Three hundred Catholics gathered in front of New Orleans City Hall to pray and express their outrage for the blasphemous anti-Catholic floats in the French Quarter Mardi Gras promoted by the Krewe du Vieux parade organizers. The peaceful protest specifically responded to attacks on the honor and purity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of Prompt Succor in the 2005 Mardi Gras parade and revelries.
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) and its America Needs Fatima campaign were joined by local organizations such as Prayer Warriors of Saint Joan of Arc, the Crusade for the Conversion of Greater New Orleans and Tradition, Family, Property – Louisiana in promoting the two hour rally which started at 1:30 p.m on Saturday, February 3. It was a public act of reparation with litanies, rosaries and hymns.
Many openly claim that a return to the debauchery and blasphemy seen at past Mardi Gras celebrations is part of the “recovery process” for the city. However, the rally participants registered their complete rejection of such a “recovery” and asked city authorities to put a stop to such lewd and blasphemous displays against Jesus and Mary in the future.
The act of reparation was launched based on the documented accounts of lewd and graphic displays especially targeting the Sacred Heart and the Blessed Mother at the 2005 New Orleans Mardi Gras parades and revelries, some six months before Katrina.
“In light of the tragedy and devastation that is so widespread in New Orleans,” says rally coordinator Robert Ritchie, “the last thing Mardi Gras revelers should be thinking about is offending God with new blasphemies.”
Rally attendees heard inspiring addresses from leaders such as Mrs. Nancy Albert, head of the Crusade for the Conversion of Greater New Orleans, Former State Rep. Naomi Farve and Mr. Thomas Drake, president of Tradition, Family, Property – Louisiana. Catholics who traveled from Kansas, Texas and Florida for the event also addressed the crowd. Excerpts from the letter of New Orleans’ Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes to Mr. Robert Ritchie, of America Needs Fatima, were read. The crowd also heard a special message from Prince Bertrand of Orleans-Braganza, a direct descendant of Philippe, Duke of Orleans, after whom the city was named.
The rosary, litany to Our Lady of Prompt Succor, St. Joan of Arc, St. Louis IX and many other prayers marked the act of reparation with deep devotion.
Public outcry had been growing since the blasphemous floats appeared in the 2005 French Quarter Mardi Gras parades. The America Needs Fatima campaign had already asked its supporters nationwide to send tens of thousands of postcards and email protests addressed to the mayor and city council asking them to bring such public displays of blasphemy and lewdness to a halt.
In addition, TFP and America Needs Fatima supporters have been sending e-mail protests to the New Orleans City Hall and to members of the City Council. Besides the thousands of protest emails, the Mayor has received an estimated 47,000 protest postcards.
Chris Rose, the king of the Mardi Gras parade this year, has complained of those who are starting to associate the parade with blasphemy and pornography. He reports on receiving a letter from the Archdiocese director of pastoral service asking him to take measures against such displays (“King of the Dammed?” The Times Picayune, Feb. 6, 2007).
“I am appalled at the insensitivity of the Mayor of New Orleans and the City Council in face of the countless Catholics who are offended by these insults to Jesus and Mary,” said campaign director Robert E. Ritchie. “This rally is living proof that Our Lord and Our Lady have those who honor and defend her.”
The New Orleans protest is one of many such protests that seek to stem the epidemic of blasphemy that threatens to sweep the nation. Thousands of Catholics appeared for 2,092 peaceful protests and prayer vigils against the blasphemous Da Vinci Code movie in 2006.