St. Charles Herald-Guide

Krewe has no apologies for vulgar floats

By Ann Taylor - February 7, 2007

Back in history, Christians jumped at the chance to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God. Thousands of them were even martyred because of their faith.

On the eve of Katrina, in New Orleans, one of the most Catholic Cities in the U.S., Mardi Gras Krewe du Vieux depicted Jesus, the Lamb of God, as a lamb chop and His Mother, also known in Catholic circles as Our Lady of Prompt Succor -- as a vulgar whore.

Father Joseph Palermo of the New Orleans Archdiocese wrote a letter to New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin complaining about the floats. He also wrote to Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose asking him, as the 2007 king of Krewe du Vieux, to address these concerns.

"We didn't know about it until this past summer when an Ursuline sister showed me pictures of the vulgar floats," said Palermo, who is a regular celebrant at Holy Family Church in Luling. Most of the floats of the Krewe du Vieux had graphic images of male or female genitalia and some fouled images of Jesus and Mary with various vulgarities, said the priest.

"How can they parade these kinds of images on the streets of New Orleans?" he questioned. Palermo said he contacted the Krewe and they refused to apologize. It's not surprising that this group, who thrives at shocking people with their irreverent themes each Mardi Gras, chose to desecrate Jesus and Mary. It is surprising that the City of New Orleans and its residents would allow these "artists" to desecrate something sacred to many people in the city.

Other than the Catholic Church, no one made a peep until this year, when an out-of-town Christian group from Pennsylvania called the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property staged a prayer rally at New Orleans City Hall to make reparation for the damage caused by the Krewe du Vieux blasphemy.

What damage? Well, New Orleans was struck by the worst hurricane disaster in history six months later. But let's call that a coincidence. Anyone wishing to complain about the obscene floats can call Mayor Ray Nagin's office at 504-658-4900. I called and said I was calling to complain about the Krewe du Vieux parading obscene and blasphemous floats on our streets and she took my name and numbers and said they've gotten quite a few calls.

- Ann Taylor, Editorial Director