Getting ready for Mardi Gras with parades starting at 8 a.m.

Getting ready for Mardi Gras with parades starting at 8 a.m.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The big parades in Baton Rouge are over, but the grand finish of Mardi Gras day means the most of the floats, throws, and fun in South Louisiana are still ahead. Throughout the Carnival season, there are well over 70 parades rolling in South Louisiana, adding up to several hundred miles of parade routes, and hundreds of thousands of revelers and riders.

Not even Mother Nature can keep the good times from rolling, or the carnival businesses from booming.

Tulane University noted at in 2014, the 12 days leading up to Ash Wednesday brought in $164 million to the New Orleans area.

The day everyone wants to see starts early.

The first parades roll on Mardi Gras are some of the oldest Krewes around. In New Orleans, The Krewe of Zulu starts first in uptown at 8 a.m. It is followed with the Krewe of Rex and many more throughout the day.

While they're catching beads in NOLA, about 180 miles north, the notorious chicken run will be underway in Mamou.

From there, about 50 miles south east, you can find Lafayette's first event of the day, King Gabriel's parade which rolls at 10. The Lafayette Mardi Gras parade will roll later at 1 p.m.

Also rolling in the afternoon are the parades in Franklin and Morgan City, which will begin at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. respectively.

A little closer to Baton Rouge, the New Roads Lions Club parade will roll downtown at 2 p.m.

If you're driving to and from the parades, beware; the Highway Safety Commission says there were nearly 600 wrecks during Mardi Gras last year, 13 of those were deadly.

Local and State Police will be out in full force looking for drunk and reckless drivers.

According to Mardi Gras expert Arthur Hardy, only 13 Mardi Gras has been canceled since 1875, and most of those were due to war.

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