Lit Up Like a Parade

Thursday marked the end of a countdown my daughter started on January 6: Muses.

Each night, after she listed her daily gratitudes and wrote in her diary, she would find the countdown calender drawn on pink paper and dressed in white, silver, purple, and red glitter. With her very special pen, she would carefully cross off one more day, informing me of  the new countdown as she called out wishes of sweet dreams. As the countdown slimmed from a month, to a week, and then to days, her excitement grew.

“I don’t know if I should wear a costume this year or not, Mama,” she contemplated in the middle of a lesson on polygons for her sixth grade math class.

“Mama. do you think I will get a shoe?”

“What do you think the floats will look like?”

“Which book should I bring with me to read while we wait?”

“Should I take pictures with my cell phone?”

“I am so excited for beads, Mama!”

She was preoccupied with the parade, the Krewe of Muses, and our Mardi Gras holiday.

Since our first parades as New Orleanians a few years ago, our Mardi Gras holiday has consisted of Muses on Thursday and d’Etat on Friday. Having a spouse working in the restaurant business, Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras were never spent together – he is busy insuring everyone else has their spirits high on these two special days. And because my daughter is a high-functioning autistic child, we stayed away from the crowds of the super krewes. Just in case.

We have always watched the parades along the extended route, sometimes called the family zone, and it has been an enjoyable experience. We have reconnected with old friends, exchanging Mardi Gras wishes while catching up with the latest changes in our lives, and have met many new friends. My daughter has played along strangers, created art while patiently waiting for the show to start, and read her first Nancy Drew book along the parade route. Through the challenges that we sometimes face throughout the year, issues dealing with social and sensory issues, Mardi Gras and Muses was the moment of the year where it all faded away, where we were a normal family embracing the culture in our new city, creating memories of our new life.

As we sat on the sidewalk along the parade route and patiently waited for start time, we talked about what we thought we would see, which bands we loved listening to best, and whether Elvis would make an appearance on his moped. We watched Pussyfooters pass by on foot, 610 Stompers in full uniform, and a few Bearded Oysters with high hair weaving through the crowd.  As parade time approached, as cliche as it sounds, there was a sparkle in my daughter’s eye and a smile so big, it made me wish that she could spend her life this happy – always.

And then they came. Despite sitting on the ground, our feet on the street, they came in front of us, a gaggle of college kids holding to-go cups full of booze, cigarettes in hand, f-bombs flying out of their mouths with no care who was around them.  Once the parade started, we stood, them still in the street. Then the first marching band hit the road, forcing us all to back up, my daughter getting lost in a sea of twenty-somethings drinking a little too much. Some were local, others were not. She looked at me, her eyes tense.

“Mama, I can’t see. And that guy keeps touching me with his beer.”

Despite her 5′ 6′ frame, she was surrounded by young adults too involved in gossiping about who was going to be screwing who, which picture they had on their phones that were “too epic’ to not post on Facebook, and preoccupied by the booze pouring out of their red SOLO cups.

One boy, over 6 foot, came dangerously close to starting my daughter’s hair on fire. Only one float had passed by.

“Excuse me, Sir,” I said, ” do you think you could move over a bit. My daughter cannot see, you’ve spilled some beer on her, and you almost got her with your cigarette.”

He looked at me blankly, then looked at her. He looked at my daughter from head to toe, staring at the patch on her coat that would indicate she was autistic to medical personal should an emergency arise. He sneered at me before laughing in my face.

I put my arms around my daughter, warming her up, protecting her, whispering in her ear.

The tall man with the bear hat on his head paid no mind to us. He didn’t move, either.

“Hey, man! I need to move. This woman is bitching at me because her retard daughter can’t see the parade!” he shouted to a kid a few feet away.

He turned back to us, looked my daughter in the eye, and shouted to no one in particular. “This retard is making watching the parade a challenge.”

My daughter looked at me, knowing he was talking about her, and tears formed in her eyes. I wrapped my arms around her a bit tighter and whispered in her ear that the man was drunk, didn’t know what he was saying, and sometimes the best thing to do is to know the truth about yourself and ignore what other people say.

My words didn’t matter, though. By then, she had heard what he had said, knew what he was implying about her, and she wanted to go home. Had she not been with, I may have had a few choice words of my own, but I knew it wasn’t the time and certainly not the place.

A night she had been looking forward to, planning and anticipating for a few months, had just been marred by that bad behavior of a grown person.

“Mama. please, can we go home? He told everyone I’m a retard. I’m not a retard, am I, Mama?” she asked. The grin was gone, replaced by a quivering lip. The sparkle in her eyes had dispersed, and they were now filled with a flow of tears falling down her full, pink cheeks.

“Are you sure, honey? We could walk somewhere else and watch the parade. We could move.”

“No, Mama. I don’t think that would be a good idea. People there will probably think I’m a retard, too. People don’t want people like me at parades. They won’t let us in to watch the parade. I just know it.”

I tried to comfort her with my words, encourage her, but the more I pushed, the more this man’s words hurt.

We packed up the bag holding the the goods that had entertained us for the  two hours  we sat on the sidewalk, waiting for our special night. The bag that held my daughter’s snacks, sketch pad, books, and blanket. I took her hand, and led her to the car to go home.

She cried in the car on the way home, having seen exactly two floats from Muses and having exactly zero throws to show for the verbal attack that she endured just trying to watch her favorite parade.

“Honey, I am really sorry about what happened. Maybe we can try tomorrow night. Maybe we can go to a different spot, ” I said, trying to encourage her and save the rest of our Mardi Gras.

“No, Mama. I don’t think I want to do Mardi Gras anymore. Not ever again.”

A year ago, I asked my daughter what she most loved about Mardi Gras, expecting her to say the throws, the beads, and the pretty costumes. Her answer surprised me: “I don’t feel like I am different than everyone else during Mardi Gras, Mama. During Mardi Gras, everyone is a little weird like me.”

That night, she didn’t want to share her daily gratitudes, shrugging her shoulders and telling me she didn’t really feel grateful for much. She didn’t write in her journal, only wanting to forget the night had even happened. Her countdown calendar peppered the floor in tear-soaked pieces. A night that he had probably already forgotten by the next morning; a night that her broken heart will never let her forget.

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Administrator’s Note: The response to Amy’s story has been heart-warming and overwhelming. We are so proud and happy to read the wonderful comments you’re leaving. I’m attempting to monitor all comments so negative and mean ones will be deleted. Please help by not responding to those mean comments. We thank you!

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768 thoughts on “Lit Up Like a Parade

  1. Oh honey, my heart aches for her.

    Give her a great big hug from me and tell her that she is absolutely beautiful :)

    • Heartbreaking… Mardi Gras is such a happy time, especially for kids, I’m a radio dj here in New Orleans and I’d love to raid our prize closet and send her some age appropriate treats. I want her back in the spirit for her countdown next year! Send me an email fresh@freshjohnson.com

      • That’s a great idea. So sorry that this young People have no Respect for them self or others. So sorry for you daughter that she had to hear any of that. Sad world that we live in. She has a beautiful heart.

      • No parent can protect their children from the world’s pain, no more than our own parents could protect us. It breaks my heart when my daughter suffers, much more so than when I suffer. I’m so sorry for her, and for you especially. Please inform her of second chances, and give it another try next year.

    • I performed in Muses, and please let your daughter know, we were dancing for awesome people like her and not jerks like that guy! I will personally paint a shoe for her if she wants one- just email me at housing.kathyg@gmail.com… My heart breaks and my anger swells at the thought your young lady didn’t get to enjoy something she liked so much. I hope she gives Muses and Mardi Gras another chance- from the comments I’ve read here, you have loads of supporters that will help do whatever they can to keep the jerks away :D

        • If your daughter does end up on a float (which would be awesome), I will want to know which one, so I can cheer especially loudly for her. I spent a year as an aide for a high-functioning autistic child, and it was so difficult to see him so keenly aware of his differences and unable to be the way he wanted to be.

          On the other hand, one of my best friends is a high-functioning autistic. People thought he wouldn’t graduate from high school. But he did–and got accepted to his first choice college, his first choice grad school, and he’s now serving in the Peace Corps. He lives a life far better than the people who ridiculed him when he was young, and it’s a gorgeous thing to watch. Your daughter has endless potential!

    • I am so sorry to hear about your daughter’s experience as it is so sad that people don’t take into consideration that ANY child is behind them at a parade….Tell her that she is VERY special as I too would have had a few choice words for them. I teach 2nd grade and truly LOVE what I do…I have taught many special children as all are special in their own way!

    • I am in tears over this story! I am in Muses and was on Float 5–it sounds like you already have lots of offers for shoes, but I’d love to help and make this right. I saw a college age kid get arrested on Napoleon Ave. across from Superior Seafood during Krewe d’etat for flipping off an older gentleman and being visibly intoxicated. The older man told a police officer. The officer asked the kid to leave the parade route several times or else he was going to jail–he was arrested when he wouldn’t comply. Anyway, my point with that is find a police officer if anything like this ever happens again–they were harassing you and your daughter and obviously publicly intoxicated–the NOPD wants them off the parade route too! Families should be safe watching a parade. Email me at tarynnicole@hotmail.com if you could use a shoe, throws, or even if my own daughters could send your daughter a card of encouragement! I am so sorry that happened to y’all!

      • I had a similar experience with very drunk college guys, BIG ones, some years ago while watching in a very family area. They were spilling beer on us, blowing smoke in our faces and the worst was the wholesale cursing – F*** bombs everywhere. I couldn’t find a policeman ANYWHERE, ended up confronting the guy myself, and his friends finally pulled him away and they moved. My own kids thought they were going to have to jump in and fight to rescue me! Fortunately, not all his friends were drunk. This behavior needs to stay in the quarter, not out on St. Charles and other family areas. So sorry but glad the Krewe was so great to y’all. This is why I don’t even bother to come very often any more.

    • Aww, you know – I think for the first time in my life I would have done something like this….I would have calmly found some “bigger” guy and paid him gererously to go beat the crap out of that low life kid….and after he was finished – I would have had him tell the loser ( that’s from the “retard (as he so kindly put it)’s Mother…) :)

    • I fly in from out of state every year on Thur to ensure I catch Muses…I know the anticitpation and joy your dgthr was looking forward to… I didn’t catch much but every little thing I brought home I will very gladly mail her way. StephanieL80@yahoo.com I work as an OT with Autistic children and want you to continue to push and encourage her every day. She is not “retarted” and in no way different than any of us…she is a person- with feelings, dreams, and love. Help her learn a challenging lesson from this and grow into the amazing woman I know you will help her become. Bless you and I hope the endearing words from all these strangers help you and her realize the world is not all some drunk insecure frat boy looking for a laugh…

      • I am a pediatric OT as well and you beautifully explained my sentiments. What an awful person that boy must be. Karma…

    • I would love nothing more than to send over gifts from my krewe, although we didn’t roll in muses, we rolled a few days later. I have secondline umbrellas, and more. please email me at mardiclaw@gmail.com. when I read this? it reverberated the conversations of “not so neutral ground” discussions since the parades. Myself, having difficulty just crossing the street, sometimes having to walk several blocks to get through. My hopes are this article make it on the mayors desk, and police chief. its time new orleans got a grip, before more of these people arrive next year for the superbowl, to ruin the “party” for everyone. I have a girl in my krewe who is in a wheelchair, and it wasn’t easy getting her across the streets, or even parade route fun. its time new orleans showed respect to the families who come out each year, and cleanse ourselves of these roving kids, and walls of ladders, and ropes that “claim” territory for a few selfish groups of people. its time the friendship, and meet and greet of new friends returned to the parade route.

    • Honey, we have a large neighborhood group that sets up just around the corner from where you were watching. We never miss Muses (or we’d have some angry CamelToe Mammas to answer to). If you have any doubts about next year, look me up, you have my email and I’ll make sure there is a parking space and parade space for you and your daughter to enjoy.

    • I have a bag full of beads that I would be honored to give to you guys. Just email me at plawmac@aol.com and we can arrange a drop off point. I’m a native New Orleanian, and I’m heart broken about what happened. I want to do whatever is possible to re-instill in your daughter the fact that she is not just equal to, but better than most people.

    • *ALL THAT IS ESSENTIAL IS INVISIBLE TO THE EYE*:::. ~The Little Prince*:::.
      A message* to your dAughter*::::. *May All Your DAys Be Bright*, & Filled With LoVE* & Light*, & may all your dreAmZ* come true*:::. *~ You* should -NEVER- feel alone, oR~ forsaken, -EVER-, you* deserVe* all the hAppiness* iN the world, & know that the cruel behaviour you* run up against, is unjust, & should not deter you* from feeling* happy* & shining* brightly*. I* wish* you* all the mArdi grAs* in the UniVerse*!!! & know that there are others* out there, that send loVE* to you*:::. Be proud* of who you* are*~ *always*, & never worry too much about fitting in oR~ concerning yourself with the idiocy of people, people can be oblivious to that crime, because they’re not good at putting themselves in other people’s shoes. No one should rain on your parade, ~ever.! Do not ever lose sight*, your mAgic*, & your individuality*, inside* & out* is one* of a kind for a reason. You* are beAutiful*, a dreAmer*, & perfect*, always* , remember that~*!!! L*O*V*E* NATALIE* GODSTAR*

    • *~ p.s.: I* have some Muses* pink shoes* for her~* i* could find a way to get them to you guys~* LoVE*

    • It’s sad to think that such an insensitive person could crush a beautiful experience. Hugs all around!

    • As the mom of another high-functioning autistic child (not in New Orleans, but in Charlotte), my heart aches for you both…and wish you God’s peace. You did all the right things, but I certainly would have wanted to put my fist in the young “man’s” nose…I’m so sorry he stole her joy…but she’s got lots of friends here, it seems, that would love to give her that joy back. It just goes to show how sensitive our kiddos are, and how quickly their joys in life can be stolen. Much love from here, too.

    • Your Precious Angel will learn a valuable lesson from this ugly, hurtful encounter, that love always overcomes hate. She is a bright, shining Spirit and always will be. He is an ignorant, arrogant Jerk and always will be, if he does not grow up and chooses to become a decent man. Yes, Karma always prevails. I hope Emily rides on a float next year for all to see that light always overcomes darkness in the end. Bless you , Emily!

    • pepol are so mine they don’t think befor they say anything how hurtful there words are and can be to any kids ,my haret acks for y’all .you are a beautyful person never let any one pull you down they just have no idear what there doing are saying . i hope you can let this go sweetie and enjoy mg nexts year .xoxoxox.

    • this story brings tears to my eyes, as my daughter has autism too. she is not high functioning like your daughter but I know she knows she is different. if that was me, I would have decked that man across the face, people can be so mean and rude!!

    • I wish that all people, children and adults alike, could have the wonderful, pure spirit and attitude that your daughter displays. It sounds like she has the absolute, most perfect mother to remind her of that. I hope she realizes that it is not she that is weird or different, but those who chose to make such nasty remarks and display such rude behavior. There is absolutely no excuse for the actions of these “young adults.” I do hope that your daughter forgets this incident, somehow, some way, because SHE is an inspiration and exhibits how true, loving human beings should act and behave.
      God bless you both!

    • I am torn about this post- up until I read this, I had given no thought to something like this happening, but now I wonder. My son is 12, and in the center of the spectrum. He is not as high functioning as the sweetheart in this situation, he is unable to understand the word “retard.”

      I have a Bucket List, and the clock is ticking. I wanted to cross Mardi Gras off my list with my children with me. . .something just so magical about it, and I wanted memories like that for my children. Because of my health, I could not attend this year, despite having made arrangments for a place to stay, but put it back at the top of my list for 2013.

      While it is true that my son would not understand that word, my other children would. . .and well, I don’t know. I so want memories that are magical for them to remember me, this would not be the case. However, the many sweet people here make it seem like I could still give it a shot. My 10 year old daughter is dreaming of the whole glittering deal!

      Michele

      • Hi Michele,
        I lived on the coast for a really long time. I’ve had good and also bad experiences at Mardi Gras. In New Orleans, it is unfortunately, a mad house of people, many many of them are drunk. My best suggestion is to go over to Biloxi, MS and attend the parades there instead. The route is fairly long, winding throughout the town and down the beach, so there are many places to stand and enjoy it all. The rowdiest place would be directly downtown so I would suggest being anywhere but right there near the main street and city hall. That is where most want to be so if you go somewhere else it can be really really fun and your kids would get to enjoy the thrill of catching the necklaces, the dubloons and the candy ;) [I think we usually watched from the Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd area if you want to google that location] I’d suggest attending the morning parade and the afternoon parade. The night parade tends to be the most rowdy. I am sure they would have a blast and a positive experience =-)

        One other suggestion I would make is to contact a place like the Biloxi Elks or the Shriner’s at the Joppa Shrine Temple when you get into town. Both organizations do a lot to assist kids and special needs individuals. They may be able to assist you and your son, as well as your other kids to find a good place to attend the parade. There may even be a section where those with special needs are given a place to stand, sit, etc where they can truly enjoy the experience.

      • Michele,
        I am a New Orleans native and completely love Mardi Gras. I have only missed it a couple of times when my kids were infants. I think you should definitely go to New Orleans there is nothing quite like it and it is magical. If you do go you should stand around Magazine or Napoleon st. It is very family friendly and we have always had fun and met new people during the parade. Good luck with your decision!

    • To Emily and her family:

      I saw in your article that you only came to NOLA a few years ago. I hope you see that THIS is what New Orleans and New Orleanians are all about…not what happened on the parade route, but the aftermath of support that you see here and from the Muses organization along with the 610 Stompers, the Elvi, and everyone who has shared your story on Facebook, nola.com, etc. Every year it pains me when I start seeing articles about Bourbon St., boobs, and booze. That’s not what Mardi Gras is about…and it’s not who we are. Community spirit is what we’re about. I am so glad that I saw the article on nola.com about Emily Gras and how well she was treated today. I hope she had the time of her life!

    • She deserves the best things possible in life….and Muses is providing a little bit of sunshine for her! YAY, Muses! You rock!

  2. Ooooooh, she writes, she writes. Am jealous. Is magnificent. Wish I could kick some frat boy booty. :) Love you.

    • This is a terrible story of ignorance and cruelty. But why do you need to sensationalize it even more by assuming it was a “frat boy”? She wrote “college” kid.

    • Hey John maybe you should try having a little compassion for other people. Parades are not for drunk belligerent frat boys to stand around making fun of innocent children it is for friends,family,etc. to watch the show and have a good time without being harassed. I hope if you have children you will experience what it’s like to be at a family friendly event and have your child made fun of and you see who’s side you are on the “belligerent drunk” or your child…. Happy Mardi Gras Jack A**!

      • Why would you wish that on anyone’s innocent child for something they said? You are not a nice person. “Maybe you should try having a little compassion,” (to quote you) for this person’s possible present/future children. What makes their kids any less deserving of kind and considerate treatment than that of the author’s?

  3. You email me at theamyexperience at gmail dot com and I will mail her the shoe I caught from the float. I am so angry on yours and her behalf that I can hardly think. What sort of soulless b@st@rd does that to a little girl!!!!!!

    • Amy, you have my email address. I don’t have a shoe to send, but perhaps some items from the KOE parade, Bacchus, or the Sashay Brothers would also be welcome! If you hear back, let me know. Hugs to you Amy, you have a heart of gold.

    • Amy, you also have my e-mail and I do have a shoe I would be thrilled to send to this little girl….this breaks my heart. And Mike, thank you too.

      Karma is a bitch and what goes around, comes around. I think this mom showed exceptional restraint, which I am not sure I could have done.

    • There are a LOT of Muses that would like your contact information. We would even be happy to deliver a mini parade in costume. We must restore Muses and Mardi Gras for your beautiful little girl. email me at venetia at hotmail.com.

    • I’d like to echo these offers. I know a few Rolling Elvi, Muses, and Muff-a-Lottas. All of which would love to help roll in a parade. We may be able to line a up a venue pretty easily as well to host it in. If you would like us to continue with these plans and allow us to help, then let me know either way. Remember to keep smiling. Cheers!

      • I’m in too! I can get a bunch of kings and queens from Thoth, we can decorate her some shoes, I’ve also got women from iris, some elvi and maybe even some 610 stompers. I’ve got a bunch of leftover throws too! Someone email me! Eschoen1982 at gmail.com

        • I have a few right-foot heels I’d like to donate for decorating. Maybe ‘our’ sweetie-pie would like to decorate herself? Then she could choose to either keep them or pass them on. email: nolacharm@gmail.com. Let me know how I can help put that twinkle back in her eyes.

      • I am not a member of any Krewe at this point, though I do intend to join. Regardless, I (and a few others) would be more than happy to join up for a personal parade for her to try and alleviate some of the damage done by the insensitive and cruel waste of space.

        I have MUCH respect for her mother, but I know I could not have displayed such restraint as I am even now wishing I knew who this guy was to offer more than a piece of my mind. It is discouraging to hear how vile people can be to others. :(

        You can email me if you’d like the extra “Krewe” (if her/your daughter is able to get past her hurt to try another parade) at Daastania at gmail.com.

        • I also know four eight year old girls that would love to be a part of this parade. One in which these two girls have a lot of similarities. I could not imagine this happening to her. The excitement with it being her first Mardi Gras this year. Please email me details bellaboo0306@yahoo.com

          • I am so sorry for your daughter’s experience. Awful! I am 33 years old and have cerebral palsy that does not require a wheelchair. Aside from the physical challenges parades present for me, I can finally confess to most that do not know, that THIS IS the reason I usually decline to go to parades. Alas, now that I have children, I must go to them after a long absence, as they should be able to enjoy something as special as Mardi Gras. Sadly, I know it will happen again and in front of my children, when they can unfortunately comprehend what is occurring. I have already begun preparing myself and my children–but I wish I did not have to do so. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You have touched so many people in the city and helped so many of us who can relate. I will leave my email as well: tknola78@gmail.com if you need anything. Thanks again for sharing and I’m so thrilled with what Muses is doing!

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s experience. Muses happens to be one of my very favorite parades as well. I hope that you can convey to your daughter what a very special and wonderful person she is and that some stupid comment from an idiot is just that, ignorant. I did not attend any parades this year because of work, etc. but I do have something that I would love to send to your daughter. My partner and I used to have a shop in the French Quarter, we made Mardi Gras masks. We closed our shop about a year ago but I do have a few masks left. They are all one of a kind and over the last 10 years we’ve made quite a few. Our shop was called N.O. Madness Masks. If you would send me your shipping information, I would love to send her a mask. My email address is nomdness@aol.com. Again, sorry for what happened to your daughter and please give her a hug and let her know she is truly special.

    • Please email me at alicia.s.leo@gmail.com. I would love to send your daughter a special Muses gift. My 2 year old daughter is also high functioning & I commend you for not knocking his lights out.. though it must of been tempting. Much love <3

    • This just absolutely breaks my heart. I’ll never understand the ignorance and insensitivity of some people, and I applaud the restraint you showed in the moment. I don’t know if I could have done the same.
      While I’m not in Muses, I’d love to help out the Muses ladies in making a parade specially for your daughter to enjoy. Please keep us posted and let us know what we can do, because I’d be honored to help bring the joy and magic of Mardi Gras back to your daughter.

      • Awe, Kat, let me know too the kids would love to participate in this. My kids have been taught from literally babies to treat others with respect no matter what their differences may be and I’ve watched them over and over in several situations step up when another child needed it or let someone know their place for being cruel.
        This story breaks my heart, please keep me posted it.

    • I truly want to help and to try to put that sparkle back into her sweet soul….I have a daughter like this and I know how hurtful people can be…..anyway, I design and make all sorts of stuff….jewelry, hair bling, clothing, etc….please let me know if there is ANYTHING I can make especially for her…..you can contact me personally if you want and I will give you my website, etc….(I don’t want to make this an ad for me…this is about that sweet child…..). Does she like anything in particular that is NOT Mardi Gras related? Of course, I would do ANYTHING she likes! : ) God Bless you and that child!

  4. Painful, painful, painful. I invite y’all to join us for Muses next year. There can be safety in numbers, provided you have the right people; we’re close to the route and always have many people over. We manage to create a bit of a buffer for the kids and we’ve had very good luck securing a good spot with decent allies all around. So sorry your girl had to be subjected to such jackassery.

  5. I want to beat him to death with my own hands! How DARE he????? I wish I could do something from here to make it up to her – to show her that a little weird is a LOT wonderful and that there are many other celebratiosn to look forward to. If you can think of even ONE she might want to see in or around DC BRING her, and we will take our girls together!!!!!

  6. I am so sorry. I feel like I should apologize for this idiot. Who, in fact has the problems but HIM. He must feel like a pretty worthless individual if he has to take his insecurities out on an innocent child!! The unloved in life get kicked by the wayside but it’s the LOVED and NURTURED that survive!! Your daughter will heal and survive as a strong individual!!

