February 22, 2012
NEW ORLEANS — By dawn on Wednesday, Mardi Gras was just a memory in New Orleans.
Stately St. Charles Avenue was cleared of mountains of trash left behind by thousands who had feasted, drunk and scrambled for beads hours earlier.
Iconic green streetcars again clacked along the tracks, and in the French Quarter stragglers mustered what energy they could as the exodus of visitors began.
Churches in the heavily Catholic city would fill with the faithful as Ash Wednesday ushered in the season of Lent.
At the international airport, officials reported a steady outflow, many travelers draped in beads they'd snatched at the parades that reached their peak on Fat Tuesday.
Spokeswoman Michelle Duffourc said the trinkets were a headache for TSA officers but passengers were moving along nicely to waiting aircraft.