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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 09:19 GMT
In pictures: Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Revellers parade down St Charles Avenue in New Orleans

Tens of thousands of revellers have been packing the streets of New Orleans for the annual Mardi Gras celebrations.

Michelle Levine dances in New Orleans

Fun and frivolity supplanted the sombre mood in a city devastated by Hurricane Katrina six months ago.

Krewe of the Saint Ann parade through the French Quarter

Colourful floats, marching bands and elaborate costumes competed for attention.

Mardi Gras celebrant in New Orleans

Everywhere there were references to Hurricane Katrina.

'Blind levee inspectors' join the Mardi Gras parade

These revellers dressed as blind levee inspectors, in reference to the breached levees that caused the flooding.

Harriet Robin wears a costume of Meals Ready to Eat labels

One group wore the labels from Meals Ready to Eat that were served up to thousands of people in the storm's aftermath.

Ray and Anne Donahue dressed as the Mold Squad

This New Orleans couple came as the Mold Squad, seeking infectious waste.

Mayor Ray Nagin at the carnival

Mayor Ray Nagin arrived for "Fat Tuesday" dressed as a four-star general.

Zulu Thulani Nzimande of the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa, prepares to take part in the parade in New Orleans

Zulu dancers travelled from South Africa for the first time to lend their support to Louisiana's biggest city.

Empire State Building lit up in carnival colours

New York paid tribute to the city by lighting up the Empire State Building in the carnival colours.

Float passes hurricane debris

However, while many welcomed the chance to breathe life back into the city, some questioned whether the event should have been held at all.





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