  7. Amen to all the previous comments, and wow, I am so sorry for you both. Give her a hug from all of us, and tell her there’s people out there who care about her, and not to let one loser ruin the parade of life. Tell her me and all the other weirdos love her!!

  8. The float of which I am a part (Flamingos) would like to make Muses special for your daughter again. Would you please email me at morgan period packard at gmail dot com when you have a moment?

  9. I’m so sad and angry at the same time. Tell her about Derek’s offer, tell her she’ll be safe from the mean, angry people. She should not have had that happen to her. That fratboy SOB WILL be repaid for his coldhearted actions. Bless you both!

    • So sorry to hear about what happened to your daughter, it was extremely wrong of that guy.and I do agree that something should be done about the rudeness of jerks during Mardi Gras. but as a Greek myself, the generalization of being a “fratboy” is being severely misused. Not all guys in fraternities are rude and drunk. I don’t know how it is at other schools, but at my school greeklife prides themselves on our reputations and you would see more people respecting your daughter, not putting her down. we have our own philanthropies to help people in need and to raise money for research and such. So please don’t stereotype all Greeks into the same “fratboy” idea, not all are the same.

      • You do the philathropy to make your partying and overall rudeness excusable and so your frat brothers can give you jobs later. There are always one or two Greek orgs on campus that get it right but most of the time, in most universities, you can barely police your own. It’s fine to stand up for you, but you know what I wrote about most Greek orgs is right. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

  10. My MUSES float wants to deliver shoes and throws!!! Please let us know where to ship…… The MUSES are all about kids and good clean fun!! Poorly behaved parade goers should stay home. Shame on that jerk!!!!

  11. My heart breaks for your daughter and for you! Having children of my own, I just can’t believe people can live with acting this way, especially towards kids! Sad to say but that type of behavior is exactly why, I rarely bring my kids to parades anymore and now tend to stick to Mandeville parades! Last year, my oldest daughter was hurt during a fist fight between college drunks while we were watching a parade… So sickening! Give your daughter a BIG hug and let her know that there are those of us out there that appreciate and value the “weirdness” and differences of others! <3

    • AMEN!! I am reading this with such pain in my heart. I cannot believe he is a native New Orleanian, we were taught to let kids be in front and enjoy the parade and get a chance to catch throws. Give her a hug from me. <3

  12. Mardis Gras has changed for us over the years-having started attending in our 20’s and now in our mid-40’s with a teenager that always attends two days of Mardis Gras with us. Even in my 20’s, we were smart enough to realize that Mardis Gras is especially spectacular for kiddos. The people you encountered are obviously ignorant and deserve a life lesson beat down. Knowing several of the women in Muses, I am certain that they can help restore that excitement and feeling your daughter once had….we are capable of amazing things when working towards a common goal.

  13. Like Amy, I too have a Muses shoe that I am happy to send her way. Just let me know where to send at bathtubmary at hotmail dot com and as soon as my costume box reunites with me I’ll ship it to her. So sorry she had to deal with that.

  14. The float I road on would also like to get her some stuff from the parade. Please email me at nscalia@derouenlaw.com. I would also love to put on my costume and personally deliver the stuff to her. We live in that area and know how wonderful it can be for families and cannot say how disgusted I am that this happened.

    Nikki

    • I ride with Nikki and we have a lot of people on our float and others that would be more than willing to show this girl what she missed! I have sent an email to the krewe captain and other higher-ups for any additional help. I’ve got a few left over throws and I’m sure I could dig up some more from friends. This little girl CANNOT give up on Muses and Mardi Gras!! I hope karma gets a good tight hold on that guy and I hope he is NEVER able to enjoy another Mardi Gras! If anyone has contact info for this wonderful momma, it would be greatly appreciated

      • Just A Muse, you and Nikki bring tears to my eyes. I hope you really can arrange to deliver the goods in costume.

        I was ill and housebound for months a couple of years ago, and near Halloween, two friends unexpectedly turned up in costume (pirates!). I’ll never forget what a huge lift that was. I’m sure this young lady will feel the same.

        I’m not from New Orleans, but I love to visit because the people are all so kind. Well, almost all!

  15. As a Tulane student, and a young resident of New Orleans, I am disgusted and angered at that jerk’s actions. People like him are the reason why I don’t enjoy Mardi Gras anymore. Some of my peers can be extremely callous and frankly obnoxious individuals with absolutely no courtesy or regard for the feelings of others. Your daughter sounds like a sweetheart and I really hope that she can get over the cruel words of a drunk frat boy and hopefully love the parades again. Rest assured that karma will bite him back hard one day :)

    • I am an alum from Tulane but from Metairie. My heart breaks for you and your girl. Unfortunately, all of the out-of-towner college students (I’m my experience, the local ones respect others), are the ones who are extremely disrespectful. Sunday, Tulane students who I did not know (but knew one of my friends from a club), decided that they could sit in my chairs, drink our beer, break my tent, try to fight with my boyfriend, and also tell him how much they hate the military. They also got super drunk, one started making out with everyone, and also passed out in my chair. Their excuse for their animalistic behavior is, what they said, “Come on, it’s Mardi Gras!”

      I hope that she will be able to enjoy it again. I couldn’t image going through what you and your daughter went through. Because of this year’s experience, I am going to pay (even though I don’t want to) for being in a reviewing stand. I applaud the many Muses women here, and other commenters.

      • Tulane students spit on my friends from UNO. They are ridiculous. That’s what comes from growing up entitled. We don’t have this problem at my college.

        I’m very sorry for what happened to your daughter. I think you should take up the Muses group on their kind offers.

        • I held a spot for myself, my daughter, and my family this year, and by the time Muses rolled around, my tent was almost completely overrun by 7 foot tall Tulane students and I couldn’t see a thing. I was utterly disgusted and ready to give up on any parade going experience myself. To make matters worse, every woman in my group got a shoe except for me… I moved here in Fall of 2008, and I’ve decided that it takes exactly 3 mardi gras seasons to be “so over it.”.

        • Hold on, just one second. I am a Tulane alum, and a sorority alum at that. I certainly didn’t grow up entitled. Both my parents worked hard and I grew up in a trailer park. I started working at the age of 15, and I paid for everything I ever had: car, school conferences, college. The only way that I ended up at Tulane was hard work and a very good scholarship programme. That and working my way through for 4 years.

          I find this kid’s actions absolutely appalling, and I believe that karma will come back on him some day when he mouths off to the wrong person. That said, Amy never said that this kid was a Tulanian, just a college kid. Yes, he may have been Tulanian, but he could have also been from Loyola, UNO, LSU, or even from a university out of town. I spent most of my Mardi Gras’s with kids who just wanted to experience the stereotypical Mardi Gras, but were from Boston, Florida, California. It’s not fair to just crucify one school simply because you’ve got something against ‘entitled’ kids. I know plenty of them who work they’re way through, like I did. So maybe you should take a step back and re-read the post before you start pointing fingers. Pointing fingers and jumping to conclusions only creates more problems.

          • Yeah, all of this. I simply mentioned Tulane because I am still a “college kid” and that just happens to be the university I attend, and then everyone jumped all over that opportunity to volunteer their anecdote about how horrible Tulane students are. Like I said, I come from a self-made, middle class family, and I certainly did not grow up entitled. I came to Tulane via scholarship. Not all of us are total brats.

          • I think it’s time to stop this line of discussion. Please don’t make me delete your future comments. This is about Amy and her daughter and the big hearts who are commenting here. It’s not about you or any college. Thanks

      • I have to say, not all Tulane students are that way. I am actually originally from New York, and I come from a regular middle class family. I am truly sorry for the actions of my peers, they make me embarrassed to be a Tulanian.

  16. I am literally crying right now – this was my first year as a riding member of Muses, and it was the best night of my life. I have tons of extra throws, shoes, etc. Please send me an email at JDAddis@gmail.com and we will send you beacoup Muses swag. Tell your daughter to keep her chin up and that the Muses love her!!!!!

  17. I have no words that could ever adequately express my disgust and frustration with this situation. However, I can say that I am a MUSE with a special needs son and would be happy to send your daughter a shoe and other MUSE goodies. My friends and I pool our throws–and in the rush at the end about half a bag of throws and a few shoes were left in a back bin. Please send your mailing address at your convenience.

  18. What a sad sad tale. Bless Y’alls hearts. She sounds so New Orleanian, even in her feelings now about Mardi Gras. I hope she comes back to the parades, but I know people who just won’t do the big parades. Born and raised here. Yet they do do the smaller parades and the Indians. Does she know about the Indians?

    Thank goodness she has you as her greatest Muse. I feel confident the other MUSES will find her. It’s what yous muses do.<3

  19. Amy and I have been talking all day and we are amazed and grateful for the response from our readers and the members of the wonderful Krewe of Muses. New Orleanians, those in body and those in spirit, have the kindest hearts on earth and you’re showing it here today. Thank you!

  20. Pingback: We Interrupt This Musing… « Deep Fried Yankee

  21. You and your family have a personal invitation to spend Mardi Gras day on my St Charles avenue balcony on the parade route next year. I might be able to swing Muses too. You daughter will be welcomed and loved and surrounded by other kids and no drunk idiots once You are up there and she will go home with so much fabulous loot she will forget about this years experience. My email is theavenuepub@gmail.com . Email me this week so we can exchange info for next year. Also, if she doesn’t have a muses shoe I’ll give her one of mine. I’m not I’m muses but my daughter and I make them for fun for friends that do ride. I’m the owner of the Avenue Pub.

    • I go to the Avenue for the parades every year, and always have a great time. Staff is great about keeping the drunken antics at a low, and once you’re up on the balcony you will be far and away from any idiots. I am so sorry for what happened to your daughter, and hope that the good wishes and gifts from all these great people will help change her attitude about Mardi Gras. I’m a recent college grad myself, and an out-of-towner to boot (now 7-year “local”). I am APPALLED at the way you were treated, and can say that neither myself nor anyone I know would act like such an utter ass. If I ever see this treatment happening to anyone, I will be more than happy to step in and end it. I might only be 5’2″ but I’m feisty and I’ve got a very loud voice. This should NEVER happen to anyone, Mardi Gras is about fun and family. If you want to be ridiculous go to Bourbon Street.

  22. I worked with children with Autism for two years before moving to New Orleans to teach Special Education at a local public school. It breaks my heart to hear this story. ALL children are wonderful, beautiful, unique individuals who share a common love and joy for beauty and celebration.

    I received my first Muses shoe this year, and would love to give it to your daughter. If you would like to send me your address, I will bring or send it to you. My email address is casie@futureprepnola.org.

  23. The comments here show how amazing the people from New Orleans are. Even though this was an unbelievably terrible experience for you and your daughter, I hope some amazing things will come of it <3

  24. I am sure this young man has a mother who would be mortified by his actions if she only knew how he treated a fellow human being. As a mother of college aged boys, I pray and hope that some of the morals and love for people have been instilled deeply and that I would not have to worry that they would disgraced me or themselves in that manner. I am so sorry to hear that your daughter has to face this type of behavior in our world. Please, everyone, let us show people who are just a different, no matter the reason, that there are still some decent human beings living on this earth.

  25. This post really touched me as a recent transplant and 24 year old. My group of friends and I always celebrate the children (some who end up being students or ex-students of ours) around us at the parades. I hope she has a successful school year and attends next year’s Mardi Gras!

  26. What a story. I feel for your darling daughter and hope that indeed by next year she changes her mind and watches with some of these amazing, generous, welcoming people. The frat boy will live in shame and has probably already lost friends for his cretinish behavior.

  27. Email me traceybenoit@gmail.com, I have some throws to mail to her along with a sweet little card for a special young girl..Just remember, this people will have to answer to God one day….so sad
    Give her hugs for me and tell her she is the most special little angel in all the world..
    Sincere Hugs,
    Tracey Schexnayder

  28. I must say as a dear friend of the author of this post, you people are amazing! :) Beautiful, beautiful. What the heck is a shoe?

  29. oh amy! i remember how very upset she was. how you were so disilusioned you were. yall decided to make nola home!I am so happy to see this response. thank you fine people for restoring my faith! em u rock! amy,.tqm

  30. I have tears rolling down my cheeks. I do not ride with Muses, but walk in a walking krewe and have extra glass beads and a shoe that I would love to get them to your daughter. I would also like to participate in anything that happens to deliver happiness and Mardi Gras to your home. Please email: amyloewy@gmaildotcom.

  31. sad story. drunk college boys suck.

    what amazing people these Muses are, makes me want to visit NOLA.

    Amy, if you ever want to bring Miss Emily to the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade we have friends who let us join them at their car dealership right on the parade route. Best seats.

  32. Amy, I am so sorry this happened to your daughter. I’ve experienced similar bs from frat boys and sorority girls up and down the avenue because of my skin color. My husband and I stand at the same LGD corner every year and we do fine until the suburban crowds come in for superkrewe weekend. They take over with their chairs and coolers, and when I come to stand at MY corner, pull their purses and belongings in a little tighter while giving me the suspicious sideeye. All of this culminated on Upper Magazine St. where my friend had to assure her neighbors that I was with her and not there to steal drinks out of the cooler.

    Your daughter is different to small-minded people just as I am. This is never going to change until someone can liquify common sense and put it in our drinking water. While we all feel indignation, anger and humiliation on her behalf, please let her know this is also a lesson, a gratitude. Thank goodness I learned this so early, thank goodness I am and probably will never be one of those ignoramuses, thank goodness I am me.

    Nextyear, bring her on down to Krewe du Vieux and King Arthur, two of the most inclusive parades to which I have the honor to belong. We’ll take care of her.

  33. I am literally in tears reading this…I CANNOT believe this happened to you and your sweet daughter. I ride in Muses. While I do not have any shoes left from parade night, I would be THRILLED to make one especially for your daughter. I still have my glitter & glue hanging around here somewhere. Please let me know how I can get a shoe to you!

  34. The Muses are amazing women! How sad that young people can be so stupid. I would love to smack that guy. We don’t live along the route but we always watch Muses. Feel free to contact me if you guys would like to meet us. As Derek said, there is safety in numbers. We adults can create a buffer zone. Your sweet daughter should have her Mardi Gras back.

  35. It is such a shame that this is what Mardi Gras has come to. It breaks my heart to hear your story. I am waiting to become a MUSE and would love to help in any way that I can. We are all unique in our own ways … let your differences shine!

  36. I pray your daughter will regain her love and passion for the joy, excitement and
    beauty of the Mardi Gras season through the love and care shown by all the Muses here – it is a sinful crime that a drunkard loser like this frat boy could destroy her joy. Karma will come around and bite this jerk in ways he cannot imagine now.

  37. Wow..Amy…I was so upset reading about your experience but I am now in tears reading the responses and the amazing outpouring from so many wonderful people! No wonder Muses is my favorite Krewe, what kind hearted and compassionate ladies! I hope that they are able to bring the magic of Mardi Gras back to Em…you are such an awesome mom! Hugs to you and Em!

    • My thoughts exactly. I cried when I read this, but there’s a reason everyone loves Muses. They’re just the best.
      Hey Em, I dealt with similar problems having been born almost 3 months early, I have a high IQ but also some severe ‘learning differences’.
      I avoid the big parades, but love the Muses so much, I try to make it when I can get the chutzpah to deal with the huge crowd.
      Love to you Em and love to the ones who responded to this letter.
      April

  38. Those frat boys can be asses this time of year. The one year I chaperoned for Xavier Prep one of them was hitting chaperone’s on top of the head. He hit me and I beat the sh*t otta him. I’m so pissed this horrible incident happened to her. The posters here are amazing.

    • “gaggle of college kids holding to-go cups full of booze, cigarettes in hand, f-bombs flying out of their mouths with no care who was around them. ” I’ve read her blog three times, and don’t see “frat boy” anywhere.

      • Jan,
        Get over it! This is the second time you’ve posted that. Unfortunately, college kid and frat boy are now synonymous with each other. It’s not meant to degrade either – it’s just like using “Kleenex” for “tissue”. Just focus on the important part of the story, and stop trying to incite a fight in the comments section. Geez.

  39. So sorry your daughter met up with such an odious individual. But how wonderful to see the grace in this community shine in response to such an ugly act.

    Muses, you rock!

  40. You all make me so happy! The little girl in the post is my niece – not by blood, but by love. She is such a loving young lady and it hurt me so much to hear that this happened to her. When I visited her last year all she could talk about was the Muses and how much she loved them.

    Even though I am in MN, I plan on being there next year for her. Because every little kid should be able to be themselves and enjoy life! And I won’t be as nice as her mom was, I would probably have been tossed in jail! :)

  41. Reblogged this on i am amy jett and commented:
    This makes me so angry. We all need to band together to stop unacceptable public behavior and bullying. So many of us just let the rude people get away with it because we don’t want to cause trouble or stir up a scene… but it’s gotten to the point where rude is winning. And ruining the good time of a young innocent girl along the way.
    Only WE can make this stop. Only WE can hold people responsible for their public actions. Only WE can change the world.

  42. This was a particularly bad year – with too many people acting as you described. I too would LOVE to mail your daughter some goodies. jeneokeefe @ hotmail dot com.

  43. My first Mardi Gras parade was last year. It was Muses. It was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, until now…
    I can’t believe in this day and age that someone would treat a child that way. What a horrible person they must be, and though I’ve made it a personal thing not to wish ill on anybody, I’ll give them the worst curse I use. I hope he steps on a Lego.
    Thank you for sharing her story, and thank you, wonderful Muse women for coming to her rescue.
    Now I have to go get a Kleenex.

    • Excellent “worst curse” there. Mine is “I hope he has a ‘growth experience” REAL SOON.”

      I confess my anger at the lout has been pretty much swamped by my admiration for all the krewe folk & other people who are offering to do their best for her. Hard to stay mad watching so much kindness and goodness in action.

  44. As I read, my heart felt the sadness and disappointment your little girl felt in that moment and for it to be caused by someone so simple minded and heartless! He deserves to be treated with the same disrespect he has bestowed on others- may karma come back to bite him ten fold.

    • Having a nephew with severe autism I can understand ur pain.I am.glad ur daughter realizes she is at a parade an can look forward to it.He is not capable of comprehending a parade but is special in his own way.Ur daughter is special an should be treated as a little girl with all due respect.I find that as Mardi Gras go it seem to attract alot of college trash.I only hope that he has his dreams destroyed just like he did to her.Just remember what goes around comes around .I am so sorry that happened to her

      mardi gras go they seem to attract a lot of college trash.I only hope that what goes around comes around an he to will have a special

  45. Amy, I know by now you have tons of invitations for places to watch Muses next year, but just in case, I wanted to offer one more. My family and friends and I always watch Muses on Magazine Street, between Soniat and Robert Street, at Kollins Service Station. It is not crowded, it’s all families and children, and it’s a covered spot with bathroom access. The owner is a good friend of my husband, and we would make you feel more than welcome. There are no drunk frat boys around, and there is plenty of room for everyone to spread out and sit in their chairs. I even brought my playpen out there for Muses for my 15 mo. old. My email is Mnairhart (at) gmail (dot) com. I sure hope your daughter is feeling better, and my thoughts and prayers are with both of you.

  46. I ride in Muses and I am an active member of our Community Outreach Team. I would love nothing more than to get a group of us together and shower your daughter with fab throws,shoes, etc! I am also a social worker & therapist who worked at NOAH with autistic children (before the shut it down), so I know how important rituals are in your daughter’s life. I LOVE donning my wigs, costumes, and glitter, and would be more than happy to bring a group to parade for her! Email me!

    • I would love to help you with this! This was heartbreaking to read and would love to help this little love Mardi Gras again!

  47. Amy is a friend of mine and I am so blown away at the wonderful things being offered to her daughter. People like you all are why I can maintain some sense of faith in humanity. Bless you.

  48. A friend passed on the letter about the girl at Mardi Gras. I live in St. Croix where we have Mardi Croix( where I got some beads) , and know people in the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus who, have beads, etc. that we’d like to share with her. We even have a sticker and shirt with a dancing Chewbacca on it for her.( let me know light blue, or pinkish, and small or medium)
    If you could please let me know where to send her the Mardi Gras items she missed out on.

  49. Amy, I’m a Muff-A-Lotta and a bunch of us have just read your essay and really want to help. If you think your daughter would enjoy having us dance for her, please let me know at jezebelnolagirl@gmail.com. And if the MUSES set up a mini-parade, we’d love to participate!

  50. the outpouring of love and compassion will outshadow the unthinking young adults who, i hope, may become compassionate individuals like yourselves….ya’ll rawk! i want to see photos from her own special parade, and it sounds as if she may be able to redecorate her room with throws and shoes!
    (I’m afraid i may have been arrested – i’m not so good at picking my fights)

  51. That is so sad for that freakin’ idiot to ruin a night that she so long prepared for. Kudos to her mom for maintaining her will for her daughter, God only knows what I would have done had I been there and heard & saw that going on. Why can people not be more respectful in this world. Like my Dad always says, “this world is going to hell in a handbasket”. I truley believe this is people do not change their ways. What little time we have here on earth with ourr family & friends is precious, why waste it being mean & disrespectful! Love & hugs to your little girl, for she is TRULY a beautiful person & a precious gift from God :D

  52. My heart goes out to your daughter. That had to be absolutely devastating to her, with counting down and everything. Mardi Gras was always a huge deal growing up. It’s supposed to be a fun time with family. I’ve always enjoyed the parades with cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents etc… I cried when I heard your story and am so deeply sorry for what she had to experience just because of one load mouth, drunk ***hole. If theres anything I can do just email. Godbless.

    Eric Schmidt

  53. Everyone: Amy is (happily) struggling to keep up with the emails. Be assured she is reading each and every comment here but it may be a while before she can respond. As of now, she has been contacted by 2 local TV stations. I will try to publish the details here when they are confirmed or you can follow us on Twitter for updates. Thank you for your wonderful support!

    • Perhaps through her pain this little girl will have a big positive impact on the character of Mardi Gras– if her story is aired on television, in addition to spreading virally throughout the internet, it may very well inspire folks to pay a bit more attention to the social scene around them and be protective of others, especially kids. I have had plenty of ugly, lascivious, malicious attention from such “frat boy” types as a grown woman, and that was bad enough– it is totally unacceptable that anyone can be this mean to a child. As community members on the street during Mardi Gras, we need to look out for our fellow community members and not be afraid to speak up to nasty bullies like this. They will back down if they feel they are outnumbered, and not justified in carrying out their every nasty impulse during Carnival– Mardi Gras is about celebration, mockery, irreverence– and yes, maybe being a little naughtier than normal– that does not mean it is about being mean and hurtful to others, especially innocent children. We locals need to stand up and clarify, firmly, the true nature of Carnival to anyone who does not understand it, and stop this bad behavior that stains our wonderful culture.

  54. Tears are pouring down my cheeks as I type this. As the mother of a special needs child myself, I applaud you for not smacking the crap out of those kids. Your composure is outstanding. Please email me – you and your daughter are invited to watch Muses every year with my friends at their home on Magazine. We will all welcome you with open arms and ensure you never have to encounter such ignorance again. And please give your daughter an extra hug from me tonight.

    Tonya Armbruster
    Tdarmbruster@gmail.com

  55. Some people think they can act and insult people in the name of Mardi Gras to them it is an excuse to act every child made in this world is special in their own way. The mother show such strength because i would have told them to move or i would tear their arm off [I have used that line when someone pushes my kids out of the way or take out of their hands and now I will protect my grand kids the same way. as was said what goes around comes around how would he like someone to call his child that. It is so sweet everyone wants to put on a mini parade God bless the mom little girl and all trying to wright a wrong from a shit head

  56. I have a 15 month old son and there surely would have been some sad singing and flower bringing if a “grown up” had done anything like that to him. I can’t even imagine it. I don’t know if you all ended up going to the D’Tat parade or not but I have throws from the parade that I would love to ship to your daughter. You can email me at jcannon@olhcc.edu Bless you and your intelligent daughter!

  57. This brought me to tears, and I hope nothing more than your daughter to know how wonderful she is. I hope that this has not ruined her future Mardi Gras’ …. Karma will find him….. I know it’s not much, but we have shoes and all sorts of throws from muses, that I would love to send to her….. Email me!

  58. I cannot wait to see what kind of loot she gets! Way for Nola folks to unite and come together. My son has Autism and doesn’t understand Mardi Gras yet. Hopefully someday soon, he’ll find the magic that she knew. And she’ll regain it once all these lovely people give her the soul of New Orleans. Beautiful, just beautiful. Sending much love.

  59. I’m not from LA and have never been to Mardi Gras, but I just read this article and the comments that have followed. They bring tears to my eyes. The article was so well-written and full of a mother’s love, and the comments reflect great generosity and understanding. I’m glad to see this brightness of humanity.

