A large crowd reaches up for beads as a Zulu parade float rolls down Canal Street on Mardi Gras March 8, 2011 in News Orleans.(credit: Cheryl Gerber/Getty Images)

(CBSDFW.COM/CBS/AP) – Head east from the Texas Gulf Coast and eventually you’ll end up in New Orleans and over the next days the city is a destination where a lot of folks want to be. Why? Why Mardi Gras, of course!

Celebrities are already on their way to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, a festive time that brings to mind beads, parades and practically everything in between. This year, it’s expected to rake in a lot of money for not only “The Crescent City” but for other parts of the Gulf Coast.

New Orleans is hosting a batch of star-studded parades leading up to Fat Tuesday.

Actress Patricia Clarkson reigned over the all-women Krewe of Muses parade on Thursday night, while Maroon 5 rides with the krewe Endymion on Saturday night. Actor Will Ferrell rides as king of Bacchus on Sunday night, and rocker Bret Michaels will join singer Cyndi Lauper in Orpheus on Monday.

It’s all part of a big money-making tourism business for New Orleans, which was hard hit by Hurricane Katrina more than six years ago.

But it’s not just about New Orleans.

In reality, Mardi Gras has long been celebrated in coastal towns from Texas to Florida.

Read The Entire 2012 Mardi Gras Sotry At CBS News

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