Millions of people turned out to celebrate "Fat Tuesday," and CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan went down on Bourbon Street to take a look the party and its aftermath.
The costumes, the floats, the beer. All were washed away in time for Lent.
Mardi Gras is viewed historically as a "last fling" before the Christian fasting season that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday.
It was one of the greatest crowds ever, close to 2 million people for Mardi Gras 1999. It was the 300th anniversary of one of the biggest parties around. It was a party, though, more for the out-of-towners than for the locals.
"You satisfy a New Yorker, and that's a very hard thing to do," one man said.
Crawling from pub to pub, sometimes on hands and knees, was the order of the night.
The parades that rolled earlier Tuesday were all over. There was little left for a crowd of thousands to do except drink, and then maybe drink some more.
So anxious were the crowds that street lamps and balcony posts were greased to keep visitors from climbing into hotel rooms.
Tuesday's partying began before dawn, when parades, music, and people in costumes that ranged from extravagant to scandalous took to New Orleans' St. Charles Ave.
Thousands of people lined various parade routes in the city and the suburbs, with the largest throngs crowding into the French Quarter.
The celebration itself started the previous weekend and built leading up to Fat Tuesday.
Few may remember all the details of Tuesday night. Maybe that's a blessing in disguise.
If you ask those who have been there before how to measure the success of any Mardi Gras, they will tell you it's pretty simple: Just measure the garbage.