  60. My heart goes out to you and your daughter…I am a member of Muses and still have one shoe and other throws left…..I will make sure that your daughter receives a shoe this weekend and each year that follows. Please email me.

  61. I was sitting with my 3 year old daughter while she was watching Shrek and I was reading your story on my phone. She asked what was on my phone and I explained that there was a girl that had to leave her favorite parade because someone was mean to her and called her a name.
    That’s when my daughter said “i’ll be her friend”. You gotta love kids and their innocence. I am so sorry that someone took your daughters favorite parade from her. It looks like there are a lot of people who can’t wait to make it up to her. I hope she has a wonderful time.

  62. I wonder if we could meet up to help her enjoy the parade next year & make her feel part of the group again. I’d love to be able to do that. I know a good spot for it, too!

  63. Hi, My name is Sheila, I work for a non-profit and spend almost every waking moment trying to make matters better for God’s people. I have often been told that I have to stop fighting other folk battles and give it to God! I am so sorry for the comments made by this small-minded, ignorant and awe so silly young man. So sorry I wasn’t standing near because I know I would have come to her defense, and told this creep he owed her an apology. I probably would have been more upset than I should have because I hear the same type remarks about some of the clients I serve daily on my job. So sorry for the earth-shattering, hateful and so uncalled for words that hurt your daughter. I will pray that she can get this out of her head and look forward to next year where God will plant her near more loving and caring people, we do exist!

  64. Amy, tell your daughter that there ARE some people that the rest of us don’t want at parades. The mean boy who doesn’t know how to act in public is one of them. Beautiful little girls who hold the excitement and adventure of Mardi Gras in their hearts all year long are the people that Mardi Gras was invented for. Without people like her on the parade route, there would be nothing BUT guys like that. We need her as much as we need to call out the people who don’t belong there.

    Sadly, this jerk wasn’t the only jerk. The d-bags were out in full force at Muses. I was with some friends, my kids, their kids, etc. I encountered a drunk guy who kept running along side the floats, hanging on, trying to get toys, of all things, while shoving in front of the kids for whom they were intended and generally making a menace of himself. Mid to late 40s and loaded when he arrived so I made a mental note to watch out for him hoping he’d burn himself out and leave before Muses began. 3 hours later when he plowed through a cluster of kids (all under the age of 10) and knocked my 4 year old off his feet and onto the street (nearly under the float) then proceeded to almost step ON him, I turned on him like a wolverine. He started laughing, calling me honey, saying he didn’t knock anyone down and that I needed to lighten up because this is what parades are about. I showed him my bawling preschooler and told him that if he didn’t get out and stay out of my sight, I would call the next cop I saw. If he’d called my kid a name, any name, they’d have had to call the cops on ME. Amy, you showed a great deal of restraint. It’s a shame you had to.

    Sadder still, the boy who said those awful things is someone elses child; parents who could have done better by him by teaching him, first, that no one is truly “normal” (everyone I know is a little weird ALL the time and that’s why I trust them and call them friends) and second, that when we go out in public and interact with others, we enter into a social contract to do the right thing as often as possible, even (and especially) when the people we interact with are strangers. If that boy’s parents knew what he said, I’d like to think they’d be ashamed. And next time, Amy, you and your daughter can join my pals and me for parades. We’d have hung this kid up by his underpants from a street sign and left him there til Good Friday.

  65. It is amazing and incredible how horrifically insensitive some people can be. I am thrilled to see all the outpouring of love that you and your daughter have received. This is what New Orleans is all about.

    Since I don’t have throws, let me offer up something else instead to you and your daughter (and to any other parent with special needs children): call up City Hall and get in touch with the Constituent Services office before/during Mardi Gras. They help coordinate the passes for the viewing stands at Gallier Hall and can probably provide you and your daughter with some of the best viewing spots for Muses and other Mardi Gras parades.

  66. I have an autistic son and we don’t attend parades bc the crowds are too much for him but he is also young and I am hoping that we can attend some when he is a little older. It broke my heart to read about what happened to your little girl. It is so hard to be a mom of a special needs child and not want to retaliate when someone hurts your baby, but knowing that if you stay calm it helps them to remain calm makes it easier to let go of ugly feelings toward those that hurt our special children. My son is also high functioning and we try to help him feel as normal as possible but he knows that he is different but he also knows that everyone is a little quirky and that makes us all special:) I hope that everyone’s kindness helps your daughter to want to attend her favorite parades again:)

  67. I’m reblogging this, and asking that all my readers and friends pass your blog post around, in hopes that someone along the way will know this guy, make him read it, and then tell him just how huge a jerk he was – and is. Drunk is no excuse for this kind of behavior.

    You are a better person than I, because I would have knocked him out for calling my kid a name like that.

    I hope she regains her joy in mardi gras, and please let her know that we see her as the wonderful girl she is.

    I make some crocheted toys, and I would like to send her a heart buddy if I may. Please do contact me if you are willing.

  68. This breaks my heart! Please email me. I have an entire bag of Muses goodies (shoe included) with your sweet little girls name on it! We can’t let her give up on Mardi Gras!

  69. Wow, what a jerk! I echo the sentiments of everyone else here. I’m a rider of Nyx and was so proud on our inaugural ride this year– it was joyful for everyone and I would have been really sad to learn that someone didn’t have a great experience. I would love to send your daughter one of our signature throw, the decorated purse, as I have a few left over. It also has a few extra goodies inside! E-mail me at RebeccaFox@gmail.com!

  70. I really hope that the wonder of Mardi Gras returns to this beautiful family. It would be even sadder if this jerkwad extinguished her carnival spirit. I also hope that all this outpouring of positives can restore the little muse to be’s excitement to be on the route. I am a father of two and am sitting here broken hearted and angry while thinking about an “ADULT” puposefully making a child cry. I know Thoth wasn’t listed in your article, but I ride and would love to somehow make next year special for you both. Please stay in touch and we will help make this right.

  71. Please email me at melgochalck@msn.com. I would love to send her a package of mardi gras beads! What happened was awful. I know from experience, self esteem is a huge issue with Autism and Aspergers. We all know what those college kids did was wrong on so many levels. Please tell her that she has more value and goodness within herself than those people will ever have!

  72. As a Muse and a past special educator this story makes my heart break. I’m proud to see so many Muses respond here. I’d love to donate a shoe, bag of goodies, and my time if a mini-parade is orgainzed. rhoton2@cox.net

  73. We missed Muses but, my husband rides in Thoth and I would love to get your daughter a goodie bag of his throws. You can email me at dmdaigl at yahoo dot com. Kudos to you for showing the restraint that you did. I truly don’t know how you did it though. If anyone ever spoke to my daughter like that they wouldn’t have spoken another word, ever. God bless you and your precious daughter.

  74. I have a friend in Muses who made me a shoe this year. Just send an address and it is hers. I am so sorry for her pain.

  75. This is absolutely heartbreaking, but what an outpouring of love from the neighboring community. I know that I would personally help to put together a parade just for your daughter and some of her friends. Even if she doesn’t want to leave the house, we could parade right out in front of your house. I think if we all put our heads together we could get a second line together complete with throws and everything! My email is ellen.e.forrester@gmail.com. I am sure that we can get hundreds of people to take to the streets just for her…

  76. I am so so sorry that happened to your child or anyones child. Mardi Gras is supposed to be enjoyed by everyone! Shame on these ill-mannered people who clearly did not have the type of parent your lovely daughter has. Words alone cannot express the anger I feel for these…people. please do nit let this experience keep you from enjoying next year’s Carnival.

  77. My name is mary and i heard about this story. It truly breaks my heart. ) I cried when I read this. this is not how mardi gras should be and shame to anyone who talks that way to a woman and her child. and using the R word. real mature dude. I feel so bad, no person should have to go through that. and i commend you for shareing this story, maybe it will be a lesson to some who are attending mardi gras next year that you cannot treat people cruely. I have some beads from mardi gras and throws too that i would be happy to send to y’all.

  78. Id be happy to offer a venue for any parade that could be put together. I’m absolutely crying right now, because I’m certain I’ve been one of those drunken ignoramuses. Maybe not at Mardi Gras, but somewhere and I feel positively gutted. Please email me and I’ll get some dates where we could host a parade.

    ~Maureen

    • My email is sexiskigrl at gmail dot com. I ride in the Irish Channel parade and will make up a special swag bag for her if you contact me.

  79. Please tell your daughter it’s people like HER that Mardi Gras is for – and the badly behaved people do not deserve to enjoy the parades. I am sorry she encountered these a$$hats – but as you can see, there are so many others that have the spirit of the season and want to make things good for her. This put a tear in my eye – you are special and the people responding to this posting are too.

  80. Oh, this hurts my heart. I HATE, HATE, HATE that word. It is thrown around so carelessly. My 13 year old son has severe autism. He is non verbal. I see the looks and hear the whispers we draw when he makes his sounds or flaps his hands. My son, too, is a very sweet, loving child, and very well behaved. But he has his bad moments. It kills me because everything is such a fight for our kids, common decency shouldn’t be one of them. Even when you try the best you know how…..they still get hurt. I am so sorry you had to deal with such ignorance.

  81. It’s all been said but…from my first ride this year: the throws that made it home with me, a shoe that didn’t find it’s perfect person that was maybe meant for your daughter, this year’s beautiful blue satin toga that needs a good home with someone who loves Muses. Also the heartfelt outrage and sadness from someone who lost a vibrant, developmentally delayed cousin this year. Take some of it, take all of it, and it’s hers. Just say the word.

  82. Precious child, you are amazing! Look in the mirror right now and see how wonderful you are. Please don’t let the behavior of one person change your love for Mardi Gras! Hopefully, that guy sobered up and remembered what he said and is trying to figure out how he can stop the hurt and regret he feels for making such a comment! God made you who you are and God only makes WONDERFUL creations!

  83. Miz Amy – let me first congratulate ye on a superhuman amount o’ restraint, while I’m sure quite the opposite would have been warranted.
    Just today I learned the son o’ one of our good mates was diagnosed with Aspergers and an ol’ mate o’ mine (Torley Wong – who is a musical genius, as it happens) has had Aspergers for years but wasn’t diagnosed until late in his teens, offers some words of wisdom http://bit.ly/AipmA0

    How does yer daughter feel about Pyrates? We’re a friendly lot, really and do our best to help where we can…more to the point, NOLA Pyrate Week is coming up and we have our annual French Quarter Parade on Friday night (Mar. 23) at 7pm – we would be pleased to have ye both join us IN the parade as our special guests!
    Contact us via the website and we’ll make it happen!

    http://nolapyrateweek.com/contacts-maps

    As our mates the Maori o’ New Zealand say, “Kia ora, kia kaha!” (“Be well, stand strong”)

  84. Your story broke my heart & I really hope your daughter’s love for Mardi Gras can be restored by the outpouring of love & support from TRUE New Orleanians!

  85. My heart goes out to her! Ppl are so cruel I hope he one day realizes what he said. I pray that she gets past this horrible experience and she’ll be able to enjoy Mardi Gras again.

  86. This broke my heart. We also had a run in with obnoxious college kids building human pyramids in the street, alcohol and cigarettes in hand, refusing to I build the pyramids as floats passed by, nearly knocking me and my 14 month old over. The same a-holes proceeded to climb into his ladder and then try to pick a fight with me for asking them to get off of it so I could put him in his ladder.

    There’s no excuse for this behavior. My heart aches for you and your daughter. Were we A-holes like that in college? I hope not.

  87. I don’t know how you restrained yourself, because if someone had talked to one of my little girls like that, it would have been very ugly. I ride in Thoth, and we literally parade on the route that we do so that people who don’t usually get to see parades have a chance to enjoy one. I hope your daughter gets back in the saddle again next year, because people like your daughter – people that love parades and that genuinely appreciate the chance to be at one – are the reason I ride year after year.

  88. Such ignorance and cruelty, it is impossible to fathom. But what beautiful and generous hearts responding, here. I hope for you and your daughter, that the ugly moment fades quickly and that this outpouring of demonstrable love and compassion helps speed that along. What wonderful people here, and how fabulous are the Muses! Warms the heart.

  89. I’m sure I could add some lovely bones to the reparade. As head Soul Sweeper for Skinz N Bonez im sure I know a few lovely drumming Skellies who could be of assistance. Also I will offer her a spot by us next year. We kinda scary but protective lot.

  90. I rode in the Krewe of Nyx this year and our specialty throw is hand-decorated purses…perfect compliment to the shoe she’ll soon have. As I prepare for next year’s parade, my first purse will have your daughter’s name on it – literally, that will be part of my decoration of her perfectly unique and beautiful purse, just like her.

    My heart aches that she has been treated with such cruelty. As a mother, I am crying with her and you.

  91. My heart just broke a little. I would love to send your daughter the shoe I caught. My aunt is deaf and has learning disabilities. If anyone took the joy out her her favorite activity, I do not know what I would do. I am so impressed that you were able to stay calm and get her out of that horrible situation. Please let me know your address as I’d love to send her a package with the shoe. My email is courtney.yost@gmail.com.
    All my best to your family.

  92. Amy, I am so sorry that you and your daughter had to experience this.I am writing through my tears,,,,I love how the ladies of Muses and so many others have rallied behind you and FOR you! I hope that this painful memory will be blurred by the kindness of so many others…and I too, applaud your restraint. God Bless you!

  93. I think that part of the problem is that we tolerate these things and, as a cultural unit of people that is willing to “live and let live,” we have expanded the “virtue of tolerance” to include things that it never should have included. If every single person around that mother and her child had stopped what they were doing, confronted those jerks and insisted that they behave well or go away, they wouldn’t have been able to continue their stupidity. But nobody seems to have the moral fortitude anymore to actually confront people like that, even when doing nothing is as great an evil as the wrong that was committed.

    For all the people I saw on the blog post that said things like, “that guy should have gotten a beatdown” and other similar things, the important point is that nobody actually *did* anything about it. I applaud the people of the Krewe of Muses and all the other generous and kind people here for their willingness to reach out to this one little girl, but what about all the other boys and girls whose Mardi Gras was beer-soaked and laced with profanity, nudity, and selfishness?

    It’s only when we all decide together that we’re not going to tolerate that sort of behavior in our presence ever again and maintain the courage of our convictions when called upon to do so that we will stop seeing this sort of degradation spread like a cancer. Until then, the jerks, drunks, and ignorant people of the world will continue to do as they please.

      • We need a BE NICE OR LEAVE consciousness campaign. I suspect that the population of New Orleans has turned over so during the past 5 years that the ambient critical mass of citizen knowledge of the lone commandment of the Free City of New Orleans has been lost. Chalk it on the sidewalks, ink it onto tee shirts, print up stickers, invest in a Dr Bob original — let’s just get the message out there.

  94. Your daughter is a magnificent person and will get pass the ignorance of youth..Just let her know you will always be there and when she is ready she will talk about that day and forget his stupidity…..Hug her and let her know that she is not retarded and people use that word when they don’t understand others….love ya’ll

  95. What happened to your daughter is awful. I have seen such wonderful comments and the idea of a parade for her is so selfless and sweet. I hope you show her these comments so she understands there are more people in the world who care than there are people who don’t. I had to learn a similar hard lessen as a child. I had to be isolated from the world for many years because of a kidney disease. I was 2 years behind other kids in school. I have horrible green stained teeth and stretch marks all over my body because of large doses of prednisone and tetracycline. I was teased and bullied terribly even in high school. I still get stared at and teased. I am 52 now. Sometimes it hurts me to be treated badly. But I can see the bigger picture. I have a wonderful husband and 2 beautiful children and friends who don’t care and love me anyway. Your daughter is lucky to have you as a mother. She will learn to accept herself but life experience is also a big part of that as well. My son is dyslexic and my life experience has helped me to help him. He is 12. I don’t know if I would be able to be as understanding for him if I hadn’t gone through my situations as a child. God has a plan for your daughter but it won’t be without lessons to be learned happy and sad. Good luck and God bless to you both.

  96. My heart hurts for this sweet girl. I wish we could do it all over again just for her. Hug her extra tight for me.

  97. Dear Ma’am…I think I speak for many of us in Noisician Coalition, with this being our first Muses parade we were graced to march in, that next year should we have the honor to march again….you and your daughter should be our guests to march with us, if you so desired! It would be our honor if you joined us!

  98. There are several of us on the Regretsy forums that would love to send your daughter cards and things to help restore her faith in Mardi Gras. I’m so sorry this ruined the experience for her, and we’d love to help. Please contact me, if you would like, through my email–whiskeyish at whiskeyish dot com.

  99. To me it is very sad to see when adults start acting like children during the parades. I felt the same way as your daughter did when a middle-age woman grabbed a stuffed animal from my little niece’s 4-year-old hands at Muses in the “family area”. It is sad to see that my favorite laissez-faire holiday season has turned into one full of selfishness and immaturity. God bless your daughter and may she learn to love Mardi Gras again.

  100. This is the loveliest outpouring of love and support I have seen in a long time. Cheers to all of you, and for the author and her daughter, you are very loved. It doesn’t make any of it right, but hopefully by raising awareness on this will help make Mardi Gras (and Jazz Fest/FQ Fest/St. Pattys for that matter!) better for others in the future.

  101. I am in tears over this. I am a teacher, a mother, and a business owner. I have taught children with exceptionalities from highly functioning autism to severe profound and every one of them has taught me how to look at the world in a positive way. I own a business where I design Fleur de lis shirts and would love to send this amazing person one of my Mardi GRAS shirts. I don’t want her to give up such a festive occasion bc of one bone head. Please contact me through my website and we can set something up. Thank you and stay strong! And to the mom, you are such a stronger person than me bc I would have let that idiot have a piece of my mind! Good luck to you both!!!

  102. I am not in NOLA but I work for a weekly online radio show called Twisted South Radio that is part of Twisted South Magazine…next week we are having the Lagniappe Brass Band on our show…if this wonderful girl would like, I would make her my special co-host of the night. She wouldn’t even have to talk if she didn’t want to but she would be the Offical guest co-host. Please send me a message if this would help.
    I’d be honored to have her on. Or Mom…I’d love to have you on too if you wanted to talk abou your experience or anything you all want. My show is yours next week. Here’s my email mars@twistedsouth.com, it’s a call-in show.

  103. So sorry for how you were treated but you need to think of it that they are jealous of you. I myself used to get teased alot as a kid. If you were standing by me i would have given you a bead or a stuffed animal. I get teased at now that I’m an adult cause I’m kinda short but I look at it as I can get through a crowd.

  104. This is a pathetic story that illustrates the only thing that I hate about magical Mardi Gras – drunk morons who ruin all the fun – but I hope (and truly believe!) that this amazing little lady can forget the ignorance of these particular idiots when she’s buried under the pile of Muses shoes and goodies that are going to delivered right to her door!! Go, NOLA, go – we’ll fix it!

  105. I’m sorry she had to go through that. If she’s up for a parade there always st pattys day parade and Irish Italian which is a lot of fun and i think she can enjoy herself without being harassed.

  106. This story has made me incredibly sad and incredibly angry. People can be so heartless and cruel. I simply cannot understand it. You are such a good mother and your daughter is so lucky. I am so sorry that you and your daughter had to experience this. Much love to you both. We caught 3 shoes and I would love to send them your way!

  107. I am a senior at Tulane and am completely aware of how horrible my fellow students and their guests behave at parades. This may get lost in all the generous outpour but I have a lot of parade throws, including many Muses throws, that I would love to give to your daughter. This story appalled me and brought tears to my eyes.

  108. This blog broke my heart but the comments have healed it. I am so proud of the outpouring of goodwill here. I have spent a lot of time working with special needs children and I know that watching parades, games, concerts, and plays through their eyes is an awesome treat! Please tell your little girl that she is so loved. And I hope that you will take a picture of her with her phone piled high with all of the loot that is being offered!! I did not get to come to NOLA this year but I am so proud to see those that were there being so very generous! God bless you both!! And God bless the wonderful people that make NOLA so special.

  109. I was sharing your daughters story with my 8 year old and she said that your daughter can have all the stuff she got at Muses, even the light up stuff that she treasures like gold! I wish I had been near you, because I would have given him a piece of my mind. I pray that a drunk idiot does not ruin her love of parades.

  110. I was not verbally attacked as this little girl was, but my family dropped me off early at a parade and gave me a folding chair to sit on. i am elderly and have a bad hip that I make my way to the curb of parades in pain. i love mardi Gras and have gone every year. This year after I waited on the curb for two hours prior to the start of the parade in my spot I was shoved aside and almost knocked down by a bunch of drinking teeneagers. We asked them to give me elbow room at least and they continued pushing on me causing me to lose my balance and fall. They laughed. There was a huge empty spot on the other side of the street they could have moved to.

  111. After reading this I was very angry. But then I realized in the end his drunken and inexcusable actions and words give a whole bunch of people a chance to show your beautiful daughter how special she is. Everyone has imperfections/ differences and that’s what makes us unique. Pls give her a big hug!!!!

  112. I just read this and it tore my heart out….I have a daughter and your girl sounds a lot like her……I would love to send something to that sweet girl……Please contact me.

  113. I am from New England, have visited New Orleans for Mardi Gras and have never graced the Muses parade… (it is now on my list).. People ask my why I love NOLA so much and this page is simply the best example of why..
    The overwhelming amount of love that you are all showing this small girl is a testament to the people of New Orleans and the reason you fall in love with it..

    Kudos people from Muses for stepping up to make sure you remain a lifetime memory for this little girl.. I hope to see a personal parade just for her very soon..

    I’m tearsoaked at reading what has happened but know that your daughter will soon realize this bad example of a human being was only 1 in a sea of 1000’s of wonderful people celebrating an incredible history…

    Looking forward to Muses next year and seeing a beautiful young lady participate who I have a hunch will be prettier and more wonderful than all the floats

  114. I am so very sorry for what your daughter has had to endure. I am a Hairstylist at Salon Riviera in mandeville. I would love to make your daughter feel as beautiful as she already is. Maybe a beautiful updo with glitter hairspray and feather extensions. Makeup, mani n pedi. She would also be able to invite anyone her little heart desires. I know its not beads or muses shoes, but its all about making your little girl feel special and beautiful. Please email me @ Shearsjlf@yahoo.com

  115. My heart was so very heavy after reading your story. Every Mother feels the pain trifold when their children are hurting.
    I too have a special needs child who has endured verbal ridicule all his life even into young adulthood. My heart aches every time he comes home and tells me what ignorant, immoral, empathetic and pathetics teens and adults have said and continue to say to him.
    This world needs an eye opener to the true definition of compassion and love. Where have morals and values gone? Do parents not teach these important virtues anymore?
    If there is any consolation in this story, it is your daughter recognized the evil in this world and she knows the difference between that and genuine love of a Mother.
    Those that chose to mick your daughter will be judged by their Maker.
    Kisses and hugs to both of you

  116. What are the chances of this special girl getting to ride on a Muses float next year to help restore her faith in Mardi Gras and Muses. If needed I know I will gladly make a donatation to get her some throws and shoes to decorate if she gets a chance to ride!!

  117. I just want to commend the members of Muses for reaching out to this girl. You are obviously wonderful people! I saw your parade for the first time in the 15 years that I have lived in the New Orleans area and truly loved it. It was absolutely beautiful and i enjoyed it very much. I plan to make this the one parade that I cannot miss! THANK YOU to each and every one of you! BE BLESSED!!!

  118. Like the others on here, I’d love to send her something to make Mardi Gras special again. I have a high functioning niece I’m raising and you showed a lot more restraint than I would have been able to, I’m pretty sure that jerk would have had my cane inserted in a certain orifice. Please, if the kiddo and I can send something either through email or snail mail lemme know. My email is vxb222@gmail.com

  119. No you are not a retard. you are a very special young lady with people aound you who love you, such as your mom and dad. If only people could see things as you do, from the eyes of innosence what a better world this would be.

  120. You showed way more restraint than I would have in that situation. I wonder if your little Pookie Pie is old enough or would want to ride on a float next year. I am thrilled that so many Muses have chimed in on this post. Love it! One of my favorite Buddhist concepts is that we are born with everything we will need on our journey through life. She is everything that she needs to be.

  121. Please let her know that there are an extremely small percentage of people like that in this world. Actually I would not classify them as people.

  122. My heart breaks hearing that your daughter had to experience that. I don’t take my child to parades because of stuff like that. I hope that she knows that there is NOTHING retarded about Autism but there is something retarded about treating a child like that. I am sure that she has or will have more wisdom, intelligence and love than those “drunk idiots”. You are so blessed to have such a wonderful child. Hopefully her heart will mend and she will learn that she has things so much more together than those guys!!

