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New Orleans may ask why Mardi Gras turnout down

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — As the revelry of Mardi Gras faded into the quiet of Lent, the question for the city became how much the troubled economy, threat of war and bad weather kept crowds down.

At midnight, mounted police cleared Bourbon Street to officially end Mardi Gras. An expansive citywide trash pickup began early Wednesday.

New Orleans historically has measured the economic success of Mardi Gras, the city's tourism bonanza, by the weight of trash left behind. That estimate is not expected for several days.

Word on the street and among many business owners was that crowds were smaller and more mellow than in recent memory.