Two shootings on St. Charles parade route leave 3 injured

The Order of Dionysus formed last year

The Order of Dionysus formed last year

The first shooting occurred in the French Quarter and was "steps away from where crowds watched the final Mardi Gras Day parades roll by", according to ABC News New Orleans affiliate WGNO. Two people were wounded in the second incident within an hour in the Central Business District, also close to a parade.

Police spokeswoman Ambria Washington said in a news release last night that initial reports show there were possibly five people shot, two fatally, at a gas station in the 5100 block of St. Claude Avenue in the Lower 9th Ward.

The first shooting happened around 3:15 St. Charles and Carondelet streets, the New Orleans Police Department said.

The gas station was 3.2 km from a place where people had gathered for Fat Tuesday celebrations.

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Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, for many Christians a period of reflection or fasting ahead of Easter.

If you know anything about either Mardi Gras Day shootings, you can phone-in an anonymous tip to CrimeStoppers at 504-822-1111. He calls Mardi Gras a "family thing" and he wants to teach his kids about it.

One man was shot in the head and is in critical condition, the other, a male juvenile, was shot in the leg according to Deputy Superintendent Paul Noel.

Families are out in force for Fat Tuesday in New Orleans. Costumes are a huge part of the Mardi Gras celebrations in the French Quarter, and Tuesday's designs did not disappoint. Michael Harrison said some people stepped in to try to break up a fight and shots were fired with one man being shot twice before being rushed to the hospital. His condition is unknown.

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The Zulu parade will be followed by the Rex parade and then two truck parades. The French Quarter's most famous street, Bourbon Street, and parallel Royal Street were crowded with costumed tourists and locals, many of them stopping each other for photographs.

Neighbourhood organizations are among the first groups out on Mardi Gras.

The anniversary of this Louisiana port city will feature prominently in Fat Tuesday's festivities.

New Orleans' oldest parading Carnival group, Rex, celebrated the tricentennial with 21 of its 28 floats commemorating the city's history, starting with those who lived in the area before Europeans settled it in 1718 to the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.

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