By KEVIN McGILL
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The countdown to Mardi Gras has begun in New Orleans. Saturday marks the arrival of Carnival season and a group known as the Phunny Phorty Phellows kicks things off with a festive streetcar ride. Meanwhile, a walking club in the old French Quarter will mark the season’s start with its annual procession honoring Joan of Arc. New Orleans’ Carnival celebrations begin on Jan. 6, the 12th day after Christmas, and continue until Mardi Gras, known as Fat Tuesday, which is the final day of feasting, drinking and revelry before Ash Wednesday and the fasting associated with Lent.