Nine preachers were arrested Saturday after police said they yelled anti-gay slurs over bullhorns during a demonstration at Southern Decadence, an annual celebration of gay culture in the French Quarter. Patrick O’Connell, 45, Rolando Igleasias, 31, Cesar Chavez, 22, Daniel Hoogerhuis, 26, Danny Guevera, 20, Larry Craft, 52, Montes Diego, 32 and Gary Brown, 33 were arrested on suspicion of aggressive solicitation, a city law passed last October.
The ordinance prohibits “any person or group of persons to loiter or congregate on Bourbon Street for the purpose of disseminating any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise.” Another man, Justin Craft, 31, was arrested on suspicion of battery, resisting an officer and interfering with a law enforcement investigation. Craft allegedly punched an officer when he attempted to confiscate his bullhorn. Witnesses said the incident occurred around 8:30 p.m. outside Tropical Isle.
New Orleans police spokesman Frank Robertson said the men were previously warned not to use bullhorns, but did not comply. Casey Kolosky, a bouncer at Tropical Isle, said the preachers were making slurs against gays and also mentioned Hurricane Katrina victims.
Everyone’s Mardi Gras should be a little more pleasant now, I hope, with less bigotry and shouted accusations.