Mardi Gras 2012: Stars touch down in the land of beads

Patricia Clarkson arrives in New Orleans, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. She will preside over the all-women Mardi Gras Krewe of Muses parade.
(CBS/AP) - Stars are heading to New Orleans for Mardi Gras this year, gearing up to ride in parades and participate in the annual festive celebration.

Actress Patricia Clarkson received a brass band reception when she arrived Wednesday in "The Big Easy," setting the stage for the all-women Krewe of Muses parade to roll Thursday night.

Pictures: Mardi Gras celebrity kings

Muses kicks off a string of celebrity-studded parades leading up to Mardi Gras on Tuesday. The parades are held by individual krewes - social clubs that spend all year putting together the elaborate floats and costumes.

The pop-rock band Maroon 5 rides with the krewe Endymion on Saturday night, comedian and actor Will Ferrell rides as king of Bacchus on Sunday night and rocker Bret Michaels will join Grammy-winning singer Cyndi Lauper in Orpheus on Monday.

Singer and multi-instrumentalist Theresa Andersson will also be featured in Muses, and as her float rolls through the city streets she will perform songs from her upcoming album "Street Parade," accompanied by a 50-piece marching band. It will be the first time Andersson performs her new songs for the general public. The album's release date is April 24.

Clarkson, the New Orleans-born star of the 2010 thriller "Shutter Island" and the 2003 drama "Pieces of April," will be riding in Muses aboard a red fiber-optic-lit float shaped like a high-heeled shoe. Like other riders in the parade, Clarkson will hand out high-heeled shoes decorated with glitter, beads and feathers.

"I am so honored to be the lady leading all of this," Clarkson said. "This is how I want to wake up every day, to a jazz band and ladies with goodies and trinkets greeting me."


Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App