted about what to give up, but some are toying with a big sacrifice: staying off Twitter for 40 days.