Mariska Hargitay, Hilary Swank revel in Mardi Gras

Actress Mariska Hargitay tosses throws while riding in the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber
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Actress Mariska Hargitay tosses trinkets to the crowds while riding in the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, Feb. 20, 2012.
AP Photo/Bill Haber

NEW ORLEANS (CBS/ AP) There may not have been much law & order on the streets of New Orleans this Mardi Gras weekend, but Mariska Hargitay was in town, watching over the action in The Big Easy.

Pictures: The Kings of Bacchus
Pictures: Mardi Gras 2012

The "Law & Order" star was among dozens of celebrities taking part in the annual Mardi Gras revelry. Rocker Bret Michaels, comedian Will Ferrell, Grammy-winning singer Cyndi Lauper and Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank were among those throwing beads and doubloons to fans from parade floats.

Michaels, the bandana-wearing Poison frontman, and Lauper were the celebrity riders in Orpheus, the parade club founded in 1993 by New Orleans native actor and crooner Harry Connick, Jr. Ferrell was this year's king of Bacchus in a Sunday parade, and the Endymion parade rolled out Saturday night with the pop-rock group Maroon 5 as its celebrity riders.

It's 24-hour revelry forthe city. Just as the Orpheus ball wound down early Tuesday, revelers were gearing up for the Fat Tuesday parades rolling shortly after daybreak. Some revelers would party through the night.

Lent follows Fat Tuesday. It is the period of fasting and repentance before Easter Sunday.