NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A subdued Carnival season began Wednesday after the coronavirus pandemic put an end to the crowd-heavy balls and street parades that draw thousands of people to the city every year.

The Mardi Gras season always starts on Jan. 6 and ends on Fat Tuesday, which this year falls on Feb. 16. The season is usually marked by extravagant balls and parades where costumed riders throw trinkets to the mobs of people packed along the parade routes.

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