  123. I am so sorry to hear about your daughter’s experience. I grew up in New Orleans and I like her I would get so excited, countdown the days and want to go to every parade I could possibly get to. Mardi Gras. should be a fun escape it’s not a place for cruelty. Please email me at twingal18@hotmail.com I would love to send some beads to you beautiful daughter. They’re not from Muses ,but I’d like to remind her about the good part of Mardi Gras.

    PS. A shout out to the Muse krew for being so supportive.

  124. I am horrified and extremely moved all at once. I unfortunately do not have any throws to give, but my husband and I would like to do something. My husband is a chef and co-owner of a local po-boy shop, so we would love to donate a little something for the mini parade or if that does not occurr then y’all could stop by for lunch one day and find out how true New Orleanians are. Please e-mail me at daviscamie@hotmail.com. Your daughter is truly beautiful and you handled a awful situation with such class. Hope to hear from you soon.

  125. I’m hoping that this will be the turning point where people will remember to be kinder to others around them on the parade routes in the future — we’re all in this together, y’know? Part of the joy of Mardi Gras parade-watching is that it is a collective experience, one that is enhanced by shared appreciation.

    I’m also hoping that, in the future, people witnessing similar incidents will step up to reasonably & responsibly speak up for or offer assistance to those who are being treated poorly. This type of ugliness slinks away (often with its tail between its legs) when it is made clear in a calm manner that it WILL NOT be tolerated or be allowed to continue unaddressed.

  126. That is truly a shame. I’m a Bearded Oyster and I was at the parade. There definitely were a lot of inebriated people this year, particularly college students. I agree, they shouldn’t be allowed around the more family oriented zones. The neutral ground is everyone’s but it should be respected that some areas are family specific. Tell your daughter she is a much better human being than those kids and God made her very special.

    • The Guy was an ass and what he said was in poor taste , no doubt. There are no such thing as zones, its a public street everyone has a right to be there even drunken jerks.

  127. I am so disheartened at the cruelty of people and those who walk around shrouded in ignorance, but I am enlightened by the kind responses of those who have read and commented on this post. Those who ride in parades & those who don’t, offering to give someone back an experience that otherwise would have been tarnished for a lifetime. All of you on here have restored “FAITH” in humanity to so many. You have touched me in such a way to know that living in NOLA is a blessing and the people her are GOOD. To you, the author, thank you for sharing, you have brought knowledge to so many about the reality of bullying today. It needs to stop and may we be the start to the end of this chronic epidemic. May your daughter be surrounded by all the love expressed in this posts responses and know that, unknowingly, through this negative experience she is helping make a difference in many young lives. You are blessed by an angel!

  128. Broke my heart to read this! I am so sorry your daughter and your family had to go through that! It just speaks volumes about how ignorant and wrong people CHOOSE to be…because it is a choice! I hope with all the helpful, willing hands (from the comments i have been reading) your daughter will be able to love Mardi Gras again!! :) You were such a great role model for your daughter and I must say that it took strength to keep your cool in that moment! You are a great mom!

  129. This is one of the most horrifying stories I’ve had to read ever. Being a native of New Orleans and remembering Mardi Gras as it used to be, it irritates me to see how it is now! I had friends come to get the experience and couldn’t even enjoy it as it should have been because there were people, male AND female, clearly intoxicated, not watching what they were doing, and not thinking about all the children they were getting in the way of. I am truly sorry that you and your daughter had to go thru this and I hope you both can see that idiots like that as a whole give the city a bad name and thats not what New Orleans OR Mardi Gras, being thats the famous excuse, is about.

  130. I live in Texas, and I have never been to a Mardi Gras parade before. So some of the lingo went right over my head. But since I was little, my mom would tell me stories about New Orleans and the Mardi Gras parade. I’ve always dreamed about attending one. And that’s how I imagine it to be – like a dream. This upset me to the highest level. Your daughter’s dream was shattered all because of some drunk idiot who is so closed-minded, I bet he’s never seen beautiful in his life. I sincerely hope karma gets him back as hard as it can. I hope you can restore your daughter’s dream and make her forget all about the ugly man who ruined her night. You and your daughter are beautiful people, and I hope next year’s parade is even better for her. All the love you’re getting in these comments has made my heart soar. All of you New Orleanians have restored some of my faith in humanity. I hope to one day attend a parade, and maybe even meet you and your daughter! Much love. <3

  131. AWWWWWW. Muses is one of my favorite parades!!!! I can’t believe he would ruin someone else’s fun like that. I couldn’t make it this year, but wish I would have been there to give her some of my throws. Please update us if she gets a mini-parade all to herself, or a bevy of shoes. Thanks for sharing, and I hope your little girl sees all these comments from people that are horrified some dude would do that.

  132. What really gets to me is the thought that personally it wouldn’t have mattered whether or not she was autistic,is that this jerk would have treated any person the same. I’m 28 with 3 children ranging from the ages of 10-3. I am a smoker , I am however not a drinker. I may choose my disgusting habit but no one else does. So I try to be as considerate of other people as possible. I think its sad where Mardi Gras has become the drunk holiday that it is. It’s about family,fun, and the spirit of New Orleans. If this( and I am restraining myself A LOT) dirt bag wants the other parts of Mardi Gras there’s always Bourbon. I truly am sorry for what an exceptional child like yours and you had to experience. I have a horrible temper and more tha n likely would not have been able to be as gracious as you. You should be commended for I would have popped him the way his mother should have. It’s all about how you raise your children, and you are one hell of a woman. Your daughter may be autistic but she is not any different from any one else. If anything it makes her more of a fighter. If I could do anything, I would be more than happy to.

  133. I’m so sorry to hear about your little girls experience at Muses. I’ve been to Mardi Gras every year since I was born and I remember how special it was as a child. Maybe we could all send a little bit of Mardi Gras to your daughter? I have beads and plenty of stuffed animals I caught. As for next year, I live a block off of the uptown route and would be honored to meet you both at Muses; and I promise you will have a great time, drunk college guys or not. I’m sure many of us feel the same way.

  134. I wanted to add that Touro Synagogue provides viewing space for differently abled adults and children, and their families during several parades, including Muses. As the Season approaches next year, I encourage you to contact them and find out how to sign up.

  135. It sure looks like the power of Mardi Gras, the Muses and New Orleans herself are working strongly to heal this horrible memory and replace it with something truly magical.

  136. Nathalie Bastin Zuest posted this comment to you on my page (the email address attached to the coment is mine, but the coment and contact info is Nathalie’s): Honey, I want to tell you, people say things all the time about other people. They say these things because they them selves are less then they could ever hope to be. I am one that people like to make fun of, and pick on. But let me tell yo…u this young lady. Though you missed a small bit of the parade this year, you did however gained the best education on the wost that people can be. I wish to offer you a one of a kind hand made throw. If you can get dad to call me I will have it made for him to give to you. But there is a price to this. In the acceptance of this you must understand that every one is different. I, as a different person would love for you to have this. Have dad or mom call Al 504-247-5743. Never EVER forget you are amazing!!

  137. You are a wonderful mother. Hopefully after your daughter sees all these wonderful comments she will see that the magic of mardi gras is meant for the beautiful people in the world like her. Thanks for sharing your touching story and good luck to a bright future.

  138. It’s time to explain to her about fraternities: groups of overprivileged young thugs who go around getting as drunk as possible and insulting EVERYBODY, engaging in other horrible behavior, taking especial care to insult WOMEN, and often breaking the law. Tell her that they she was not alone, that unfortunately they insulted many, many other people that night and that people who are NOT drunk frat boys would be delighted to share Mardi Gras space with her.

    You might also want to go to one of the Mardi Gras Indian websites, ask themk to read your blog post and ask if she could get a special song from one of the tribes if you go to see them at a designated place when they march — St. Joseph’s day is coming up and the Indians are magical.

    I used to live right along the route. Sure wish I did now, as you’d be welcome to our front porch and I’d be out there smacking some frat boys in the face if they looked sideways at your child.

  139. I am so sorry that this happened to you and your precious child. I applaud your grace in which you handled the stupidity of this person. I am a member of the Krewe of Nyx and have a purse that I would be honored to send to your beatiful angel! I am truly touched by the wonderful people that are responding. I hope and pray that she can find the love and passion that she once had for Mardi Gras!!! Please email me as to where I can send the purse anslum@bellsouth.net. GOD BLESS :)

  140. This is so heartbreaking! My fiancée just read the story and said he wished he were standing near you bc you wouldn’t have to have said a word! That is deplorable behavior for anyone of any age. I hope these amazing people who have commented and offered their extra goodies and time can erase her horrible memory of this years MUSES parade. Xoxo

  141. So pleased to see so many wonderful responses to this post. But then, New Orleans is a city all about LOVE. So sad that those college kids completely miss the whole point of Mardi Gras. So sorry this young ladies heart was broken. Just wondering, has she ever been to Build-A-Bear Workshop and made a bear? please reply to dirtyhandskrewe at gmail.com

  142. Dear Amy’s Daughter:

    I don’t know your name, otherwise I would have called you by it. We don’t know each other. I’ve never been to, or seen, a Mardis Gras. I don’t know what its beads look like, and I don’t know what the throws are. Like I said, I’ve never seen them.

    All I do know is that you have looked forward them every year. You’ve been excited about seeing the costumes (which is all I really know about Mardis Gras) and talking with your friends. And every year, like your Mom said, you get see everyone be weird and not feel alone.

    I don’t know if you’ll ever read this message, I just wanted to tell you something. We are all weird and anything that makes you feel weird and happy is a very good thing. Those boys that said those awful things to you are not part of that weirdness. They are not happy. That probably won’t make you feel any better to hear, but it is important to know that. Anyone who only cares about themselves is selfish and alone and can never feel a part of that weirdness: not really. And some of these selfish people can only settle on taking other people’s space or worse: trying to ruin someone else’s happiness.

    I wish I could say that this is the last time you will ever run into people like this, but I would be lying. You will run into them all the time. In fact, I suspect you already have. I know what it feels like. We are all different and weird in our own way, and people pay attention to that. You always know it: deep in your heart and then, one day, someone says something bad — they may not even mean to — and it hits that spot in you: the shame spot, the sad spot, the scared one. It’s like a punch in the stomach when you think you are getting a hug. And I am so sorry that you felt this. No one should have to feel this. No one.

    After reading your Mom’s post, I think of you and your daily gratitudes. I don’t know what those are, but they sound really cool. I think of your journal that you’re writing your whole life in, and the calendar you once had and it makes me sad that this happened to you. I can’t say that enough.

    But here is something else that I am going to say. It’s okay that you wanted to leave when you did. It’s okay if you don’t want to go back next year or the next or even the next. But think about this: think about the friends you meet at Mardis Gras. Think about the costumes and the dances. Think about your Mom who brought you there and held you. Think about that feeling of happy weird-belonging you always felt being there long before someone said one stupid word to you.

    You are smart and intelligent and open. I don’t even know you, but can tell that just from your Mom’s post, and she is so proud of you and sees you as someone who is precious. And look all these people responding your Mom’s post: all of them sad that this happened to you and wishing you nothing but well-wishes. Those boys are not worth it: not worth losing that happy weirdness in your heart. They don’t like their own weirdness so they insult everyone else’s. I would tell you not to let them win, that only you can let them win, but they didn’t win to begin with. They already lost when they name-called you.

    But you don’t have to lose. I hope one day you can remember that happy-weirdness. And you will remember those boys too, but I hope you remember your Mom, and your friends, and the Parade even more and the giddiness of marking down the days on your calendar, and the memories you will write in your journal and those cool daily gratitudes that even adults should remember to write down.

    I’m grateful that someone I love showed me this post and that I found out about you tonight. Because I remember what it was like and I wanted someone to say something to me about it. And I got to write to you.

    May you continue to find joy, Amy’s Daughter.

    Sincerely,
    Matthew from Canada

  143. If the muses or any other group decides to do a mini marching parade as mentioned, and y’all need a police escort to lead the marchers in, I’d like to donate my time. I know I can find a few other NOPD officers willing to help as well. Just let me know! mbpatin@nola.gov

    Matt

  144. I parade every year with my four brothers and multiple male cousins. Even before they had children, we all knew that Mardi Gras was a magical time for kids! I have seen the kids of total strangers ride on their backs and get stuffed animals and beads in exchange for smiles. However, I’ve also seen violence. Mardi Gras and public drunkenness equal bad behavior for some. My male family members have stood in front of kids and adults alike to protect them from lewd, idiotic people. I wish that they would have been there for your child.

  145. My heart and soul go out to you and your daughter……I cannot even begin to imagine how this made your daughter feel……No person should ever have to endure being called names, yet alone a child who is so precious……Mardi Gras is a family holiday that is meant for everyone to enjoy but there has to be lines and boundaries……And what that man did has crossed those lines and boundaries……My only hope is that when this story airs on the news, that he is watching and gets a slap in the face of what he did to a young and vibrant girl……I pray that with all the out pouring of love and concern and shoes and throws that she will get the light back in her eyes and realize that not everyone is like that…….I truly hope that she will start her countdown calendar for next years Muses parade and to the fun that everyone will ensure she will have, away from the drunks and stupidity…….

    Amy, I cannot even begin to understand what must have been going through your mind as a mother…..Mothers are here to protect and nurture…..I wouldn’t have been so calm and walked away…..I look up to you for all that you did and have done…..I know it’s been hard on you and your family, but know you are not in the fight alone……Everyone is spreading the word and it’s going across the nation……Your daughter’s story is being heard by all……You are an amazing mother……

    I’ve never been to a Muses parade, though II have heard they are wonderful, and by all the comments and the outpouring of love from Muses, they are……I don’t ride in parades or o out to any, but my boyfriend rode in Endymion this year and we have some special throws we would like to send……Please contact us at tornadohawg@gmail.com and let us know how we can them to your daughter…..

  146. I send my sincere apology for the ignorant person who spoiled an eventful day for your little girl. We all were created in the image that our father invisioned and he makes no mistakes you are BEAUTIFUL! The retard was the heartless kid who uttered that statement. All the way from California Happy Mardi Gras sweetheart I hope the light in your eyes shine again and again! Just know that you are loved and no different from anyyone else. Sending love your way.

    Stacie

  147. Dear Amy,

    I live in the UK now, but I did live in New Orleans during college. Unlike others, I can’t offer to send shoes or throws, because it’s not celebrated here. All I can offer are kind words.

    What you and your daughter experienced is absolutely appalling. I am so sorry that she’s had to go through that, no matter at what age. No one should ever have an experience that they’re looking forward to ruined.

    I am a Tulane alum, and I do realise that these close-minded and ignorant kids could have been students from my alma mater. I pray that they weren’t, but it does make me think back on my days in college. I know that I never acted like that boy did, but it makes me wonder. Did I ever block a child? Did I maybe swear too much near a family? I hope that I didn’t, but it does make me realise that we should always take care and be aware of those around us.

    Thank you for sharing your story, and your daughter’s. I hope that as awareness of this incident grows (and it seems to be like wildfire right now), your little girl will get her experience back, tenfold.

  148. Hello,
    I wish I knew your name,your daughters name,I wish I could shield you both from the pain of that brief encounter.
    I am so angry that the deeply flawed man who spoke to you both will never be brought to task for his words/actions.
    May you and your daughter meet the more wonderful human aspect of our world so as to clarify that we do exist!!
    I will push even more kindness and care into my day today in honor of you and your precious daughter ;) ;)
    ~Rhoda ~

  149. What an amazing little girl you have. Not only does she sound perfect in every way, but smarter than the rest of us. I only wish I had been there with a fire house to wash those nasty kids away. Im happy to ask the Nola Organ Grinders to dance for this remarkable little lady. She sounds like someone I’d like to meet! :) contessabordeaux@gmail.com

  150. I am so heartbroken by this story, but the LOVE here is overwhelming. I hope the response continues to be over the top so that there will no longer be a question in your daughter’s mind that she is special and Mardi Gras will not be the same without her. I attended for the first time in 18 years this year and had some great and not so great experiences with the parades. Our family is coming home to NOLA over the summer and I am so thrilled to see the response! Take everyone up on it!!! I have shared this post with my cousin who is a Pussyfooter in hopes that she will be able to get them involved as well. God Bless you and your family!

  151. I am reading this with tears. MThe highlight of my daughter’s Mardi Gras season is Muses every year too – she’s in 5th grade. My oldest son had tons of special needs; CP, blindness, epilepsy, – so my heart breaks that she was treated this way. My daughter caught 2 shoes and we would love to mail her one. Please email me at cavbert@cox.net

  152. I hope this ass dreams of this child every nite untill it just eats at him and all the stupit people that was with him,please tell her that we are very sorry we have so many dum people in todays wrold

  153. my heart just broke for you and your daughter. I’ve attended parades in Lafayette and New Orleans my entire life and it has always been the magical holiday I look forward to the most. My cousin’s daughter is just like yours but I would be just as outraged if this happened to any kid. I commend your restraint as many others have because I don’t think I or any of my family could have done the same. I’m always conscious of letting kids get closer for better views and end up giving half my throws to the kids around me. I am sorry for your daughter’s experience and hope you take the Muses’ offer of a mini parade just for her. She deserves to reclaim that sparkle in her eyes . Thank you Amy for sharing your story and I hope she returns to the parade routes next year , because she and every other kid out there with hands outstretched are why many of my friends and family ride those floats. hugs and prayers to you both from France.

  154. So, as I understand, Autism can cause poor social interaction and behavioural problems.

    Yet in this case, your daughter showed far superior social skills than that monster. What is his excuse to behave in such an inappropriate manner with a complete disregard for the feelings of a fellow human being, worst yet, a child?

    If the r-word should be used to describe anyone (although it never should) it is him.

  155. Shoot me your address. I want to send you something from my store for you and her to work on together. http://www.fieldofbling.com is my site. You’ll get to see some things we do here.

    “Color and Conversations live here” is my companys tag line. You are not “short” on conversation with this issue by any means. I’ll look forward to being part of the solution.

    Special needs kids do very well with my chalk products. Gives another opportunity to be one on one with your daughter. :)

    Happy Friday to you! Love on that sweet girl!

    Jody

  156. My heart goes out to you and your daughter. This is the exact reason I have not brought my autistic son to a parade since he was diagnosed. We were lucky enough to find two very sweet ladies to stand by at the one parade we decided to take him to and their two daughterswere just as sweet and understanding. The two little girls played with him and for the first time, I felt like my child was normal. Bless you and please don’t let her let go of the one thing she looks forward to.

  157. Reading this story just breaks my heart and like everyone else I want to break the head of the idiot who so carelessly heart your child. I work for Jenny, The Bloggess and was going to send her some throws I got from D’Etat but if you e-mail me at: mary_4rose@yahoo.com I would much rather send them to your daughter. I know you will forever let your daughter know how special she is but please make sure she knows how special she has become to all of us as well. Hugs and love coming your way.

  158. Sorry, I meant to say hurt your child not heart…..I guess I was thinking how he broke your child’s heart and somehow it got mixed up with my anger to HURT him. See? Even Fairy Godmothers get mixed up sometimes. Love to you both!

    • As a New Orleans Police Officer and husband to a Muse I am touched by the responses. I can not say how upset this makes me. I have worked the last 6 years along the parade route trying to give every child in my section that special experiance I perform a magic trick, play around with them, and all around create a fun safe place for kids to watch there Faviorite parades. I myself spending money on little coins and pins from the department along with patches for our uniforms and give them to children along the route. Even after working the long cold/wet days of standing up and constantly bending over to retrieve dropped toys and beads for the intended recipient.bi can still smile and joke with everyone. I never let my frustrations show. Until know there should have been an officer close enough that something could have and should have been done to eraticate this group of people from the route. And at this time I would like to extend an invitation to join me next year as a member of my extended family to watch the parade from the safety of an enclosed area designated for police family’s. As my wife rides in Muses and watches from different locations I never take advantage of this offer and would love to provide it for you. Giving you an upfront and secure spot along the route. I can be reached at lkooken@nola.gov of you are at all interested please let me know. And I have forwarded this blog to my wife and her friends. If any parades are formed by this blog I would love to attend and assist. Ad I would live to provide your daughter with some special items I have from the police department if she is interested

      • God bless you and your family, Larry! This experience was so very heart-breaking to read about (let alone experience – I can’t even imagine) and the replies and kindness the community has shown is just magical! I don’t know this mother or her precious baby girl, but as a mother and a kind soul, THANK YOU!

      • From the wife: I can make a shoe with your daughter’s name on it if she wants….and I have a few throws, too. Email me at jkooke@dcc.edu. Also: I can have a shoe for her next year to catch if she stands in Larry’s area- he will make sure you guys have a good view and a good time, free of jerks.

  159. I am a MuffALotta and I would do anything in the world to help your baby restore her spirits in having the best Mardi Gras in the world! Love to you Amy and your beautiful little girl!! Christina

    • Like Christina, I too am a MuffALotta and will do anything for her!!!!! Mardi Gras is a time to come together with your neighbors and celebrate this wonderful city.The comments on your blog only show there is so much good in the world and it far outweighs the one actions of an ignorant adolescent!!!! Your daughter is a gift and a blessing to all~we can only hope to bring a smile back on her beautiful face!!!
      Love Jeannine!!!!

  160. People can be so cruel. One day someone will make that man feel worse. She shouldnt stop what she loves to do. She should continue to go to the parades she loves and not let some dumb boy crush her dreams.

  161. Im so sad to hear that experience you and your daughter had. It’s do unfortunate that many people have lost the magic that your daughter has held onto that makes mardi gras so great. She sounds like an amazing girl. I wish I had the words to tell her to blow it off. Don’t waste time on unimportant people. Keep the magic. Find and new spot. And watch the parade. Don’t let some a**hole take that from her.

  162. Amy, Skinz ~N~ Bonez has a Special Hexx Skellie Brellie for your sweet girl. We would also be especially proud to participate in any other way that we can to bring her Mardi Gras Joy back!!! Please contact me personally pamelapaige@live.com or Skinznbonez.com!

  163. This truly breaks my heart! I rode in Muses this year for the first time. I still have beads and things that I kept to remember it by. I would be honored to mail them to you. Plus make you the most amazing shoe you have ever seen. Please email me your address and I will send your daughter everything I have. Courtneywalker581@gmail.com

  164. This sounds a lot like the college-age guy who was standing in front of us at Napoleon and Prytania for Friday night’s parades. When he wouldn’t move back for a troupe of majorettes from a black high school, he got glanced by one and he shoved her back and yelled to her “bitch.” One of the handlers/escorts, a tough looking black guy came over and told the punk “You don’t call her bitch.” My friend, sensing the kid was about to get a well deserved beat down, nonetheless told him to apologize to the girl and avoid trouble. He would not. Fortunately for him the parade moved on before it came to blows but in my 14 years of being here I had never seen anyone act like that.

  165. I don’t even know what to say. Please tell her there is nothing wrong with her. It’s the man who has very serious mental problems for treating anyone that way. ESP a child. I know words hurt so much. I wish I could hug you both.

  166. The post made my heart ache with pain, but all the comments after it made my heart ache with joy. I’m not from NOLA, but I’ve come there to sing with the New Orleans Opera several times. Each time I visit, I fall in love with all the kind, beautiful, fun, open, wonderful, LOVING people. The rude guy with the to-go cup could NOT have been from NOLA because, as far as I can tell, NOLA doesn’t make evil folks. I pray all the good will, bountiful loot, and offers of safe, special, and better viewing areas make next year’s celebration spectacular for your daughter! Boy, she’s gonna have a great time with her countdown calendar this year! Keep up the great work, Ms. Amy. God knew exactly what He was doing when he put your daughter in the safety of your arms. :-)

  167. Here is my 2 cents. Get her to volunteer- to help in the community. THis way, she can develop her pride and confidence in herself. What this man did was try to take away her self confidence. Now is the time, before it becomes too late, to encourage her to build confidence in her ability to be of use to the community, to be needed, to be worthy. Right now, she is headed in a dangerous direction. If something doesn’t ‘teach’ her her true worth, she will forever believe that she has nothing to offer. Get her to volunteer for the community. Get her involved. Get her to see her own worth. Otherwise that man’s voice will continue to haunt her for the rest of her life!

  168. I have read this TWICE and cried both times, this time I just read the comments and I am crying again at the generosity of the people here. I grew up in New Orleans and now live in Mobile, Alabama – I remember my first run in with the college crowd, I got kicked in the head at Bacchus while a girl was trying to get on her boyfriend’s shoulders without spilling her beer. At least she had the good graces to be apologetic and even shared some loot with me, before they moved on down the Parade Route. Anyway…

    I ride here with the Clown-A-Rounds on Joe Cain Sunday and I’d like to send your daughter some Mobile Goodies! Please add my email to the list juliafmiller (at) gmail.com.

    Maybe the denizens of the Internet can restore her joy and faith in Mardi Gras!

