With Mardi Gras a memory, New Orleans sobers up

By: MARY FOSTER
February 22, 2012
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photo - New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, right, rides an police dept. horse down Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, as he joins the police sweep just after midnight on Wednesday, February 22, 2012, a traditional march that proclaims an end to Mardi Gras.  Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, right, rides an police dept. horse down Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, as he joins the police sweep just after midnight on Wednesday, February 22, 2012, a traditional march that proclaims an end to Mardi Gras. Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

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.

Photos of Mardi Gras celebrations

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.

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