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Voices: New Orleans ready to kick up its Carnival heels | USA Today

Across New Orleans, residents are stitching final touches onto costumes, formulating parade-watching plans and gearing up for the biggest free party in the nation.

Mardi Gras is set to erupt again Tuesday, an annual city ritual rooted in nearly 300 years of tradition.

For the uninitiated, the citywide party may seem like a single-day booze-and-bare-breast bacchanal. But there's much more to the revelry. It's a crucial force in bringing together residents of a special city that has endured so much.

Carnival is not just the one day. It's a two-week event that kicks off each year with the satirical Krewe du Vieux parade and culminates on Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras...

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