  169. You and your daughter have received an outpouring of love and support and I would like to add my own. Please contact me at jeaannebvedros@yahoo.com. I am friends with local author, Cornell Landry, and would love to send your daughter a signed copy of his Happy Mardi Gras book. If she has no dietary restrictions, I would also like to send her some cookies. I have a side business baking and would enjoy baking her something sweet.

    • You are precious and I believe that every one of YOU offsets at least a dozen of the jerks represented ion this post :) Bless you!

  170. I am so sorry that your daughter had to experience such ignorance! I don’t live in New Orleans but was raised there and this makes me sad that someone “representing” our city would act that way! Your daughter is a gift from God for all of us and hopefully he can help heal her heart for next year!

  171. Your daughter wanted to ‘leave the parade’ because she wanted to cry. She needed a break somewhere, a long walk, some private time. But the next time something like this happens, don’t remove her from the situation permanently as she asked you to. This only reinforces her desire to ‘run away’ and believe that others can ‘get the best of her’. It is better to cry for awhile somewhere else off the parade route, somewhere private, and then return and stick it out. Do not allow her to learn to ‘run away’. Maybe go back to the car to cry and rest for a while- but make sure to tell her she must go back to the parade. She needs to learn not to let others ruin her life- sometimes all the worlds you can tell her will not convince her because she has many emotions at the time– but there is a difference between emotions and what your desire is. She still wanted in her heart to be at the parade. But the emotions made it seem like the parade was dangerous. Emotions will do that. Being hurt will do that. But when the heart is raw is precisely when you can’t throw the towel in.

    • Julie, I know you mean well, but only her parents can know what is best for the child in that situation. Especially with autistic children, you just can’t expect them to “stick it out” in the same way typical kids can. It’s like telling a wheelchair bound child to stop sitting around and get walking. Amy did what she had to do to help her child by remaining calm and removing her from the situation rather than prolonging the trauma or escalating it by getting into a confrontation with the idiots on the street.

  172. I am the queen of the Krewe of Aesclepius in Shreveport, La. Our krewe holds this area’s children’s parade. We are extremely touched by your story and would love to send your daughter some Mardi Gras cheer! Please send me an email! We would be honored to be a part of restoring your daughter’s love and joy for Mardi Gras.

  173. I was so excited for your daughter as I began to read the story. I could feel the excitement build in her preparation. I was excited for your daughter. Then, I was disgusted with what those “men” said and did. Regardless if they were drunk or not, they showed their stupidity and heartlessness. It deeply saddens me. I read this last night, and was so disgusted I didn’t read the comments. This morning I just had to read it again. I wanted to see how I could somehow say something comforting. Then, I read through all these wonderful comments. I hope that your daughter can feel the outpouring of love, and see that there is more love in this world than hate. I hope she gets a second chance to have fun preparing next year, and get the full experience of what it is all about.

  174. This is so sad and horrible. No one has any respect for anyone anymore. :( Mean people pepper the world and they are the retarded ones, they lack the kindness and feelings that will lead to a great life. People that have learning challenges arnt retarded they are special, wonderful, kind people that just want to be accepted! I’m so sorry that this happened

  175. My first thought was, “what a douche-bag!” Then I realized that was an insult to douche-bags everywhere because at least a douche-bag serves a purpose. Judging by the replies to this post, your precious baby girl will still have a great Mardi Gras, but it will be coming to her instead of her having to stand on a curb with jackasses like this to experience it. I hope she finds her Mardi Gras spirit again and I hope this guy choked on his own vomit. Kudos to all of you stepping up!

  176. It’s a shame that you and your daughter were treated that way. The truth of that situation was that guy was a jerk (or any other choice word you can think of). What happened to your daughter has probably happened a dozen times to those of us who grew up in New Orleans. I know it has to me and my siblings. Unfortunately, jerks are everywhere. And the only thing everyone noticed at the parade was how much of a jerk that guy is

  177. Wow. This story touched me deeply. I am a mother of two toddlers. It breaks my heart to see children treated this way. I hope that you read some of the comments you have received here to your beautiful daughter. I hope she knows that her story has touched people from coast to coast, and even country to country. I am not from NOLA, but I wish I was right now. Your daughter is so lucky to have a mother like you, and to live in a community like this. The love, support, and outrage over this incident really is awe inspiring. If your daughter gets nothing else from this experience, I hope she sees how far GOOD people will go to make one person feel loved and accepted. This gives me faith in humanity. I hope it gives your daughter her love of the magical Mardi GRAS season back. She deserves it more than any drunk, inconsiderate, hateful “adult”. Keep your chin up, little lady. People everywhere are on your side. YOU are the kind of person we all want to be around. Never forget that. I look forward to seeing pictures of you grinning ear to ear with all of your loot that I Am sure you will receive. :-)

  178. HORRIBLE! i know its the principle behind the whole thing, but whatever your beautiful little girl wants from muses, please let me know. shoes, yo-yo’s, change purse, light up rings and necklaces – PLEASE let me know. i also have a fabulous pug – tipsy – decked out in her mardi gras collar (still) that gives great kisses!!!

  179. This story both breaks my heart and infuriates me. I am a bearded oyster who marches in muses every year and a local artist. I would love to make something special for your daughter. She can’t be empty handed for the pain she had to endure. I don’t want her Mardi Gras to be ruined forever. My email is shnnnklly@yahoo.com if you want to take me up on my offer!

  180. Reading this story I was appalled at the actions of these men; drunk is not an excuse for outright ignorance, especially toward children. But going through the comments and seeing the positive support from Krewe members and other locals to go above and beyond to make this right for your daughter makes my heart swell with pride for my city. I hate that I missed Muses this year, and truly hope she can get her spirits restored about the parade. I hope you do take some of the offers up on a more private experience for parade watching next year, so that you don’t have to deal with some of these idiots in the crowd.

  181. That behavior wasn’t Mardi Gras! All of these comments are much more the true New Orleans Mardi Gras spirit.

  182. All the offers of beads, trinkets and a special parade are a testament to the giving hearts of fellow New Orleanians. If only that could take away the hurt your daughter and you feel. I, too, am a parent of a special needs daughter. She’s 16 and is mildly retarded and has characteristics of mild autism. As one of her teachers said she has the most beautiful soul of anyone she knows. Unfortunately, most people don’t take the time to see that part of her. If they only knew what they were missing out on by getting to know these remarkable children.

  183. Found this blog through Fleurty Girl. I cried twice; the first time as a mom of a special needs daughter and the second time at the outpouring of love from the people of New Orleans. As a displaced Cajun in SC now, we took our sweet girl to her first Mardi Gras in 2011 and she had family surrounding her. I understand your husband having to work. Mine would not have been restrained; he would’ve decked the guy, And, by the way, he is a Tulane alum who earned his scholarship by working hard in high school. Any way, I am so sorry that your precious angel had to have her much-anticipated Mardi Gras experience ruined, devastated, and crushed by an ignorant drunk. Take up the Muses’s loving and phenomenal offers to have a mini parade just for her! She needs her love of Mardi Gras reinstated! I’d also contact any of the multiple New Orleanians who’ve offered a safe environment for y’all for next year. Much love!

  184. Terrible story. I wonder if someone would be kind enough to invite her to participate in one of the floats next year? It’s unfortunate that she had to see a different side of society, but maybe by getting to ride in a float and throw out things she would get to see a different side of Mardi Gras?

  185. While that is really sad, and no one ever deserves to be mistreated, she’s probably going to have to deal with bullies all her life. Instead of letting her go home and cry, you should teach her that it’s no big deal, those guys are stupid, we can still have fun. Better learn to brush it off while she’s young. Children get made fun of all the time for all kinds of things, and if the solution is always to go home crying, she’s going to have a terrible life.

  186. Those boys are the people with problems, not your daughter. She sounds like she is a lovely girl with a sweet spirit. It makes me sad and angry to hear how cruel and inconsiderate people are these days.

  187. I am inspired by this story to continue teaching my kids about the right way to live. This guy who said what he said was probably drunk, but there is no excuse for his disrespectful ,ignorant comment . My children are 10 & 1, and I was thinking about taking our family to MaRdi Gras parades next year but will probably not after reading this. I don’t think I would have been able to contain myself if some adult hurt either one of my children .

    • I hope you would reconsider coming down— this bad behavior can happen, but it is not the standard- please read all of the posts and know that real New Orleanians are good natured, and you would have a great time watching parades Uptown. Please see me husband’s post (the NOPD officer above) about his barricade area—- a safe place to stand. I ride in Muses and it breaks my heart when one small-minded idiot mars this wonderful event (and anyone’s opinion of our great city and festival).

  188. This post made me cry and warmed my heart at the same time. So sad to hear the horrible actions of this guy. The comments on this blog were very touching, so many people willing to help put a smile on this young ladies face. Its truly touching.

  189. So sad. I grew up in MS with the MS Mardi gras parades. I remember what an impact young adult’s drunk behavior had on me. How rude people can be and that was 25 yrs ago. I hope all this out pouring of support helps her enjoy it in future years. Unfortunately, too many people flock to NO for tne “party”. Take these people up on their offers. Might just be what she needs.

  190. I really wish I was there and not holding my newborn when this went down. I would have spent the night in OPP but would have been more than happy to do it. I also don’t think there would be any way 12 men and women would be able to find me guilty.

  191. My daughter has some serious issues in the autism spectrum. She is much better and socially adjusted now. I am not sure exactly what her diagnosis is, but as a family we have worked with her for years to get her where she is. That said to preface this:

    If your daughter is detail oriented like mine is, and like many autistic children are,, you might (a little at a time of course) look into a variety of issues that address what happened that day, without making her relive it. You might ask her to help you get some information about different topics. You might ask her to watch you practice a speech, or to look at the poster you are making for an anti-bullying poster contest. Whatever scenario will make her comfortable enough and be appropriate for her skills to help you with.

    You might let her read up and study with her on the effects ALCOHOL has on people. And also on the rampant use of the word RETARD as a jab at ANY person who does something the name caller does not like. And also on the lack of manners and politeness in society and on how we, as a nation, have become more and more verbally abusive to each other, even people we like, often calling it a joke. She ended up in the perfect storm of all of those things that day. I would not bring up the incident again, just research and discuss the topics and let her talk about whatever she wants.

    You might also look at numbers, statistics–examples that show that 1 out of __ number of people think a certain opinion. You might look at reviews of businesses and services online and see that occasionally, someone says something not nice about them. You might discuss that the business people probably check all the reviews even the bad ones. If the bad one has something true to say, something they can/should change, they probably do. But if the bad one (and maybe there is ONE bad one out of hundreds of good ones–like the one bad guy at the parade out of hundreds) is NOT true or can’t be changed, they leave it alone and think about all the good ones.

    You might research bullying and talk about ways to deal with that. You might have her draw some posters about it, or make some lists of how to deal with different things.

    I would suggest helping her (without being obvious, which shuts my daughter down) see that what happened to her that day was NOT BECAUSE OF HER and NOT BECAUSE OF HER AUTISM. What happened to her was BECAUSE OF HIS PROBLEMS.

    I would show her what the word RETARD means in the dictionary…one meaning is to slow down something, She DID “retard” or attempt to “retard” his rudeness that day, and THAT is a good thing.

    You might also look at some reports of people getting drunk and arrested at Mardi Gras. “I bet that guy went to jail that day.” Or something appropriate. You might look up some videos of people being drunk and saying stupid things and discuss how alcohol makes people act ridiculous.

    I would suggest talking about solutions for dealing with the situation, for her if she decides to go back, and for others if she doesn’t. You might find a police officer you know, or one in the crowd and sit near him next year. You might take chairs or some things to block off an area where people can’t get in front of you. You might have a friend go (that she doesn’t know is there to be WITH YOU, to run interference for you) so someone else can run *jerk control* without her having to deal with it. You might talk to the parade coordinators about alcohol free family zones. About better crowd control in the family zones.

    You might look up how smart autistic people are and discuss that. You might look up some of all the different things that people can have “wrong” about them. She is not just “not different” on Mardi Gras. She is “not different” every single day of the year. There are people who have panic attacks, who struggle in stores and crowds, like it sounds like your daughter might, for example. We are, each of us, different in our own ways.

    You might look up about standing up for others and how to do it. You might let her know that the next time someone says something ugly to her, that you might say some things that sound mean back to them, because they need to know to stop. You might look up a mama bear protecting her young and talk about that and that you might act that way.

    You might show her the video on youtube where the toddler *smacks* his older brother in the face and says “don’t say retard”, to let her know that many people don’t like that word.

    I have taught my daughter that there is nothing wrong with being “different”. I have taught her that there are times it is better to “blend in” than to “stand out” and we work around that. For example, I can’t act certain ways at work that my friends think are funny. There are times to share our true selves and times to just kind of be quiet. This world has a limited way for people to be and be “OK”…you might watch some tv shows and talk about how everyone looks the same…you might research about people struggling with weight issues or the beauty ideals put out into media that pressure young girls.

    Even people with the diagnosis of mental retardation are not retards. That is not a REAL word to describe people. It is something people say to be mean, and people say all kinds of things to be mean. He might as well have been a two year old calling her a “poo poo head”.

    You might find some examples of someone calling someone a blatantly silly name (like “poo poo head”) and talk about how if someone said that to you, it would be easier to realize that the person saying the name had problems, was silly, was immature.

    Some people are SO silly, SO immature, that they pick all kinds of names they KNOW are likely to hurt: Retard, Fat, Stupid, Ugly. THOSE kind of people are the saddest of all. And ANYTHING they say is something we can just pretend never happened, because those people’s thoughts are not correct. We don’t have to correct them. We don’t have to feel bad about them.

    I hope she can come to see that, that day, the CROWD was not chanting “retard”. One drunk person, who CLEARLY has problems, said something. Something not true. People lie all the time. It is not our fault. I am proud of you for sharing this.

  192. I have had fun experiences ruined by people calling me names, too. It’s terribly upsetting that people act this way, especially in front of children. Please email me, my step-son and I have LOTS of muses beads, throws, etc, and we would love to share them with your beautiful daughter.

    During one of the parades prior to Muses, we experienced some incredible Mardi Gras karma, and we have been waiting for the right chance to pay it forward. I think we’ve found it :)
    Maryvande@gmail.com

  193. It is wonderful to see the overwhelming response by memebers of Muses….
    It is very sad that this is what Mardi Gras has came to. We live in South Ms and never even attempt to get into New Orleans during Mardi Gras. We have a few small parades here where I live but even here sometimes things get out of hand. Tell you daughter she is a very special young lady and altho I am not a member of any Krewe I have friends that are and if there is anything that we can do to lift this little girls spirits up we would be happy to!

  194. This happens way more that you think. It truly is sad that Mardi Gras seems to be getting more about young stupid decisions than it does families enjoying the celebration.

    We haven’t lived locally since 08/05. This year we decided to bring our two back for Lundi/Mardi Gras. Both are high functioning. One boy 6th grade and one girl 1st grade. We made a ladder for the girl because we felt it would keep her “safe”. We made a short one due to the fear she wouldn’t sit in it. We made it through most of Tucks, Proteus, and Orpheus with her in the seat but she would not have anything of it for Mardi Gras in Metairie. People were amazed at how she would just sit quietly in a chair and make strange comments about how could a child just sit there like that. Like they thought it was a bad thing. I didn’t hold my cool as well as the OP when it came to teenage girls trying to pass between me and the 1st graders chair she was sitting in. We were standing about 4 INCHES apart. First one just barreled over me, just bad parenting. The second one barreled over my daughter’s chair and turned her 1/2 way around! I grabbed her arm turned her around and said “You don’t run over little children like that. APOLOGIZE to her!” She did and I let her move on. It is ridiculous to know that we were in METAIRIE on VETS and you would have thought we were in the quarter with some of the people that were around us and how they were acting. There was even a man on a float trying to get a grown woman to flash him. SERIOUSLY?!? Needless to say after my daughter was barreled over she was done and ready to go. It was frustrating to have to pack up and miss over half of one parade and an entire other parade after having driven 5 hours to give her her very first Lundi/Mardi Gras. I suppose we will try to stick to Family Gras like we have in years past but I really wish and pray that the celebration could return to a fun filled event for everyone.

    I was so glad to read on Fleurty Girl’s FB status that the Muses’ Captain had agreed to meet this precious child at Mardi Gras World today. I am very thankful there are the wonderful people such as all of the posters here that are trying diligently to ensure Mardi Gras is a clean fun wholesome family celebration.

  195. That is a terrible story but please remember that for every terrible story there are thousands and thousands of beautiful ones.
    Drunken idiots are not the sole property of Mardi Gras or New Orleans. This will not be the last time both you and your daughter will be asked to draw on inner strength to rise above the perceptions and cruelties of others.
    Be strong and hang on to happy memories, if you hang on to the bad memories the idiots win.
    My CDs are not as pretty as a Muses shoe but if your daughter would like some music let me know and I’ll pass some along.
    May blessings flow your way and love fill your hearts.

  196. My heart aches for this beautiful child. Please give her my love and tell her I think she is special beyond words. I admire your strength in holding back on the piece of garbage that ruined her special time. God bless your family.

  197. So sorry you both had this experience! My 12 and 9 year old sons got an education from some college couple who chose to make out next to us the entire Bacchus parade. Sad when a 12 year old says “she’s really drunk, huh mom?”
    These idiots need to realize how their actions look and affect children. Stay out of the “family” areas and stick to Bourbon Street if they are going to act like fools.

  198. Please, please, PLEASE tell your sweet, loving and wonderful daughter that there are plenty of us out here who want to be her friend, who know there’s nothing wrong with her (her illness is NOT who she is), and who KNOW that the only “retard” at that parade was the young man and his companions. She is no much more mature than he is. Please tell her (from someone who knows) to not let jerks like that determine her future path in life, but to go forward with her head held high. She’s so much MORE than he is or will ever be.

  199. I’m so very sorry this happened to your sweet daughter but some of my faith in people has been restored after reading the comments. We don’t live in New Orleans but my husband and I vacation there at least twice a year and plan to retire there someday. In the meantime, we belong to the Krewe of NOLA Wenches and participate in their annual gathering each April. This year the dates of our Shore Leave event are April 19-22. If your daughter has any interest in pirates I’m sure we could arrange something special for her. Here is the link to our website with all the info about our Krewe and Shore Leave:

    http://www.nolawenches.com/

  200. Someone needs to send this toTulane Loyola UnO and all local university to educate their students send it to the president campus newspaper and sga. they will get involved IM sure

  201. Let the spirit of joy and love surround us. What a beautiful reminder of the goodness of our mankind.

    My XOXOX to Emily! May today be a shining reminder of the good here on Earth.

    Renew your spirit sweet child – may God continue to bless you. Happy Mardi Gras!!
    Happy Muses!! Thank You ALL!!

  202. I am so sorry to hear of this experience. My family and I are in town from Michigan and my two children caught so many throws we can not possibly take them all back with us. My aunt is a member of Muses and I will ask her to help get the large bag we have to who ever can use it to help give this little girl the parade she deserves. Please contact me at my2thepoint at yahoo dot com.

    God bless this little girl and help her to understand for every one nasty person out there, one thousand more will step up to show that is not acceptable!

  203. What idiots. Her joy in the first part almost makes me want to venture back out to the parades….I hope she will get it back. And please tell her that she is NOT a retard and there are many of us (clearly, as I’m the 284th post) who don’t think that she is either.

  204. This story absolutely disgusted me! People like your daughter are the reason there is still something good, and pure, and genuine in this world. Shame on that ignorant boy for making her feel like she deserved any less than a perfect experience she was hoping for! I lived in Baton Rouge for most of my life, and what I enjoyed the most was how accepting people are down there. I am outraged to think that some people are still so repulsive! I have also worked extinsively with children with mental and physical handicaps. They are some of the most beautiful, resiliant, amazing people I have ever come in contact with in my life. Your daughter, though I do not know her personally, is a wonderful girl. Many could learn valuable life lessons from her and many others just like her. She is NOT a “retard”!!! She is an amazing person who will embrace more wonder and joy than most people will ever know! She deserves the respect and consideration that should be shown to anyone else. I truely hope that this experience did not ruin her from something she loves. I also hope that she is able to read some of these heartwarming comments. She deserves to realize that people like that insulting boy are few and far between. That there are so many other people who support her and think she is special. Please give your daughter a huge hug from all of us crying for her, and let her know, that no matter what anyone says, she is beautiful and absolutely perfect just the way she is!!!!

  205. This makes me so sad and my heart ache for you and your daughter. The comments here and everyone banding together to make sure her love for Mardi Gras stays alive is why I love NOLA so much and visit as often as possible. You truly are a great city!

  206. I hate to say it, but horror stories like this are part of the reason why I’m not so against the “Tent N’ Ladder” crews that set up along the neutral ground. The times I have had a set up like that (split between several other families), my main intent was to keep my kids safe from the roving drunks with lit cigarettes at children’s eye level, not to simply stake my plot of land. And this is in the family friendly portion of Napoleon b/w Magazine & Prytania, not along the St. Charles corridor. It’s an unfortunate byproduct of the extreme popularity that Mardi Gras has garnered, year after year. Trying to keep the uptown parade route family-friendly (and safe) is becoming increasingly difficult.

    And while I hate to point fingers, the Tulane & Loyola kids should know better. And if it’s high-schoolers at fault, well then their parents should know better.

  207. I’m not surprised to hear about rudeness and drunken stupidty… but it does shock and horrify me that someone would behave just that badly… and say such cruel and uncalled for… hateful things… to a child…

    Seriously… Mardi Gras is for EVERYONE. and your daughter was right to feel like it was a place and time she could let go and feel safe in being different…

    We are all different, for better or worse, and that’s what makes our city so special… and Mardi Gras such a stunning display.

    I do hope her faith is restored, I came across this post thru Fleurty Girls page on Facebook… and I know she has plans on helping…

    I would suggest that maybe next year y’all make a point to hit up Metry to check out their parades. The floats aren’t as stunning, nor the crowd as costumed… But the crowds are very aware that the event is for children… I recently became a live in Nanny and did the Mardi Gras thing in Metry for the first time this passed week… HUGE difference. HUGE. more room, portapotties… We ended up being cool with the three families nearest us, and I face painted all the kids, and they played together like they’d always known each other, we all shared our snacks with each other, and every parent kept an eye out for any kid with in sight. There was plenty of jovial beer drinking amongst the adults… but the conversation was kept clean, and we even helped each other catch throws and shared!

    Next year we still plan on hitting up a Orleans krewe or two (I still haven’t made it to a Muses parade and want to SO BAD) but I know where we’ll be hanging with the kids…

    Many blessings to you and your Daughter… I look forward to hearing more about what we do as a city and community going forward to help your little girl, and maybe everyone, feel safer and happier while out enjoying Mardi Gras!

  208. I have tears pouring down my face reading this! As a mommy to a beautiful autistic little boy, I relate 100% to the struggles in this. My heart is broken for your daughter, and also for this young man who is too selfish and immature to care about his own actions. The worse thing is not raising a child with disabilities, but raising one who makes fun of those who do. While this “normal” boy brings hurt and pain to others, your special daughter brings joy and love!

  209. Wish i could have been standing next to her she would have seen the whole parade from my shoulders all the best to this little girl

  210. i’m so sorry that your daughter had that experience. not that it is any consolation but the comments and behavior say more about him and less about her. i would tell your daughter that his biggest hurdle is that he has to wake up every morning and look at himself in the mirror. as time goes on , he won’t be able to. peace, roland

  211. Thank you all for your wonderful comments, words of support, offers of help. Amy is so grateful but she is a bit overwhelmed! I just had to delete the first mean comment so I want to let everyone know that mean comments will not be tolerated and will be deleted. I will not allow flame wars on this post or any other on this blog. This is not a Nola.com forum. Thanks again to all.

    • I saw the comment via email notification and all I could think was “God, have mercy on his soul because this krewe will have none!” :)

      • Thanks, Deaux. So many comments have posted since I went to bed last night. I hope there aren’t any other mean ones but it’s taking me a while to sift through them all! God bless the Krewe of Muses for stepping up for Amy and her little girl. xo

  212. This story breaks my heart…

    My husband and I are both veterans, I was in the army and my husband in the marines. We have a lot of friends both active duty and veterans alike and it would be an honor to provide you with your own security escort next year so that your daughter can have a great time and not deal with anything like this ever again. My email address is Tiffany.grevemberg@gmail.com.

    Don’t lose faith… We have some great people in this city!

    • Thank you for your service, and may I tiptoe a little tiny step off-topic to say how much I love the military? Never knew any when I was young; feel blessed to know so many now.

      I hope she doesn’t have to take you up on your offer, but it is SO kind of you to do so.

  213. wow…you are such a rude/ignorant person. It’s not about the shoe..it’s about the disrespect this person showed to her daughter! NO-ONE should be treated that way regardless if it is at a parade, mall, grocery store..etc etc!! One day when something like this happens to you, come back and let us know how hiding out at home works out for you! Once again, I would like to say you are very IGNORANT. I hope you think about what you just posted and come back to apologize/delete your nasty comment!!!!

