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Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Light turnout for New Roads Mardi Gras parades

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NEW ROADS - Parade organizers in New Roads said crowds for this year's Mardi Gras could go down as the lightest in history.

"It's never this deserted," said Michelle Porche, who braved the cold temperatures and ice to enjoy what the city says is the second-oldest Mardi Gras parade outside of New Orleans.

Organizers said the closure of two bridges, the Audubon Bridge near St. Francisville and the I-10 Mississippi River Bridge in Baton rouge, contributed to the light turnout.

"Just hanging out with good friends, having a good time," Porche said. "Better than staying in the house, been in the house for too long this winter."

Despite the dreary weather, both the Community Center Parade and the New Roads Lions Carnival Parade rolled at their scheduled times. Those who did show up said they had the best seats in the house.

"I've never seen better weather for a Mardi Gras parade," Duane Daigle said.  "We're going to catch more beads because no one showed up."

Crowds grew bigger Tuesday afternoon as the rain ended, with many people enjoying warm beverages like coffee and hot chocolate along with the parade.

New Roads has hosted families for Mardi Gras since 1922.

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