NEW ORLEANS – Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser waded into the controversy about LaToya Cantrell’s request to stop Lauren Daigle from performing in New Orleans on New Year’s Eve.
Daigle took part in a concert in Jackson Square where performers and attendees were largely maskless. Several people were also baptized in a large tub positioned on one side of the stage.
The concert was not properly permitted by the city, and Cantrell spoke out strongly against the gathering, which far exceeded the city’s COVID-19 gathering guidelines. Cantrell went on to ask organizers of the upcoming New Year’s Eve programming to ban Daigle from performing.
Nungesser said Cantrell’s request “cost not just New Orleans the opportunity at invaluable, worldwide promotion at a time when it’s needed most, they also cost every city in Louisiana that had a chance at hosting the event.”
“When Mayor Cantrell’s personal feelings toward Lauren Daigle being tapped to promote her city came to light, we attempted to move the safe, and socially-distanced, celebration to a location outside of New Orleans and Orleans Parish, even offering to hold the event on a riverboat in Gretna with New Orleans still serving as the backdrop,” Nungesser said. “It was then Mayor Cantrell took the issue to the next level, writing letters and making phone calls to Dick Clark Productions and ABC. The result of her actions was a decision by Dick Clark Productions to pull Lauren Daigle from the lineup and any celebration from Louisiana to be broadcast worldwide. In the long run, this action will not only hamper any efforts for New Orleans to recover from the pandemic, but also every city in the state which offered to host the event, and the state as a whole.”
Daigle played a key role in a 2018 tourism campaign by the state of Louisiana, Nungesser said. Daigle has made many appearances as a brand ambassador for the state, he said.
“To have invested so much into the promotion of our great state, along with promotion of the city of New Orleans, and see one of the biggest opportunities squandered over what can only be described as a retaliation is beyond belief,” Nungesser said. “I assure you, the Louisiana Office of Tourism and my office will never waver in our passion for this state and its cities, nor will we let personal feelings interfere with the promotion of Louisiana. We will work tirelessly to return Louisiana to record-breaking tourism years ahead.”