      • Thank you for deleting that comment! I will continue to pray for those with cold hearts such as his…that they will realize their wrongs and lead a life in which they will treat others with respect..Much love and support!

  214. Grasp Reality,
    Clearly your mother never taught you the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all”. No one cares about your ridiculous opinion. To Amy and her sweet daughter: I am sorry there are ignorant people in this world. I am not sure who in their right mind could ever think this was okay. I hope she can renew her faith in this event!

  215. I marched in Muses with my band who played for the Bearded Oysters, I’d like to gather some throws and give them to her. This story just breaks my heart. I”m sorry that this jerk took away her Mardi Gras and make her feel bad about herself. Please email me at talktodanigirl@gmail.com and I’ll let you know what kind of throws I’ve gathered for her.

  216. So glad you posted this year Mardi Gras was absolutely horrible for families altogether. I have never had an experience like this before and it disgusts me how not only college kids but adults also act when they’v e had a few too many. There was more than a few that practically fell on my kids because they were so intoxicated
    They weren’t dumb enough to mess with me though as my 6’4″ husband was with us. But this has to change, they were all over the city at all hours of the day causing nothing but chaos. People from out of town should be considerate of NOLA natives respect our city, our residents, and educate themselves about what Mardi Gras really is about.

    • As you can see from my post above, I completely agree. It was just different this year and I was very disappointed. Adults snagging small beads or throws from children’s hands, standing in front of small children, smoking, drinking, and cursing without cause. So sad. However, it wasn’t just out of towners that were that way. Some of them were locals! Which saddens my heart more.

  217. Hello, your story touched my heart. I would like to try to help bring the love of Mardi Gras and a beautiful smile back to your daughter. As you know we do have upcoming St. Patrick’s Day Parades. I am a member of a well known dance team “Operation Dance New Orleans” Oh.. Well that’s ok Jess, I made the decision to sit out the rest of the season a few days ago because I started a new job it wasn’t a position I carried previously to be able to handle work related excuses. I thought maybe it would be understood because I indeed started a new position in which I did not do by choice it was because I was let go. So I guess I’ll just ho ahead with my previous decision to sit out the rest of the season. we indeed performed those parents you guys attended. I would like to make it up to her or at least bring a smile to her adorable little face. If your interested please contact me via email I surely can discuss the details with you. My email alymiggie@gmail.com
    Hope to hear from you,
    Aly

  218. That is absolutely horrible!! I am a body artist, and a very dear friend of mine is a widely-known professional body artist. He is actually making a book of body-art for Autism Awareness. His name is Daniel Lasris and you can find this book on my facebook profile or his. Autistic children/adults are some of the brightest and most beautiful people I know. Please tell her I said that the only retards out there are those that judge people by their life circumstances and not by who they are. That the next time someone says something like that to her, she should look them in the eye and say “If my autism keeps you from seeing the beautiful person I am, than your life will be as sorry and shallow as your judgement.” I am so sorry this happened to her and to you.

  219. You should be ashamed of yourself for posting such a disrespectful reply to a heartfelt post about how a few drunken idiots treated a CHILD!!!! I grew up in New Orleans and went to many parades over the years but there is NO excuse for the treatment this child got! It’s not about the shoe you dumb a$$…it’s about humanity, their lack of it and apparently yours too!

    • I see his mean spirited reply was deleted. I am appalled at how ugly and heartless people can be! I am sorry your beautiful daughter was treated in such a terrible manner and I hope she gets her Mardi Gras spirit back again!

  220. Hi there,

    I dance with the NOLA Cherry Bombs. If there is a re-staging, I would love to let the ladies know about it. Muses was such a high point for my carnival season, anything I can do to help, I’m in!
    Much love,
    Wild Cherry

  221. This hurts my heart to hear! I have a godchild that is autistic and this is totally inappropriate behavior! Little does he know, your little girl is probably smarter than him. No matter what, the word “retarded” should have never been used. If you send me your email, we’d be glad to have you on sunday next year for the 3 parades that run on Magazine. My brother has 2 children and we had tons of kids this year. It’s very family friendly and fun for all!!! My email is Angelle.simon@gmail.com. I’m praying that by next year, your sweetheart will have that twinkle in her eye again and smile on her face!

  222. I rarely ever reply to blogs, but I felt the need to do so. I have pages that I could probably right to try to make your daughter feel better about how things happened. Unfortunately, none of us can change what happened and this memory will stay with her forever. What I would like to simply say is that I am a mother of 3 children. Ages 14, 10, and 6. I encourage them to be unique and different and think outside of the box, even though I know they will be tormented at times because of it. My reasoning for this is that those unique individuals, the ones that are ridiculed as kids become the great ones. The ones that change the world and make others think differently. They’re the ones that go on and do incredible things. I pray that your daughter looks at herself, not as a “retard,” but instead of God’s unique 6th grader that one day will make someone step back and say, “Wow.” A dollar says she’s already done that a time or two already. :)

  223. I’m a twenty-something who gets drunk at parades with her friends, but I’m also a twenty-something that has a heart and it’s breaking for this girl. There have been times at parades when children were around and I let them and their families in front of me or gave things I caught to them instead. I have an extra special soft spot for kids with special needs. I work at a veterinary hospital next to a Neuro therapy place. Often times if the kids do well in their session the therapist brings them over to see our animals. It makes their day and ours to see them so happy. If there is anything I can do to help restore her faith in mankind and her love of Mardi Gras, please let me know.

  224. Mrs. Mueller,
    My heart broke as I read this. Mardi GRAS is suppose to be a special time of the year, especially for children. There is no excuses for that boy’s behavior! I see by the many responses here that you and your daughter have been offered Muses shoes and beads beads by the tons! That is what makes Muses special! The love they have for the people of this city and the spirit of Mardi GRAS! While I am not a member of Muses, I am a member of Nyx and we too love the people of this city. I would love to send her a Nyx purse and if you would like, offer you both a day to come and help decorate purses, if your daughter would enjoy that. I hope one day she can forget this horrible incident and find the love and joy of Mardi GRAS again. You can contact me at gemellesaak@aol.com. God bless you both!
    Gigi Saak

  225. My mommy’s heart is bereft thinking of what your daughter experienced and what you as her mom had to witness in regards to her shrinking spirit…. I hear the Krewe of Muses is going to do something special for you all – wonderful. Hugs, prayers and happy thoughts that this will start the healing process for your daughter.

  226. This is heartbreaking. Sadly, these douchebags run around in packs trying to intimidate people. These “frat boys” could care less about the beauty of the parades, and just shove people around, acting like neanderthals. I encountered a few on Lundi Gras, gave them a piece of my mind, and ran them off. I wish I could have been there for this lady and her sweet daughter.

  227. We need to fix this. Not really sure how. Maybe even throw her a parade. Does anyone have a shoe from Muses. This is sad and I hope with everything I have that my children grow up to show that regardless of anyone being different we are all still the same. Shame on you and I hope you read this one day.

  228. We would love to have her march with Chewbaccaus. We love everyone and make the coolest Sci Fi themed throws!

  229. I understand completely how you feel. I am from Pineville, La. and I have a beautiful son that has Autism. I brought him to the Alexandria parade as I feel it is important to show him as much of Life as I can. He wanted so badly to get beads, cups, and other things from the people thowing from the floats ofcourse others would grab first. He did get a few beads and was so happy. There was a child he went to school with besides him and he turn to her to give her one of his beads. The girl turned to the person besides her and said gross do you want this Brodie gave me this and he is special he cries at school. I was so angry it is like he had coodies or something… Kids are crewl its just not at parades it is everywhere school, movies, etc. He cries from being bullied at school, on the bus. But he always turns to me and says Its ok they are just mean people. I could keep going on and on. I am so sorry for your Little girls experience just keep praying that she will overcome the fear that the drunk put into her.

  230. My heart feels better reading all these responses today. Yesterday I just couldn’t get this post out of my mind and felt so useless to do anything. This is what I would tell her:
    Weird? Retard? These are not words that describe you. These are words used by people who don’t understand the world yet. They may never understand the world, but you see it and you are able to notice the differences everywhere. You have a light in you that is bright and wonderful, and that means you will do great things in your life. Not every person has a light that bright. Some people have almost no light at all, and they walk around being very confused by people who are not the same as they are. They don’t know how to appreciate what life is about but I think you do. That makes you unique, but in the best way of all. I know it is hard to feel like you are different, but don’t let your light dim. Many people would give anything to have a light like that, but they don’t know how to get it.

    • Wow, you’re response was beautiful. I have a niece who has developmental problems and you just described her completely. One of the most beautiful souls I have ever encountered, but I know as she gets older that life will get harder. I plan on copying your words to share with my family. Thank you so much!

  231. I want to say how awesome all of you are who are offering up throws, etc. It takes a little sting out of the inhuman way our society seems to be making the norm. i would also like to suggest, if this precious little girl id so jaded now that she does not want to attend another Muse parade, Maybe a rider could suggest to the Krewe that this little girl ride with ya’ll next year. It’s just a thought as I am sure there are rules. To the mom, you are a great example of when to pick your battles. You showed your daughter how to handle a bad situation. I don’t know if I could have been so calm. Kudos to you and God Bless!

  232. i’m sad and angry all at the same time reading this. how can someone just break a beautiful child’s spirit? I remember when Mardi Gras was a family affair, fun for everyone but especially for the kids. it’s sad to think it’s become nothing more than an excuse for idiots to get drunk in public. i wish i had inspiring words to brighten her spirit. this story is absolutely gut wrenching. my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. i only hope that your baby girl continues to write her “daily gratitudes” because there’s so much to be grateful for. there’s a quote that I read and it’s something I always try to follow: “Treat everyone with kindness, even those who are cruel to you, not because they are nice but because YOU are.” while it’s much easier said than done, it’s inspiring. although I don’t know you all personally, she surely seems to have a beautiful soul!! nothing can break that.

  233. I am so sorry for this. I have a son with similar issues, and I can’t imagine how much this hurt her. I am also a Muse, and want to send her all my extra beads. Please email me and let me know if this would be OK.

  234. We have a perfectly safe spot in Lafayette where we have a nearly 100% family friendly Mardi Gras. Please consider this an open invitation for you & your daughter to join us during the celebration!

  235. We also had a very bad experiences at parades this year. Something needs to be done; the ladders and squatters are getting out of hand. We were verbally abused by other “locals” when we dared to encroach on “their space” during Muses. They had literally roped off a 50 square foot area with NO ONE was standing in it. Instead they were on ladders in front of “their space” and screamed threatening comments at anyone who dared to get in front of them or enter into their roped off areas. Absolutely ridiculous…for beads? We had several people with us (all of us locals) who have said they are not going to parades anymore. I don’t even dare bring kids in our family down there. While my heart hurts for this little girl. Remember there is a little girl in all of us who still want to enjoy the experience and bring our little girls to do the same.

  236. I would be so ashamed to be that boy’s mother. I am soooo sorry to hear that your daughter had such a bad experience, especially since this was something that meant so much to her. I think you handled it excellently and I sincerely hope that such a negative experience doesn’t stop your daughter from enjoying the parades in the future. Big hugs to you and her, Mama!

  237. Wow… I have a little girl with DS and know the anxiety of bringing her out to public venues. The word Retard is repulsive to me and although I commend this woman for the way she handled herself, I would not have had the fortitude needed to NOT lose control. Some people are ignorant of the emotional rollercoaster families go through to raise children with disabilities and completely compassionless. Thank you to the Crew of Muses for embracing this incident. Ive never attended Muses…. next year I will be in the crowd cheering you guys on.

  238. So sad. I am at a lost for words people have no respect for anyone or their feelings maybe this is why I am so antisocial and need antidepressants to cope

  239. I grew up in SWLA, but my husband is military so we are currently in GA. My daughter is going through the processes of being diagnosed with Autism. I have no goodies to offer to send since we weren’t able to get to a parade this year, however, my little girl LOVES writing. If your daughter would like, we can set them up to be penpals. Also, this outpouring of love and support has made me PROUD to say I am from Louisiana! Please contact me at lauramaldrich at gmail.com. I’m sure my little girl (Shay) would be thrilled to write to her.

  240. Wow that is not right at all! I hope that guy has a very bad hang over when he wakes up and remembers what he said and realizes how horrible of a person he is!
    It is great to see so many threads of people who are stepping up to try to making things better for this girl. I am sure The Muses and all the other Krews wanting to help will rekindle her flame for Mardi Gras! I am from Canada and people always ask me why I continuously go down to N.O. and I always respond with “the People” And this thread is a great example of what I mean! Well good work all and I hope you daughter has a great privet parade!!

  241. I would love to punch him in the face. That is terrible. I never said things like that when I was younger or drunk. There is no excuse for him being a dbag.

  242. This blog post just broke my heart! I’m so sorry this happened to your daughter. The best part of Mardi Gras is that it’s for everyone to enjoy. I hope that your daughter sees how much everyone cares and that this helps in her healing process. Again, my sympathy to your daughter and your family. Please let us all know if there is anything we can do to help.

  243. I am sure that Amy and Charlotte are just overwhelmed with replies and the outpouring of offers to make this right for this precious baby girl. If any of you are serious about a parade or any sort of event in this angel’s honor to help restore her spirit, I want to offer my time and energy to help coordinate such a miracle! I see a lot of offers being made and I am willing to help make this happen if some of you want to get in touch. I would love to see her the Queen of her own parade! I can host a website forum for the planning, etc. Get in touch with me at JaynDeaux@gmail.com.

    Amy/Charlotte, if you need anything at all (help with emails, help gathering offered treats for baby girl, help monitoring posts, etc) let me know.

    I am anxiously compelled to grab some reigns here :)

    • Jayne, thanks so much. One thing you can do is help me watch for mean or negative comments so they can be deleted. This is my blog and I will not tolerate asshattery. :) I will email you my private addy.

  244. How about people being courteous and respectful no matter where they are just because they are decent human beings?! There is never an excuse to act like a jackass no matter what you tell yourself. I’m appalled that you even find the behavior acceptable. What kind of disgusting human being are you?!?! I would LOVE to give you a grasp of reality…

  245. It infuriates me that any person, intoxicated or not, would act this way to any human being, let alone a child. Your daughter deserves her own private parade! I hope that she can again find the joy in Mardi Gras and will try again to go to parades next year.

  246. You’re piece was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. I can fully understand the pain of consoling your child when someone has hurt them, but to destroy a dream is far worse. I am not a devote catholic/Christian like I was raised to be, but I have definitely said a prayer for your family and will continue to do so. I truly hope that your daughters love for mardi GRAS returns and that she realizes how amazing she really is.
    -with love from Lafayette-

  247. I can’t say anything the commenters before me haven’t already said, but I am so truly sorry you had to deal with such a lowlife on a night that should have been so special. Take solace in knowing that you are raising a bright, sensitive young woman, as opposed to the thoughtless, insensitive lout that “gentleman” is turning out to be. May he someday know the pain he caused you and your daughter and feel the shame and regret he should.

  248. I quit taking my son to parades when they started shooting at floats! My heart aches for your daughter. Perhaps it would be better to buy a spot in the stands where it’s safer and no pushing drunk idiots. He’s the retard not her. Behavior like that makes me sick. Best of luck to you and your daughter if you try again, we gave up on Mardi Gras 5 years ago and opt for camping–Gatlinburg is amazing in winter….

  249. Amy, my heart is broken for your sweet girl – please give her a hug for me! And major props to Muses and to all others who’ve shown love and offered support to her. Your humanity and generosity in the face of this senseless cruelty remind me why New Orleans is my favorite city in the world.

    I didn’t get to go to any parades this year (recovering from illness and surgery), but some friends are bringing me throws from Mobile’s Mardi Gras. I’d be honored to send some things to your daughter – email me at dirtrdblues at gmail dot com.

  250. This makes me hurt so badly for her. As someone with sensory issues, I know how tough Mardi Gras can be ANYWAY. Much less with that type of behavior. You have my LOVE! Next year we should all band together and create a safe barrier.

  251. I’m not sure how to respond, only to say that I’m praying not only for you and your daughter, but for those drunken fools, too! I’d like to think that I could have been as gracious to them as you were – but, I’m really not so sure.
    I thank God for Moms and Dads like you, and for our special kids, who show us so much more about the good side of people than we see in a lot of other “regular” folks!

  252. Oh, sweetie! You are beautiful-inside and out!

    I can relate to how you feel and believe those who say harsh words are sad and lonely people. Their mean words are a projection of how they feel about themselves!

    I’ve read that the Muses are going to give you and your mama a private parade today!

    Go and enjoy and remember…..YOU are special, wonderful and always beautiful!

    Mama: you are an amazing writer. Thank you for sharing this. It’s gone viral (!!) and perhaps the next time someone thinks about saying something mean or out of context, they will think twice! xox

  253. I don’t know if any of us can make it to the Muses den, but Krewe of Chewbacchus will be sending her some of our throws and I will send her my poster as soon as it comes in the mail.

  254. Alcohol does strange things to people, mostly it makes them an ugly person in their actions and their words. Unfortunately, most college kids do not learn that lesson until they witness something like this when they have their own children. Then they are surprised people can be that way not even remembering that they once acted the same way. The only advice I have is that “God never sleeps and he sees all things.” God will make things right and you may never see his punishment, but know that God will handle everything.

  255. I was very upset when I read this story. Then I read through the comments by these young people. You guys are great. I’m sorry this little girl encountered a complete idiot. But out of this has come some greatness. I hope this changes her mind about going back to the parades. God bless you all.

  256. I whole-heatedly invite you down to Houma for a Mardi Gras parade or two! One of my former students, who has Asbergers, is a Mardi Gras fanatic. As soon as we return from Christmas break he begins praying for good weather for the parades :) Houma has a family atmosphere and very few college kids as they stay in Thibodaux for the parades there. I would also encourage you to attend Family Gras. My heart breaks for your sweet daughter! I am the coordinator for our school’s “Spread the Word to End the Word” day and I abhor the use of the “r” word. My prayers are with you and your sweet baby!

    • Re: “This post made my heart heavy. The comments made it sing.” My sentiments exactly. The TRUE nature of people comes to light within these posts, not the insensitive actions of that group of college kids, the one guy in particular. May God wrap His arms around your daughter and bring her comfort…and, you, peace in knowing others truly do care about her well-being.

  257. Is there an address that we can send cards/throws to?

    Your daughter should never feel unwanted.
    I think all of New Orleans wants to do something for her.
    Please let us.

  258. So sorry to hear of this awful incident. Certainly hope all the positives which result will outweigh the negatives and that she will once again find joy in Mardi Gras.

    Last year at Muses, my daughter (then 12) had the experience ruined for her by some rowdy and drunk college-aged partiers. They pushed in front of us, despite our having been at the sidewalk’s edge for hours. There was some rough back and forth as they had to push back for bands and we did not want to give way from our positions. One jerk who wanted to get more confrontational threw a full drink into the air behind him onto us. It hit my daughter and me full in the faces and all over our clothes. My daughter was so upset! Of course, we had to leave immediately as we were soaking wet. And we did not return to see Muses this year as a result of the incident.

    We are all about “girl power” and Muses had become a favorite of ours. We love the timely themes and how the floats manage to be clever, funny and beautiful all at the same time. Sadly, I doubt that we will return to Muses, and our negative experience pales in comparison to your.

    Fortunately, we have had many more good moments interacting with other parade-watchers!

  259. What happened is horrible and as a mother I know that seeing your daughter upset just crushes you in a way that hurts more than you can say. The response to your story and this post is what makes New Orleans so special. The community taking action to help your daughter and to restore her faith in Mardi Gras is excatly the kind of city that I am proud to call home!

  260. From one SN Mommy to another…. giant huge (((hugs))). We have never been to a parade b/c my daughter has sensitivities to noise and my son is in a wheelchair. But seeing the response from Muses has given me hope that they could both be included have a good time there. Hopefully jerks are few and far between.

  261. I first saw this story yesterday after a fellow facebooker posted it. I reposted it and asked everyone else to repost to in an effort that their “epic” pictures will show up on someone’s feed. I am sitting here in tears over the amount of wonderful responses from Muses and just ordinary people. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your sweet daughter, she is not a retard, but a wonderful gift from Heaven. Even though I think I’ve only seen Muses once, they are now my favorite group of ladies! You are an inspiration to us all because you remained calm.

  262. After reading this story I thought to myself “what is wrong with people now-a-days” and then I read a handful of comment (yes, only a few; I too have a special needs child… he’s much younger and requires lots of attention)… Anyway, after reading a few comments it was nice to see there are still kind people in this world who would be willing to go so far out of their way to right one persons wrong!
    Amazing! Absolutely amazing!

  263. Wow, thanks so much for sharing your story. I really don’t know much about Mardi Gras, shoes, muses, etc. but I am so inspired by the kindness, care, and concern shown in the comments. I hope this will be a case of good overcoming bad in the end!

  264. I am in tears, not at the incident (which was bad enough), but by the show of support for this special little girl. I want her to know that autism just means she thinks differently, not better or worse – just different. I wish I could attend the proposed parade (I live in Florida). I just think how awesome it would be for a small parade to be held for her and her friends in the community like her. A chance for these kids and their parents to enjoy a gathering without twerps running around. I hope she gets her glee back.

  265. I hope this story goes viral. Post it everywhere. People need to realize what their doing to others with their insensitive comments to impress their peers or just because their too ignorant & drunk to care. My heart hurts too, and if I would have been around I would have given them a piece of my mind. That young man one day might have a child with special needs & maybe than he will reflect on that day years ago when he broke a child’s heart. Praying for peace & comfort for this precious little girl & her beautiful momma. Can’t imagine her pain. ;(

  266. I have crying reading this. Crying with sadness for the pain your daughter is going to & crying with anger at the sheer stupidity & insensitivity of this drunk kid who has ruined what was your daughter’s favorite time of year. I’m a Muse & was on Float #3. It breaks my heart knowing all this was going on in front of me.

    I have a beautiful shoe that I was saving for just the right person & I would love for your daughter to be the owner of it as well as a bag full of all our best throws from this year. Please email me @ jeraines@gmail.com & let me know where I can send everything.

    I also want your daughter to know that it is amazing people like her that get me in the carnival mood & make me excited for the faces I will see on the parade route. She is my inspiration. Please let her know that & please tell her what good & come from a horrible situation. This outpouring of love & goodwill this terrible act has brought forth is the true spirit of Mardi Gras & the city of New Orleans.

    • Of course, Charlotte got him :) Oh, what compels people to comment negatively on a post and replies boasting so much LOVE!? This entire page is so full of LOVE that even the “ass-hattery” can’t bring the spirit down. To those who try, I say “Neener Neener!” Yes, my thumbs are in my ears and my tongue is protruding from my pie-hole :)

  267. I am a 22 year old recent college graduate myself born and raised in new orleans and haven’t been to mardi gras in 2 years because I can’t stand how other people my age act on the parade routes. My heart aches for your little girl but I’m a big believer in karma and that dude will get what he deserves.

  268. We were at Muses as well, I was in tow with my 6 year old and 11 month old. We were also surrouunded by a group of college guys who had a few too many drinks…. However, each of them were considerate to me and my family. One almost knocked me and my 11 mth old down…I politely asked him and his friend to switch spots and they were very apologetic. I wish I would have been faced with your group and you with mine. There is no excuse for anyone to act that way. God does not sleep! Please tell your little angel that we are all DIFFERENT and that is what is so special about each and every one of us! Hugs to you both

  269. I would love to help provide security for you & your daughter. No one should have to experience anything like that, especially a child. I know how the college kids @ parades can be. Every time I bring my son out there, I fear that we’ll have a similar experience. My heart goes out to you, and I hope your daughter finds the spirit again for next year.

  270. Your story brought many tears to my eyes. Although I am not a member of Muses, I am a member of the Krewe of Tucks. My “specialty” throw for my friends (believe it or not,) is a small plunger that is decorated, glittered and bedazzled! I would love to make one for your daughter in the hopes that it will put her back into the Mardi Gras spirit. I would also like to make her a special cup that will be personalized to her name and favorite colors! Please feel email me so that I make get the details so I can get started on these projects for your daughter! My email address is cander325@yahoo.com.

  271. Clearly, you do not have children. She restrained herself FOR her child. Responding in a mama bear way (which I’m certain she wanted to) , would only have upset her daughter more!
    She is hardly “exploiting her daughter for attention” by bringing this issue to the attention of those who can help to change it. I also must add, it’s funny you are so sensitive to comments about college kids, since clearly you aren’t one of them

  272. I was so sad when I read your blog post this morning after a friend of mine shared it on Facebook. Then I scrolled down and read all the great comments. This has lifted my spirits a bit.

