Normally, Brett Simms and Jack Daniels get their Mardi Gras started at about 7 a.m., to ensure a seat at the very front of the sidewalk on St. Charles Avenue and Julia Street.

But instead this Fat Tuesday, the pair scoped out a spot several feet away from the barricades, likely out of bead-throwing range. 

The reason?

"I'm trying to stand, as much as I can and as long as I can, in the sun," said Simms, 44, holding a Bloody Mary in one hand and a leash for Jack Daniels in another. 

Jack Daniels, a spotted Greyhound, seemed as content to stand in the heat as his owner. 

They were two of hundreds who showed up early along the traditional Uptown  parade route to bring in Fat Tuesday, despite the blistering temperatures that put a damper on some of the celebrations. 

Early Tuesday morning, temperatures were in the low 40s, though wind chills made the air feel much colder. 

That was a switch from just three days earlier, when those who showed up along the route for Iris, Tucks and Endymion were treated to balmy temperatures, enough for sweaters, at most. 

Still, the sun beamed and there was no sign of rain, unlike celebrations in past years. And there was no shortage of people with chairs, blankets and ladders in tow to welcome the Krewe of Zulu, which got its start early Tuesday morning at Jackson and South Claiborne avenues. 

Zulu is the first of four parades to roll Tuesday in New Orleans, followed by Rex, the Krewe of Elks Orleans, and the Krewe of Crescent City. The parades have different start and end points, but all roll down St. Charles Avenue to pass Lee Circle, Gailler Hall and eventually Canal Street. 

In Metairie, hundreds of revelers greeted the Krewe of Argus, followed by the Krewe of Elks Jefferson and the Krewe of Jefferson. All follow the Veterans Boulevard route that starts near Houma Boulevard and ends at Veterans and Martin Behrman Avenue. 

Still more Northshore residents welcomed Covington's Lions Club and the Krewe of Covington. 

Reigning as King and Queen of Zulu this year is George V. Rainey, a retired business owner, and his granddaughter Kailyn Rainey, a sophomore at LSU. George V. Rainey, at 87, is the oldest man to have been elected king in the club's more than 100 year history, while Kailyn Rainey, at 19, is youngest queen to have been selected. 

Rex, King of Carnival, 2019 is Robert S. Boh, president and CEO of Boh Bros. Construction Co., and his Queen is Kristina "Britt" Johnsen, a junior at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. 

King Argus is Larry Gibbs of Gibbs Construction, and his Queen is Savannah Watermeier, an LSU sophomore. 

Stay with the New Orleans Advocate for more. 


Follow Jessica Williams on Twitter, @jwilliamsNOLA​.