World watches as New Orleans parties

Feb. 18, 2006 at 5:12 PM

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- No one knows what to expect when hurricane-ravaged News Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras, but at least one expert predicts it will be "mellow."

"It's going to be a bit more mellow than usual," Arthur Hardy, who has published the "Mardi Gras Guide" for three decades, told Saturday's Los Angeles Times.

"But there is so much anticipation for this in the community. We need something other than sheetrock and wet carpets. It's going to be like group therapy."

One theme among floats planned for a parade is being called "Blue Roof Blues," the Times said. Among the float titles are "Oprah Comes to the Superdome" and "Drove My Chevy to the Levee but the Levee was Gone."

Although many New Orleans hotels say they are booked for the week, the number is misleading because about a third of the 23,000 inhabitable rooms are being used by evacuees and contractors, the newspaper said.

Mardi Gras ends Feb. 28 with the annual Fat Tuesday celebration.

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