    I have 3 children: an NT daughter and 2 boys with autism..so I felt your pain as acutely as if it were my own as I read your post. The urge to reach out and smack that drunken man-boy must have been intense, so I commend your ability to retain your dignity and help your daughter in that situation. I hope good things come out of this event and your daughter is able to learn, heal and move on—and I really hope she gets to see Muses from a really excellent spot next year :)

  273. This mothers restraint is very admirable. I surely would have been inclined to snatch that over grown foreigner by his neck and let him know what a real New Orleanian thinks of his ignorant behavior. Also, any good by stander, such as myself, should have injected there intolerance for this behavior and forced them to leave the area!

  274. I’m so sorry to hear of how disrespectful those boys were to you and your daughter, what a huge disappointment! Thanks for sharing your story and in truth your heart. I have a son with asperger’s syndrome and I know the unique combination of heartbreak, joy, and personal growth they bring into our lives. Your story is heartbreaking to read yet so healing at the same time to see the beautiful outpouring of generosity by so many people. Sometimes I think they are on the planet with us to open up people’s eyes and hearts to what’s really important and how to respect everyone and embrace the great differences we all have to really expand our knowledge and joy in living. Hugs to you and your daughter and I hope she somehow grows from the experience and turns something ugly like this into something beautiful like new friendships and the realization that there are so many more kind people in the world than that selfish and uncaring group of immature and ignorant college students.

  275. Im disgusted…my son is Spectrum with sensory issues and people can be such idiots….all I can say is that Karma will come around on those losers….I hope your little one has a great time with the Muses…

  276. How dare you claim she is a bad mother and made a poor decission to avoid a conflict. You would probably be the one who would be arrested not the scum that caused the true injustice. I am proud of my city for their great responses to this story, less you comment of course, and I truly hope that Muses and other parades can come together to make a special parade for this little girl and other children alike. I would glad donate to this cause and I hope that when you do have children you have the maturity that this woman has shown.

    • The best thing to do is ignore the negativity and ignorance. We all feel as strongly as you do that Amy did the right thing removing her and her daughter from the situation. If we provoke the negativity with debate, they will continue to post their mindless drivel :) xoxo

  277. Sounds like such a wonderful outpour of love and support for your little girl!!!! I am hoping and praying for both of you that something wonderful comes out of this terrible and unnecessary behavior!

  278. Pingback: Krewe of Muses Offers Touching Carnival Coda | NOLA DEFENDER

  279. I hope your daughter will get over all of this and with your love and God’s support y’all will be fine! So sorry for the way these idiots acted! I wish I was there how fun it would have been to make them punk boys eat there cigarettes and wear there beer! And then each one march up to talk an apologize! Sorry I was not there! God Bless your daughter and you always!

  280. Charlotte, thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. As the mother of two sons with learning differences, I’ve seen them hurt and temporarily lose confidence when teased or bullied by thoughtless people. It is heartbreaking. What do you, Amy, and Amy’s daughter think would be the best way to help heal this horrible wound? Throws and parade swag are wonderful symbols of the compassion and love those of us riding or marching feel for Amy and her daughter. I hope there is something more we can do, although I’m at a loss. I’m going to pass your blog entry on to NOLA.com and my own marching troupe to see if they have any thoughts on increasing awareness that insensitive behavior must not be tolerated.

  281. Much to my husband’s dismay, I still have all of my shoe decorating supplies (and lots of undecorated shoes!) out. I would love to invite your daughter to come glitter and decorate shoes with me. Please contact me at nwillis@chnola.org.

  282. That is horrible of that guy. I have a younger sister with downsydrome who I’m very protective over and I’d be furious if someone ever did that to her! Some people just don’t consider others feelings before they speak. Tell her to keep her head up high and dont let anyone get her down! She’s too beautiful to be sad!! :)

  283. This poignant letter reminds me of why I no longer go to parades. I have had too many encounters with out-of-towners who were loud and downright frightening in their behavior to me. These experiences have cast a shadow on parade-going for me. The only parades I attend now are Barkus, and on Carnival Day, I go to Elks/Tucks on Napoleon. Both are predominantly families. I hope I don’t sound like a heretic. I do enjoy the season, just not the parades due to my past bad encounters.

  284. Oh sweetheart! I am so sorry there are horrible, disgusting people in the world. I, myself, had a rough morning involving a disgusting angry person. I was leaving the drive thru at Starbucks and I turned (I guess too close) to another vehicle waiting in line at Starbucks. I know my car and I know I was not going to hit her car, but she started cursing me out and flashed the middle finger at me. So when I put my car in reverse , put my window down and asked her what I did to deserve that, she waved me off and said “just go”. And at that point, the drive thru line moved forward and a man in a truck honked at me and was angry because he wanted me to move so he could enter where I was exiting. To make a long story just a little shorter, for some reason people are very angry these days. It’s sad. I pray for them. And even though I am a nurse in the ICU, and save peoples lives, they are still angry and mean to me. :( we have to pray for the world we live in. I’m so sorry your daughter had to deal with someone so ignorant and foolish. Maybe one day soon she will be able to let it go and enjoy herself again.

  285. My heart broke and I cried at the insensitivity of the “grown” young people towards this child. I hope they read this or someone shows them so they feel ashamed of what they did (I hope they’re capable of shame). Horrible Bullies! I pray she loves and believes in the fun & spirit of Mardi Gras again. She’s wonderful & special and never let her forget that. Sending Prayers and Blessings for her and her family who have helped to make her a happy child.

  286. This is the most heart aching story I have read. I work in the Tulane Athletic Department and would like to her and her family to any game they want this year. Take them on the field or court, introduce her to our student athletes, coach’s, throw out a first pitch, etc. I can be reached at jpotuto@tulane.edu.

  287. Amy – I wanted to add that I am sure I can get my fellow float 22 Muses to come decorate shoes with your daughter.

  288. This brought tears to my eyes…I danced with Gris Gris Strut Dance Troupe in Muses, and I wish we had a chance to dance for your beautiful daughter. She sounds like an amazing girl…she also reminds me quite a bit of my wonderful little sister, who had Down’s Syndrome and passed away 3 years ago at 17. My sister always looked forward to the Mardi Gras parades every year, and she had little rituals and things she did every night too…I love the idea of the gratitude list. My sister was the light of my life in a way that probably no “normal” person could have been. At first my family saw her condition as a challenge, but we quickly came to realize that it was more a gift than anything. There were times when people said or did things that hurt her feelings in public, and yes, plenty of insensitive, drunk philistines during mardi gras, and I wanted to chase after them and say my piece to them, but my first priority was always comforting her and making her experience a good one. It’s amazing the different kind of responses you get from people! Some are sweet and make room, giving beads and toys and others…well, they’re the kind that I believe karma will get worse than we ever could. I am glad the Muses Krewe is doing something today to show your daughter that mardi gras is for everyone.

    I’m a professional artist and I would be honored if you guys would allow me to make her a special costume for next year’s Muses–email me at simberry84@yahoo.com. Or perhaps a special mardi gras mural for her room? Anything I can do to brighten up her life. Take care and be strong! You are not alone.
    Simonette

  289. As a Mom of two high-functioning adolescents on the spectrum, this touched my heart. My kids chose not to go to any parades this year at all, due a great deal to issues like this. Usually when they do go, we go to the designated alcohol free zone, which isn’t too bad, but the noise is still difficult to endure. There is no such thing as a quiet Mardi Gras:)

  290. As someone who grew up in a Krewe family I am pissed. As one of the founders of The Krewe of Chartreuse I place my marching club at your disposal. I am conferring with our membership to see what we can do to help bring the magic back for this little one. Please email me at george.williams.iv@gmail.com and let me know what I can do.

  291. Heart-wrenching. Wish her and her daughter the best, and the miscreant(s) a painful comeuppance. I wish there was a better way to separate the lower-key from the wild at Mardi Gras. It’s such a waste for the former to not be able to appreciate it fully.

  292. She’s beautiful and she shouldn’t let anyone make her feel different. Reading this broke my heart and I wish I could just give her a big Hug and tell her that she’s a beautiful person inside and out and she shouldn’t give that loser that kind of satisfaction. Don’t let stupid people change your views on everyone and destroy your love for mardi gras

  293. “A night that he had probably already forgotten by the next morning”

    Though I was never nearly as obnoxious as this guy, I did some moderately distasteful things in my late teens / early 20s. While it’s true that I didn’t really care all that much at the time, and pretty much forgot about these incidents mere moments after they occurred, I began to recollect these memories years later, and felt so ashamed about some of them.

    So while this jerk probably indeed does not care at all about what he has done, it’s a safe bet that 10 or 15 years from now, when he has presumably moderated his behavior, matured, found a wife, and has started a family, he will realize the extent of the pain he inflicted on this precious little girl and will want nothing more than to go back in time to prevent it.

    It may be little consolation to you now, but his punishment will consist of an intense feeling of anguish and regret every time he looks down at his own daughter, hoping and praying that she is never subjected to the same kind of unfathomably harsh treatment that he so casually dealt to your daughter.

    • So it appears that the Muses held a parade today in Emily’s honor. That is phenomenal! Bless you all! I know many of us would have loved to have attended had we known this was happening, but what’s important is that Emily got her parade <3

  294. Wow. A friend just sent me the link to NOLAFemmes, and this posting. I have 3 daughters. My youngest is 14 and autistic, with learning delays. (My oldest is a freshman at Tulane.) I fully understand where you are coming from. When your daughter verbalized her frustration at being seen as “different”, it not only brought me to tears, but raised the hair on my neck. I’ve been keeping a blog since January when I started out on an educational (and emotional) journey with my youngest. Just this week I wrote about an episode of shaken confidence and self esteem. My daughter broke down crying asking WHY she has to be “diff’rent”, WHY she has to have these learning problems. It’s a constant struggle between wanting to push her to participate in life, (going to parades, movies, family outings), and keeping her close and safe and always protected. We can’t keep them sheltered. But affirming to them that they are amazing and beautiful people, with much to offer, will hopefully ease the harsh reality that *sometimes* they will encounter awful individuals.

  295. Wow, I may not be autistic, but I know how she feels. I was made fun of for years because of my weight . I’m so sorry to see that happen to a girl so young . Just no that that man may be going through something or may just be an all around bitter person. I’m so sorry to see her Mardigras ruined.

  296. Children are so special…this I know because God says ‘Whatever you do to the little ones, you do to Me’ I have a mentally ill son. He is a grown man now. He graduated high school, was named Student of the Month, enlisted in the Louisiana National Guard and graduated from Basic and AIT:) Then he started getting sick. We just celebrated his 40th birthday just yesterday!! I know how cruel peole can be. He doesn’t act or dress like most people. At one point I had to notify a very large company’s home office that if he was made to feel like a thief once more, we would meet in a court of law!!! He IS sick but he is NOT a thief! This type of thing is what I have dealt with for almost 20 years now and my prayer is that God gives me strength to forever be here for him. Give your precious daughter a big hug from my family and me. God will eventually deal with this man and all those like him:) God bless!

  297. I understand this mother’s heart. My son is autistic he is 31 and understands people just are not nice sometimes. People should have to walk a mile in her shoes. I am so sorry this happened. I hope she sees that even though people can hurt you don’t let go of your dreams. Figure out a way to make Muses happen for her next year. As for the ugly people who would not give a little space to a little girl get a life.

  298. The College Kids on the St. Charles route have completely gotten out of hand. They like to gather between Constantinople and Amelia Streets. We have complained to NOPD, LA State Police, and State Capital Police. They usually come in and clean it up, but the kids simply return an hour or so later.

    I suggest that they begin to do under age drinking checks, and take the offenders to a holding tank if they are caught. This needs to occur for an entire weekend or even an entire Mardi Gras. Until this occurs we will continue to have issues with them.

    I truly wish that I would have been there to hear that College kid make those comments. I might have gone to jail, but they would have as well.

    I hope that you will bring your daughter to the Upper Magazine Street portion of the route next year. (Upper Line street). I will personally guarantee that you will not have any problems with any drunk college kids at that location.

    Kudos to Muses for bringing her to their den so she can see what the parade looked like. Tell her that she is special and always welcomed to Mardi Gras!

  299. I am a Native of New Orleans and a rider in thoth. It fuels me to hear stories of these morons along the route.If you let me know where your family stands, we
    will shower her with throws mammy! Do not let this incident deter you from the route, and Mardi gras in general. We ride and spend lots of money for people just like your family. Don’t let us down next year. Give her a big hug for us!

  300. Hey next year I want to join you guys for mardi gras It would make my day and if anyone gets in the way I’ll tell them to politely move let me know thanks

  301. So sorry those drunk jerks ruined her Mardi Gras…to be perfectly honest it is jerks like that who have kept me from wanting to come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and why I prefer Jazz Fest (don’t get as many drunk jerks). Hope the feedback helps and she decides to give it another try next year. Perhaps you can get a larger group to join you and they can help to keep jerks like that away.

  302. Honey you are beautiful and dont ever forget that. Kids like that grow up to be jerks their whole lives and never get far in life. You on the other hand will always be a bright star in the sky. Know thus honey had I’ve been standing next to you I’ve would had make sure that you had your own space in the front to see your parade and that guy would have wished he never said what he called you. Well take care keep your head up high and maybe on year I can stand next to you with my family and have a good Mardi GRAS.

  303. This breaks my heart. I have an autistic/aspergers child and this should NEVER happen to these special children. I admire you for not beating the crap out of that guy! I’m not sure I would have had that kind of self control!

  304. Oh, sweetie! You are beautiful-inside and out!
    WOW! I don’t for the life of me understand how people like this “frat boy” can be SOOOO Atrocious, Wicked, Coldblooded, Demoniac, Evil, Satanic, Devilish & Inconciderate to a special angel like this little girl!!! God will be his judge in the end!! He will get what he deserves for ruining this beautiful little girls Favorite parade!! Keep your head up sweetie!! :)
    Give her BIGGG hugs and kisses!!!!

  305. That makes me so angry. I wish we could make that guy feel as terrible as he made her feel. Mardi Gras should be a time and place where everyone, EVERYONE, feels accepted. That’s what it’s all about. One big, fun party for everyone. No one excluded, and no one singled out for their differences. It’s really a shame that one guy who apparently doesn’t know anything about the tradition ruined it for her. I’ll pray for her that next year that sparkle will return to her eyes and she’ll forget all about it.

  306. I am so sorry your daughter had to endure this. No child should have to face stuff like this. She should be treated just like any other child and I commend you on not saying anything because I honestly can’t say I would have done the same thing. I will keep your baby girl in my prayers and hope that through this next year she is able to regain her Mardi Gras spirit back.

  307. I am disgusted to hear how awful this boy was to your daughter. I’m a Tulane student who came to New Orleans because of the wonderful people here (like all the ones commenting on this post) and also because of the opportunity to volunteer with children of all kinds in one of the most unique, wonderful cities in the world. All the kids I work with could talk about for weeks prior to Mardi Gras was how excited they were for the parades – high-functioning or otherwise – and I’m appalled to hear how this wonderful time was ruined for your daughter. I know that you have had many offers for throws from various parades, but if you want any more, I have a whole group of Tulane students who would be more than happy to donate their things, shoes and all. Many of us are trying our hardest to spread the values of tolerance and acceptance around our campus. In fact, the Housing office (of which I am a part) is putting on a “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign regarding the R-word during the month of March, and we hope that it begins to curtail its widespread usage throughout our campus.

    The reason that all the things that make NOLA so special continue to work is because of the mutual love and respect that residents of this city display for each other. I hope that we can spread that respect to all people in all parts of this city, including college campuses. Please give my regards to your daughter and let her know that she is a wonderful, unique, fabulous person with a special perspective on the world, just like the city she lives in. I hope that this one bad experience doesn’t ruin the magic of Mardi Gras for her, and she knows that for every jerk out there who is trying to tear her down, there is a whole community of people waiting to lift her back up. I applaud Muses for taking a stand against this horrible event, and it makes me even more proud and grateful to be member of the NOLA community, even if it’s only for four years.

  308. IM FROM LOUISIANA, 67 YRS. OLD. I COULDN’T GO TO THE MARDI GRAS THIS YR. IM LIVING IN FL…IT BREAKS MY HEART TO HEAR THINGS LIKE THIS IS HAPPENING..I THINK THAT WHEN THESE KIDS COME TO OUR CITY TO ENJOY WHAT WE HAVE TO OFFER THEY SHOULD RESPECT AND TRY AND HELP ANYONE THAT NEEDS HELP..I KNOW ALCOHOL HAD A LOT TO DO WITH WHAT HAPPENED BUT NO EXCUSE FOR THEIR ACTIONS..I THINK NEW ORLEANS SHOULD NOT LET ALCOHOL ON THE PARADE ROUTES OR WHERE THE FAMILY AREA WITH CHILDREN . IT’S PEOPLE WHO COME TO THIS CITY THAT HURT THE ONES LIVING HERE.IT ALSO MAKES US LOOK BAD . GOD BLESS THIS CHILD AND PLEASE LET HER KNOW SHE IS SPECIAL AND SHOULD BE PROUD AND HOLD HER HEAD UP HIGH BECAUSE IT’S PEOPLE LIKE THESE KIDS WHO HAVE NO RESPECT FOR OTHERS THAT END UP THE ONES PAYING FOR WHAT THEY DO IN THE END.AND BELIEVE ME IT’S NOT PRETTY. .

  309. I am so sorry this happened to yall, as a native New Orleanian and mother of a young son I offer love and empathy. So excited for her that our wonderful Muses have stepped up. I know many of these ladies and they are an amazing organization. I hope this gets the attention of city officials so they can realize the problems that are happening on the routes. We were at Jefferson and Magazine on Saturday morning with our ladder behind the folks standing. Lots of great people of all ages having fun. About midway through Mid-City a group of college boys, one in a bear hat walked through with a ten foot ladder set up in the middle of the street and proceeded to curse loudly while three of them were hanging off the ladder, a safety hazard on so many levels. All the men around us sort of circled the families, creating a safety zone. It was hard to tune them and impossible not to keep glancing over in case something happened. They turned a beautiful gathering of strangers into a tense group. You know what? The floats totally ignored them, some riders contorting in funny ways to be sure to NOT give them anything. The crowd shared good laughs over that and after awhile they took their ladder down and left. But the police, who have moved my ladder when it was an inch too close, really should have dealt with it.
    Hope her special day today heals the heartbreak, can’t wait to see the story and if anyone knows who that guy in the bear hat was…well I’d at least like to see him publicly shamed and tell his Momma what he did!

  310. I observed drunken college students throwing trash into tubas, harrassing
    the band members, and ***stealing*** bags of beads from women on the muses floats. This particular group was right at 4th and St. Charles, and were loudly proclaiming they were from Tulane, and how they thought what they were donig was hilarious. One Muses rider tried to get the police to remove one of the young men from the parade route because he nearly jumped ON the float to steal her bag of throws. These people were brutish, cruel, and frightening in the cold disconcern for people, esp. children around them. Their foul mouths and lewd gestures were so inappropriate, toward flambeau carriers, bands… everyone involved. It’s heartbreaking to see these bad apples out there, so selfishly trashing such a celebration of beauty. I’m sure if Tulane were aware of their off-campus activities, things would not go well for them upon their return to campus.

  311. I find it incredibly sad, how any one can say these hurtful things to an innocent child. She isn’t a retard (HATE that word), she isn’t a freak, and she IS special. I hope that person (term used loosely) had an absolutely awful hangover. I firmly believe in Karma and the Golden Rule. One day he will face the same treatment he so kindly (sarcasm) dished out. Let’s hope he takes it with as much grace as this child who lost her dreams that night.

  312. I’m so glad to hear that Muses took a bad situation and attempted to make it a little better. Unfortunately, the not-so-nice memory will stay with your daughter & impact her way of thinking about others for a very long time. I too am the mother of an 11 y/o daughter in the 6th. grade who is a high-functioning autistic. Actually, all 3 of my daughters fall under the umbrella of the autism spectrum disorders . To protect my girls from situations like the one your family has experienced, I usually bring my girls to the parades in Slidell. Slidell parades are way smaller and very family oriented. My 11 y/o also loves the fact that she gets to be like everyone else at parades, “a little off, but in a good way” as she puts it… Maybe one day, a parade organization will decide to be brave and educate & address the lives of those affected by autism & bullying. Maybe one day, there will be designated stands/sections for families of kids & adults with autism throughout the parade routes in New Orleans. Some people fail to realize that you do not need a very noticable symptom/device like a wheelchair or a hearing aid or an oxygen tank to require accommodations. Some people fail to realize that a futile word like “retarted” can leave a very, long lasting, negative impact on a child that works so hard to blend into “our” world. From one autistic mom to another, I feel your pain of the bad days & your joy of the good days. I’m happy that your family has received the opportunity to experience a great day, thanks to the kind krewe of Muses.

  313. I have been to Mardi Gras parades since before I was one. I rode on Mardi Gras day from age 3 – 15. I have 2 daughters and on Mardi Gras day we stay home. I love the parades and so do my girls but some people just do not know how to respect others. My heart hurts for your daughter, she should have never been treated that way. I am sure those college kids will feel the same way one day when they have children of their own. I hope your daughter can learn to forgive those people because they are the idiots not her and hopefully she will try Mardi Gras again next year and be able to enjoy it again!

  314. I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your daughter. There isn’t, much to sugarcoat. Ignorant and rude people will always be throwing that word around. I am recently conduction fundraiser by selling shirts to promote awareness of the miss use of the r-word. I’m a high school student just trying to make a change. The shirts say “the only r-word we should say: respect”. You have plent of support in trying to ride the world of the r-word!

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  316. I am so sorry this happened to you and your daughter. I have a 7 year old boy who suffers the same way your daughter does. No one can understand the emotional roller coaster we deal with everyday because people just don’t understand they are normal and just want to feel normal. I think everyone should read the book Rules. My 9 year old daughter did and she now understands and loves the fact that her brothers normal is not her normal and everyone is different and that is what makes you who you are. I hope you and your daughter continue to do what she loves and likes. Never let anyone change that.

  317. Please let her know that this individual is a moron and does not realize how beautiful and wonderful your daughter is. People like that ruin a lot of things for everyone. Mardi Gras is my favorite time as well and your daughter should be able to enjoy it too. I hope next year she has a blast and is able to forget about this one mans ingnorant words.

  318. So sorry you and your daughter had to endure all that. One day, hems going to have kids and one of them is going to be picked on and he’s going to remember what he did to your daughter. It will be then that he realizes, he is sorry for the horrible thing he did. As for your daughter, keep her around loving, good hearted people everyday and hopefully she will soon forget that day.

    “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” I live by that.

  319. Amy, I do not have beads or shoes. What I do have is a solemn vow that if anything like this were to ever happen and I witness it, you will not be the only person to stand up for your child. I’m not pointing fingers or trying to stir up an argument, but it genuinely upsets me that you didn’t seem to have other parade goers step up in your defense. I NEVER allow people to treat others this way and just stand around quietly. There is a tactful and tastefull way to handle the situation. Let’s all stand together and not allow people to behave this way! God bless you and your daughter!!

  320. Someone should bring this punk to the zoo give him a beer and dress him in mardi gras beads and raw meat and toss him in with the lions. What a tool.

  321. As an out of town Tulane student I am appalled at what happened to you and your daughter. I did not catch much this year but I did get a necklace from Muses with a shoe on it as well as a shoe bracelet that I would love to give your daughter. My email is alex.stone@aol.com. Although this year was only my second Mardi Gras the thing I love most about is the togetherness and neighborly feel. My heart goes out to your daughter and I pray that she gives Mardi Gras a second chance.

  322. I’m so sorry that you and your daughter had to endure such cruel treatment. It’s so sad that some people are so mean spirited and uncaring. I read that the Krewe of Muses is opening their den for her this morning. I hope you guys have fun and I hope her love of Mardi Gras can be restored. I have a close family member who is severely mentally and physically challenged, and I know how unfeeling others can be. All the best to you both!

  323. Emily! You are a beautiful, intelligent child. The man that said ugly words to you is a very sick person inside and out. And he knows who he is. He has no dreams. There are more nice people in your world than ugly. God made you special, just as he made every person on this earth special. We all have dreams. Without dreams, there is no hope. As hard as it is, that man that was so ugly towards your mother and you needs prayers. Pray for him so much that he will want to hide and run away in shame and ask God to forgive him. You are an angel Emily. You are the intelligent young lady who knows what is right and what is wrong. You were right to be there and enjoy a beautiful parade. The Muses performed that parade just for someone like you. That is what the parade is for, to have fun and enjoy, and the masqueraders love to see the happiness, not ugliness. That drunk person was wrong to be there and act as ugly as he did toward you two beautiful ladies, mother and daughter. He should not have been drunk. He gets drunk because he does not like the person he is. He can’t respect others, because he does not know how to respect himself. The Muses have done an awesome act of kindness. They are honoring you, beautiful angel, because you and your mother handled the situation in a nonviolent way. You and your mother and daddy are gifts from God to one another first and then to the world. You let your light shine! You keep dreaming, loving, drawing, reading and being your beautiful, happy self. You get out there and show the world your special talents that you have to offer. God bless you and your family. KEEP SMILING, LOVING, DREAMING, CREATING AND BEING THE BEAUTIFUL SPECIAL PERSON YOU ARE. Own your rightful place in this world.

