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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The countdown to Mardi Gras is beginning in New Orleans, marked by a streetcar full of raucous costumed revelers.

The group known as the Phunny Phorty Phellows kicks off Carnival season Wednesday night by riding a streetcar from the transit storage barns in the Carrollton neighborhood, down St. Charles Avenue to Canal Street at the edge of the French Quarter.

Carnival season begins on January 6 — the “Twelfth Night” after Christmas. It is celebrated along the Gulf Coast with parties, balls and parades culminating on Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, a final day of celebration before the solemnity of Ash Wednesday and Lent.

Mardi Gras falls on February 9 this year.

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