Mardi Gras in New Orleans: Wet Conditions for Fat Tuesday; Ice Closes Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge

By Sean Breslin
Published: March 4, 2014

The annual Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans has come to a close Tuesday with plenty of rain to water down the parades and beverages.

The thermometer only reached 39 degrees on Tuesday, which means Mardi Gras 2014 has gone into the record books as the second coldest ever, tied with the other 39 degree reading taken on February 7, 1978. (The coldest Mardi Gras took place on February 14, 1899, when the temperature only reached 38 degrees and three inches of snow and ice covered the ground, according to the National Weather Service in New Orleans.)

But Mardi Gras doesn't take place on the same calendar date each year. For March 4 data, 2014 takes the cake - the King Cake, that is.

According to meteorologist Chris Dolce, if the temperature stayed below 47 degrees, then Mardi Gras 2014 would go down in the record books as the coldest high temperature ever recorded on March 4 in New Orleans. With a thermometer reading of 39 degrees - a temperature that is 30 degrees below average for this date in New Orleans - Mardi Gras 2014 has officially de-crowned the previous temperature record.

Despite the chilly and damp conditions, Mardi Gras organizers and participants did not let the poor weather ruin the fun.

The Zulu parade began on schedule, led by a New Orleans police vanguard on horseback that included Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Later, the floats of Rex — the king of Carnival — and hundreds of truck trailers decorated by family and social groups would wind down St. Charles Avenue.

Rain began to fall early in the morning in New Orleans, and umbrellas and raincoats sprouted along the parade route. Sleet was expected to fall on some merrymakers in areas north and west of the city.

(MORE: Houston, Austin Hit With Icy Weather During Morning Commute)

The New Orleans Times-Picayune urged parade-goers to bundle up before leaving the house, as wind chills could remain in the 20s for the morning festivities.

West of New Orleans, Tuesday morning started with ice and sleet, leading to hazardous driving conditions. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.

MORE: Mardi Gras 2014

Krewe members throw beads from floats during the Krewe of Muses Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report

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