Mardi Gras rolls on despite hurricane's devastation

If you're looking to skip out of town for a few days, then why not party it up in the Crescent City? Although devastated by Hurricane Katrina just a few months ago, the spirit of New Orleans cannot be kept down. Mardi Gras 2006 is rolling on as scheduled with organizations and citizens pitching in to make sure the party is better than ever. After all, it is the 150th anniversary of Carnival in New Orleans.

The parades began last Saturday, Feb. 11 and continue through the next two weeks until the final celebrations on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Project Shiny Quarter has brought together many hospitality industry partners to make sure that the French Quarter is clean, polished and free of debris. The Katrina Krewe, a volunteer-led civic group has been picking up trash, and will clean the French Quarter both before and after Mardi Gras.

Not sure where to stay, or what to do? The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau has you covered. On their Web site (www.neworleanscvb.com) visitors can find a hotel, restaurants, schedules of events, and helpful Web sites to supply everything from masks and gowns to King Cakes.

You can even brush up on your Mardi Gras lingo and history so you fit in with the locals – you do know what a throw is, don't you?

This year's celebration is one you won't want to miss, as New Orleans pushes on, with her citizens dedicated to making the city better than ever.

Though some are hesitant to travel to New Orleans, at this point visitors actually help the city. Tourism is the most important industry to the city, bringing more than $4.9 billion annually to the region. Without the dollars of tourists, many are out of work.

The NOMCVB Web site keeps a running tab on what businesses are open, and on the continuing efforts to bring back the city. They also offer tips on making the most of your visit, and how to keep safe.

So what are you waiting for? Check it out, find a room, hop a plane and you'll be on a balcony tossing beads by midnight.

© 2006 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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