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CARNIVAL MERRYMAKERS SOUND FINAL NOTE

Hundreds of thousands of merrymakers closed out Mardi Gras with the traditional burst of debauchery in the French Quarter - the final note in a Carnival season marked by bitterness over an anti-bias law.

The dispute over the ordinance, which could force elite, century-old parade clubs to integrate and admit women, seemed far from the minds of revelers who jammed the city for Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.