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Barkus Parade: Mardi Gras gone to the dogs

Posted at 7:36 AM, Jan 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-29 07:37:04-05

NEW ORLEANS (WTVR) - Mardi Gras is still a little over two weeks away, but the celebrations leading up to the big day have already started in New Orleans.

The celebrations include a parade for the pups -- the Mystic Krewe of Barkus marches to its own unique beat.

"We love it. It's a beautiful day and we have all our dogs out here, having a great time, very festive," Lisa Schully, a parade-goer, said.

From the simple, to the elaborate, Krewe dogs and their owners showed off plenty of clever costume creations.

"It's just the greatest Mardi Gras event. I am Bienville and this is my mistress of Bienville and these are our wonderful puppies who came to found New Orleans back in 1718," Tomas Garcia, parade-goer, said.

"It's been fun. We brought the dogs, the daughter, we got the boilin' pot. We're ready for crawfish season," Mandy Pizzuto, parade-goer, said. "We got hot crawdogs instead of crawdads."

A Krewe that first began parading in 1993, Barkus has grown to become a local favorite.

Parade-goers came out in large numbers -- lining the streets -- as this caravan of canines wound its way through the French quarter once again.

"We were surprised to see how many people came out. It is huge. Huge. Good time," Pizzuto said.

This year, Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, falls on Tuesday, February 12.

It marks the last day of the Carnival season and is the day before the fasting season of Lent begins, on Ash Wednesday.

As many as 1.4 million typically attend Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans.