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Mardi Gras season kicks off with cakes, street car rides

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/7/2017 By REBECCA SANTANA, Associated Press
Cheryl Gerber, a member of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" rides the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) © The Associated Press Cheryl Gerber, a member of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" rides the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — People in greater New Orleans braved the cold and rain Friday to mark the start of the Mardi Gras Season, standing in pre-dawn, windy lines to buy celebratory cakes and closing the evening on a rainy night with costumed street car rides.

Members of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" toast as they ride the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) © The Associated Press Members of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" toast as they ride the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The holiday season begins on Epiphany, commemorating the day the Bible says the three wise men reached the baby Jesus. Fat Tuesday, which marks the culmination of Mardi Gras season, falls on Feb. 28.

Members of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" pass out king cake as they ride the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) © The Associated Press Members of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" pass out king cake as they ride the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Across the city people bought king cake, a traditional holiday bakery treat, to bring to their offices or home to share with family. The doughy dessert bread — often flavored with a ring of cinnamon or stuffed with fillings — generally comes shaped in a ring and is decorated with the New Orleans Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold.

Mia Weakley, 11, sits on the lap of her godfather, Chuck Rogers, inaugural King "Societe des Champs Elysee," as they ride the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen and adults later reconnoitered at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," after their red street car ride. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) © The Associated Press Mia Weakley, 11, sits on the lap of her godfather, Chuck Rogers, inaugural King "Societe des Champs Elysee," as they ride the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen and adults later reconnoitered at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," after their red street car ride. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Dozens of people lined up outside Manny Randazzo King Cakes in Metairie when the doors opened at 6:30 a.m.

Chuck Rogers, left, and Kathleen Barrow, inaugural King and Queen of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" disembark the Rampart-St. Claude street car line next to a man sitting at a street car stop, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) © The Associated Press Chuck Rogers, left, and Kathleen Barrow, inaugural King and Queen of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" disembark the Rampart-St. Claude street car line next to a man sitting at a street car stop, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

"My wife and the people at work love them so I usually pick one up for work on the first day of Carnival and then bring one home," said Richard Gunther. "These don't stay around long when you bring them to the office."

Members of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" riding the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, pour champagne to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) © The Associated Press Members of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" riding the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, pour champagne to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The first day of Carnival is generally closed out by the Phunny Phorty Phellows, a historic Mardi Gras krewe, that marks the season with a ride on a street car that goes along the traditional St. Charles Street parade route in New Orleans. This year another group calling itself the "Societe des Champs Elysee" rode the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to also commemorate the season.

Members of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" ride the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) © The Associated Press Members of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" ride the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car.

Members of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" ride the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) © The Associated Press Members of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" ride the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

David Roe, who helped organize the street car ride, said it was a way to bring a new Carnival activity back to the neighborhood. And, he added: "We like to have a party."

Chuck Rogers, inaugural King of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" toasts after disembarking the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, to commemorate tonight's official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) © The Associated Press Chuck Rogers, inaugural King of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" toasts after disembarking the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, to commemorate tonight's official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Judy Clymens, a New Orleans resident, was wearing a tiny tiara as she gathered with the crowd before boarding the street car.

Chuck Rogers, left, and Kathleen Barrow, inaugural King and Queen of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" lead a crew of costumed revelers to board the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) © The Associated Press Chuck Rogers, left, and Kathleen Barrow, inaugural King and Queen of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" lead a crew of costumed revelers to board the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

"It's the inaugural ride. It's wonderful. It's fantastic," she said. "We have a parade for virtually everything."

The Elysian Brass Band performs as members of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" ride the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) © The Associated Press The Elysian Brass Band performs as members of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" ride the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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Costumed members of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" board the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) © The Associated Press Costumed members of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" board the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Follow Rebecca Santana on Twitter @ruskygal

Revelers of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" launch fireworks before boarding the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Revelers of the "Societe des Champs Elysee" launch fireworks before boarding the Rampart-St. Claude street car line, which just opened last fall, to commemorate the official start of Mardi Gras season, in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Wearing masks and festive costumes, they honored their king and queen at a neighborhood bar and danced as a brass band played "Carnival Time," before boarding their red street car. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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