  324. We need people who love this city and it’s culture. Your daughter’s enthusiasm for Muses and Carnival should never have been ruined by someone so ugly. I hope that your trip to the Muses den has helped rebuild what was torn down.

    I’m making an impassioned call to all relatively reasonable New Orleanians reading this. It’s time to take back Mardi Gras from the drunken louts like this guy.

    While on the parade route this year, I witnessed college age kids try and bully and intimidate people who called them on their bad behavior. One kid (a Tulane student) cursed at a woman in front of her kids.

    I enjoy a good time as much as anyone else…lord knows I have acted a fool and still do on occasion, but if people can’t have a good time that is not at the expense of those around them during a community event, then we have an obligation to tell them where to go. This type of thing is our problem and I think it’s time to put a stop to it. Next year, I’m taking back the parade route and I’m looking for volunteers to help.

  325. As a resident of Uptown I see stupid college kid behavior on a regular basis. Many (not all) of the self centered little ‘snowflakes’ act like they are stars of their own personal movie and everybody else is a bit player. Sorry you daughter had to suffer that.

  326. Sweet Amy,
    I’m a 100% Orleanian with a lot of wierd I, just like evrryone else in this crazy world. Your story reached me all the way up here in Shreveport, La where Mardi Gras barely exists, don’t ever let anyone make you feel less than what you are. Don’t give up on Mardi Gras, for it will never let you down.

  327. Pingback: Attn Krewes! This Must Be Rectified, You Don’t Take Carnival Away Form a Child! | HumidCity

  328. As a mother, I know having your child’s heart broken is devastating to bear. We try to make excuses for the idiocy of others as we try to shield little ones of an ugly world. I wonder what this young man would do if he ever had to deal with a special needs child in his own life. I pray that another child will never have to deal with his ugliness. I hope you can restore your daughter’s faith in people. I hope she finds her joy in Mardi Gras once again, and I hope adults come to realize that parades should be about the children not your drunkenness.

  329. As I sit here reading your truly inspiring story through my own years I am reminded how my own daughter diagnosed with ADHD at 6 years old struggles on a daily basis. Thank you so much for sharing. Keep strong as it is us parents who help to navigate these amazing children though this sometimes cruel world. It is ok to cry and different is always better.

  330. Please let your daughter know, this was my first Mardi Gras ever, my experience was and ok one. But for her to be ousted that way is inexcusable on any level. I am truly sorry for any wrong done to her, and I hope her heart will heal of this.

    *As a tear travels from her face
    one tear all will shed
    no one should endure
    the hate of one

    Intolerance breed in ignorance
    is no excuse for the drinking ability
    of one

    May her light shine
    May her heart be whole
    May another year give to acceptance*

    Luv beyond all
    Maia

  331. I am so sorry that man if you can even call that was cruel to your daughter. I have myself dealt with being different as a child. I know how people’s word can scar an individuals soul. I hope one day your daughter will embrace her unique and beautiful soul like I have. Tell her not to give up on things she loves because of some cruel person. Also, people in this world fear people and things they don’t understand. It has taken abit time in life to truly realize that most beautiful people and things in life are the misunderstood ones.

  332. My faith in humanity is completely restored. Wonderful comments from the mother of a son who had been in a wheelchair his entire life. Since the year he got his head knocked over by someone jumping over him to try and catch what was being thrown to him, he has not been to a parade since. Take the offer for a private spot for her so that she doesn’t harbor this pain. I watched it for years in my son, you have a chance to restore her passion. God Bless you and all the people who cared so much.

  333. First of all to those drunken college students and especially the so-called man that made that horrible statement….you should be ashamed and I hope the parents of whomever raised you are embarrassed by what you did. Learn respect and learn everybody is equal under God’s eyes. Be more godlike. Secondly, Amen to the Muses for what they did thank you for restoring her faith in Mardi Gras. Emily, I don’t know you, never met you but if I did one day I would be glad to. You are a wonderful person and thank you for being who you are…Emily’s mother you are a beacon of light on what life should be and how loving parents should be. God Bless you, Emily and the Krewe of Muses!! And Emily we are all weird and I mean that in an awesome way!!

  334. I also have a son with autism and your blog brought tears to my eyes having gone through what you all did many times. I just saw on the news that Muses is giving your daughter a special treat. May she once again be happy and take pride in herself.

  335. Oh My gosh. I have no parade connections, but I would suggest to the riders of next years Muses that they make a spot for your daughter on a float. I hope the love everyone shows her over this will bring her back into the spirit.

  336. People can be so awful. Please tell her not to give up on Mardi gras and that there are people out there that think she is an incredibly special young lady.

  337. What a jerk! You let your beautiful daughter know that she is NOT a retard – she is special and wonderful! I hope this douche-bag didn’t tarnish her opinions of Mardi Gras and the world in general forever :( I’m sure before this she saw the good in everyone & everything and I truly hope this doesn’t change that! God Bless her strong little heart!

  338. My nephew was diagnosed with autism at 2yrs old. These are the things that worry me…encounters with ignorant people. He is a small child now, so when little kids tell him things like “you’re weird” he doesn’t understand and brushes it off. But what about when he gets older? I wish I can protect him from everything but I know I can’t. I am so sad that in this day and age, people still act this way and have no problem being hateful and hurtful. All I can tell myself is that they are are probably miserable in their lives and need things such as alchohol and lashing out at innocent people to make them feel better about their pathetic lives. I hope this young girl realized that there are a lot more people out there that who think she is beautiful and unique. Mardi Gras is definitely a time for everyone to express their creativity and it’s a time for celebrating in harmony with one another, so she belonged there more than these guys deserved to be.

  339. Hmmm, obviously from the drunk guy now sobered up. Poor idea for him to think that Carnival is only for belligerent, vicious people. If children don’t belong at Mardi Gras then it is time to shut it down and send John and his friends to the nastiest, grimmest bar in the French Quarter where they can batter each other with their stupidity and malevolence.

  340. I am in tears right now. My insular, atheistic, cynical and selfish ways are being challenged! I am hopeful that this little girl’s twinkle will return. It would be a perfect example of how hatred and stupidity can be overcome with kindness and love. Ok, I’m crying again. Thanks to you all for stepping up.

  341. Okay, so now I’ve cried twice: once after reading this heartbreaking post and thinking of a little girl’s Mardi Gras spirit being crushed and her feelings hurt, and now again knowing that SO many people have responded with kindness and warmth. I’m not particularly religious but I mean it when I say God Bless Muses for banding together to help restore your daughter’s faith in Mardi Gras. That affection, fun-loving kindness and warm inclusive spirit is what Mardi Gras is supposed to be about. I do so hope that what started out as a tragedy has turned into something positive and magical for your sweet New Orleans girl.

  342. Your story was heartbreaking. I live on the extended route on Bellecastle Street. Please come to our corner of Magazine St. next year. We have a huge group of kids- about 30 ages 4 months to 14. I live in the blue house (921) if you need anything. I have an open house wed- sun for the parades.

  343. Shame on that guy. This makes me sick. Drunk is no excuse for his disgusting actions. He’s the one with the problem, not this little girl. It’s just sad that his drunken stupidity probably damaged a part of this poor child forever. Who’s to say when he has children that they won’t need special care? God does not like ugly! I hope this little girl will realize that she deserves the right to be at a parade just like everyone else. I hope she can go back to Muses next year.

  344. What a heartwarming response from responsible New Orleanian’s and Mardi Gras lovers to such a horrible story. I can only add that camera’s are wonderful defensive weapons and shame is a strong motivator toward positive future behavior. If Amy had taken a photo of the jerk(s) in question, he would be recognized and have to answer to many people, including: his workplace, educational institution, family, friends and New Orleanian’s far and near. Use your camera’s to expose acts of aggression.

  345. As a teacher of children with autism and a twenty three year old I am completely disgusted by this boy. Please tell her that she is not weird but that she is one of the beautiful people chosen to educate people like him my heart is broken for the both of you I hope she knows that she is not retarded as that uneducated jerk says and that she is an amazing person and being different is good, it is what makes the world interesting. I hope she will return to the parade and enjoy it

  346. I am so sorry you had to go thru this normally when someone picks on someone else it is bc they r insecure about them selves nothing is wrong with you sweetie you r an amazing young lady with a bright future who does not have time for insults god bless:-)

  347. Mardi Grass is open to anyone and. everyone. It is a time for all barriers to be non existent. Yes it is a time for parties, food and drinking. But its guys like the one you described that give our great city a bad rap.

  348. It was a pleasure for myself, my daughter a very dear friend from Washington State (this was her first Mardi Gras) and the Captain of our Krewe of NOLA Wenches to meet this extraordinary young lady and her mother Amy today. I am honored and blessed to have if nothing else brought along with many others a smile and rebirth of hope for her about Mardi Gras! To the lovely women of MUSE, my pirate hat tips to you and all you do for all young (and a tad bit older) women out there! Bless you all!

  349. Uptown is a family place, but even if it wasn’t there is no place for mean ugly spirits. Those college kids where wrong and I only hope he remembers and deals with the ugliness inside himself.

    I’m sure you’re working hard to explain things to your daughter. Hopefully she understands that sometimes there are just mean ugly spirited people in this world, to never let them bring a dark cloud over her bright beautiful spirit.

    Do y’all do the St. Paddy’s Day parade Uptown? I’m a rider, please let me know where she’ll be located and I’ll do my best to make sure we throw her something good!

    People may be mean, but the Parades are pure … I hope you can get her excited about Mardi Gras in the future!!

  350. My friends and I will gladly watch the parade with you next year…surrounded by support, no one will jump in front of you, talk with disrespect, or block your view. I am so sorry that a group of jerks and one extremely disrespectful jerk ruined the experience.

  351. Please tell her that someone all the way in Republic of Panama read her story and thinks she is the most amazing girl. Lots of love and light being sent her way.

  352. I’m so sorry that your daughter’s Mardi Gras experience was ruined by the lesser of the human race. People who hurt people are generally “hurt people”. Maybe his Mom never held his hand and took time to take him to a parade. He is the one with deep seated issues obviously not your daughter. If he has any sort of conscience I’m sure he has read the story and realized what agony he has caused and I hope he feels like dirt because of it. Maybe he will seek counseling for his own sense of worthlessness. May God Bless You and your daughter.

  353. where were y;all standing bc we had the same thing happen on fri night in front of new orleans hamburger. bunch of private school college kids with the track team……they were out of control. they totally pushed in front of my 5 (they are little) and 3 were snorting coke. lovely.

    glad your daughter had a positive resolution!

  354. It breaks my heart to know that there are people so ignorant left in this world. The important thing is that your beautiful daughter see herself for her many strengths and not for what some arrogant jerk drunkenly spurted at her. Be sure to tell her to use this as a
    Prime example of what makes her so much better than many people! You’re a wonderful mother! Hugs to your daughter and kudos to you!

  355. What a bunch of idiots, I would have been honored to have your daughter watch the parade with my family!….GOD BLESS!

  356. Thank you for your courage. For yours and for your daughters. All the way over in Houston, you made me once again proud to be from New Orleans. Made me proud that a city will stand up for your daughter and show her what the true meaning of Mardi Gras is. I hope that smile NEVER leaves her face!

  357. myoupe2@gmail.com
    Please send me your address. I will send my throws to you!! I didn’t get very much but I’d LOVE to send it your little girl’s way. I am an out of town-er who visits NOLA a lot because my boyfriend lives there.

  358. It is such a shame you didn’t take that odious creature’s picture and then post it up somewhere to shame him. I am so glad that you and your daughter are receiving so much positive support and hopefully she will understand that all there is so much more love out there than the hate and ignorance shown by that man. That man needs to be shamed and he needs to know that his behaviour is reprehensible. His friends, who did not tell him off, should also be ashamed.

  359. I saw this last night via a friend on FB and it made it sick to think that someone would treat another like this and it just made me even sicker to know that it was a child. I don’t have children but my husband and I have gone to the family parades and to the parades down in the quarter and we have had a great time at both. All it takes is a little consideration people. To the drunken fool who caused all this I hope that you see these posts and I hope that you feel bad for what you did to this little girl and I pray that you want to redeem yourself. You should say you are sorry to both mother and daughter.
    I am so proud to see how the community has gathered around this family cause that is what we do, we take care of our own.
    I saw Amy & Emily on WWLtv this afternoon and I must say she is a beautiful little girl and I hope next year she is back on that parade route with that smile on her face.
    Thanks for sharing this story and to The Krewe of Muses, The 610 Stompers and everyone else who had a part in putting on Emily Gras this morning. You all are special people!!!!!!!!!

  360. Don’t let mean spirits and small minds ruin mardi gras. Your daughter is no doubt a beautiful person, and i hope that she can enjoy mardi gras, and all events without people like that.

  361. It is NOT true that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”! We are learning more and more each day about the damage done by verbal abuse. I hope that you have allowed your daughter to see the words of love and encouragement that have come to her through this forum, so that she can know that while there are many rude and foolish people in the world, there are just as many loving, kind, and caring people.

  362. Omg! You are such a good mom. I don’t know if I could of controlled myself like you. Some people are so hurtful and just truly uninformed. Wishing you and your daughter a much better mardi gras next year!  I wish you all the best on this journey we endure everyday, and I hope people like that one day learn to think before they talk!

  363. As a mother I cannot even imagine the anger you must have felt and I too, like all of these other wonderful people, applaud your restraint. I can’t tell you how many times my blood has boiled being told by some ignorant college kid “way to bring your kid to a Mardi Gras parade” as I am trying to get my child safely through the crowd. This has happened on more occassions than I can even count. There seems to be a rampant misconception that Mardi Gras isn’t for children and families, and is only hosted for the sole purpose of giving immature, ignorant (grown, adult) “kids” a free pass to do whatever they want and say whatever they want. I can’t imagine a Mardi Gras without kids being at parades?? Experiencing Mardi Gras through my daughter’s eyes has made me love it more than I ever did. Everyone is entitled to a good time. Those guys obviously thought they were entitled to a good time, so what gave them the right to take that away from you and your daughter? My heart breaks for your daughter, but I am happy to see that for every one jerk in the world there are countless others who do NOT share his views, and are disgusted by his behavior. The comments on this post are a testament to that, and there are countless others who feel the same way and haven’t posted. I pray that time will heal your daughter’s wounds and she will begin her countdown again next year! This city is blessed to have people like you and your family in it! Thank you for sharing your story, it certainly needs to be heard. What happened to you is unfortunately not an isolated experience. I hope that it reaches those that need to learn respect, compassion, and humility. Thank you again, and God Bless you and your family.

  364. I am so sorry this happened to your sweet daughter. It absolutely breaks my heart. I wish I would have been there to tell that man not to be so cruel and to leave! And to assure your baby that he is a liar and we want her there among us enjoying the parades! It is jerks like him we do not want. Please tell your beautiful girl from the bottom of my heart I am so very sorry that happened.

  365. Wow, that story truly touched me.

    I’m a college student myself, and I know exactly what kind of situation you’re describing. My friends and I go to parades every year, and none of us ever treat others in this sort of way. We are from here and went to Catholic high schools, and we wouldn’t have the heart to say or do such cruel things. No matter how much we have to drink.

    My point is, it’s never acceptable to act in that sort of way regardless of the amount of alcohol one consumes. When we’re at a parade, we make a point to let every child stand in front and we even catch throws just for them. We call it “mardi gras miracles” cause the joy on their faces is worth more than any parade entirely.

    We want nothing more than for kids to have the same carnival upbringing as we did ourselves. The spirit of mardi gras was instilled in us at a young age, and to hear something like this makes me and every true Mardi Gras veteran furious and eager to want to do anything possible to help her. We want her understand that Mardi Gras is full of people just like her: men, women, boys, girls, (autistic or not) who want to experience Mardi Gras just as she was anticipating.

    I wish to God that somehow we all can be of some help to her, and if it takes a group of REAL New Orleanian college kids to prove that guy was a monster and very different from the majority of people, then we’d be glad to help!

    On behalf of all young, partying college students, I apologize for this behavior. It’s totally against what I and all of my friends believe Mardi Gras should be about.

    God bless!

  366. My heart aches for y’all! Please don’t be discouraged from coming out to our Muses parade! We roll for YOU, not the ones who ruin it for others. We can’t control other people’s behavior, only our own. I applaud your ability to take the high road and avoid confrontation. You can’t let these mean people win, though. Please, please continue to enjoy Muses and the rest of Mardi Gras. We need the good people cheering out there!

  367. I am so very sorry your precious daughter had to endure this. I hate that she has lost the one thing that could bring a sparkle to her eye. She’s not even my daughter and I can’t stop the tears after reading your story.
    I lost my husband the week before Thanksgiving last year, from the time we suspected something was wrong and the time he died, was the total of a very fast paced 6 weeks. I to have been a victim of hurtful words and un true gossip, I have also lost the sparkle in my eye….
    I don’t think I will ever have a sparkle in my eyes again, but she’s young and she’s special, not wierd, is the way God made her, if I can help by sending a card or anything, please let me know. It’s a very sad thing when a person loses the sparkle in their eyes…
    Sending prayers, God Bless Your Family…

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, Glynnis. I don’t want to say anything trite, I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. The only good news is that grief really does come in waves, and the little rests between those waves get longer and longer, eventually.
      ((( Glynnis )))

  368. Your daughter sounds bright, charming, sweet, creative, & passionate. Also extremely perceptive. I would be proud of her, & I know you are. The behavior displayed by those “men” is inexcusable & barbaric, in my opinion, & it’s terrible that she had to see it at a young age. But I think she has a wonderful mother, & a rally of support from the city. I wish her the best in everything she does, as well as the greatest happiness, because she deserves it so much. This was a touching, if heart wrenching story. Thank you so much for sharing! It’s affected a beautiful collective response I think. :)

  369. My brother is in fact labeled mentally retarded. He was born in the 60’s and would have been a “normal” little boy had the Dr. delivered him correctly. My parents were told he wouldn’t live past 18. He will be 49 in March. I have never and will never use the word “retard”. Just hateful. My brother is a very special individual and I feel that even though he can not verbally communicate with us, he definitely understands what is being said and done around him. When he hears music he doesn’t like, he covers his ears ;) Smart man haha. I pray this little girl and her family are continually showered with love and support as my brother and family have been. It makes a difference. I’m amazed at the amount of love and kind words being left here… Kind of restores my faith in humanity once again.  

  370. Unfortunately, it’s jerks like those from the parade that give college students a bad rep and I am honestly embarrassed to even be in the same category as them ( I am currently a Freshman at Tulane University). But many of us,at least a bunch of my friends and I, are desperately trying to spread the word about how one word can truly destroy someone’s dreams.

    This is why Tulane’s HRL (Housing and Residential Life) as well as Tulane’s Autism U chapter is sponsoring a Spread the Word, to End the Word pledge drive on campus, March 7th. Further more we are setting up awareness booths in our student center for the days leading up to the national pledge day. We know it’s only a small contribution but at this point it’s all we can do.

    My heart goes out to you and especially your daughter and I truly hope that her love of Mardi Gras and Muses will eventually overpower the stupidity of drunk college students.

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  372. The 500+ comments to this story, with so many beautiful offerings to offset the wrong done to this child, is one of those that restores my faith in the goodness of people.

  373. I am a college student at Tulane, and I want to say how ashamed I am that someone in my own demography inflicted this much pain on your daughter. I want to apologize on behalf of all college students in New Orleans who would never think to say such words and on behalf of those who made such regretful decisions this past weekend. I hope your daughter sees the light of the holiday again and knows deep down that she is beautiful and special.

  374. I hope the Muses are able to bring that sparkle back in this young lady’s eye! She deserves it!

    Also, what an amazing mother! Such restraint in such a difficult situation!

  375. My heart goes out to your family and I am so sorry that something like this happened to her. I don’t know why people have to think that they are better that everyone else. I hope that she gets back into the spirit next year everyone should have the right to have something they truely enjoy, without something like that happening.

  376. Amy and Emily,
    I am so sorry that you had to experience this. I pray that Emily does not let this experience change how she sees herself. I hope that she sees all the love and compassion that people are pouring out to her right now to right this wrong, and that she’s see that not all people are obnoxiously rude and hurtful. I hope she enjoys her private day with the Muses.

  377. This makes me so mad. It’s people like those guys that give young people a bad reputation. I know what it’s like being different all your life too (I was born missing the lower half of my left arm) & I feel the same way about mardi gras that your daughter does [halloween too :) ] and i’m just appalled at the selfishness of people. I don’t wish terrible things on anyone but how dare he think his existence is more important than anyone else’s. Your daughter sounds like an amazing girl. Please give her a hug & tell her that for me. It seems she has a lot of good things coming her way because of you sharing her story, & you both deserve every wonderful thing people are offering.

  378. I’ve been reading all the wonderful people. It restores my faith in people. Hopefully for every bad person in the world there are 10 or more good people to take their place. I hope for your daughter that she gets to enjoy the parades next year. My family participates in the Addis firemans parade in Addis, louisiana. West baton rouge parish. It’s family oriented. Maybe she ould enjoy a smaller parade. Tell her our float is our personal pontoon boat. My thoughts and prayers are for her to know how special she really is.

  379. As an Ex-Pat living in New York I like to say it’s the Poor Boys I miss the most. From the beautifully written post to the amazing responses, you guys remind me that it’s really the people that make the city.

    Thanks

  380. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. I also am a New Orleans blogger and when reading about your daughter it reminds me of my sister. My sister is 9 and is suffering from brain damage from seizures. They way people carelessly say things is hurtful. What hurts the most is knowing you can’t take the childs hurt feelings away after hearing such harsh words. You did an awesome job handling that situation. It’s ashamed to have such awful people ruin a fun family event.

  381. My heart goes out to you and your daughter. I personally take so much offense to what that 20 something said and did because I am a 20 something. Yes I admit I was drinking during Muses, however, I feel that the 20 and 30 something friends I was with that night make extra efforts to be respectful of the children and families around us. Making sure we step back to smoke, keeping the swearing to a minimum and we always give good throws to kids who might not have the same height advantage as us. That being said it makes me angry that anyone would treat you and your daughter like that any day of the year, but especially on a day where she didn’t feel different, because “everyone is a little weird like me.”

    • I agree with you Danielle . I’m in the 20’s something crowd too and we always made sure to watch our language when were around kids, gave them some throws and left our alcohol in the Quarter . I ashamed that the person who did this was in our age group.

  382. it still amazes me how ignorant people are and can be. i have a child with serious health problems. he has been hurt many times by people’s harsh and cruel words and statements. please tell your daughter as i tell my son. GOD made you as you are-special and he loves you so much! your daughter is a blessing. i dont know her but she has a special place in my heart. GOD bless you and your beautiful daughter!

    • I too have a daughter (we’re local) with serious health problems. It’s amazing to me that the city goes out of it’s way to accommodate massive crowds of revelers yet takes no care to accommodate special needs families. We had a terrible time trying to catch the parades this year and only wound up seeing half of one night parade (tried to make it to Muses but failed miserably). It’s impossible to push a child in a wheelchair when there are hardly any sidewalks that are smooth along the parade route (in safe areas) and close parking is a joke. We caught a local parade on the northshore that was feasible and safe, but definitely not as extravagant as the parades in New Orleans. Hopefully next year, they can create a grandstand near Gallier Hall that serves the special needs population of the city’s children.

  383. some people are stupid to feeling of the challenged childern .I hope that one group of idot kids don’t let her change her mind about holidays that mean that much to her . they are the true retard ones

  384. My husband and I recently came to New Orleans to enjoy Mardi Grad festivities. My husband was on our balcony filming and I was having a wonderful time down in the street until an inebritated man told me to leave because he had friends with him who wanted to catch beads and this was their first Mardi Gras. I will not use the language he used because I know how shocking it was and how it made me feel. I was doing nothing wrong and had never had anyone talk to me that way. I wanted to tell him it may have been their first Mardi Gras, but wondered if he would have cared if I told him it could be my last one because I have leukemia. I just bit my tongue and tried not to cry. A little later a strange thing happened. The man apologized and even helped me catch beads. I don’t know what prompted either of his actions. I just know that sometimes people do things that are hard to understand. I do not know what goes through their minds. The actions of one person in your case were so inexcusable. I am thrilled to see the outpouring of love you are being shown in response to his cruelty. I only hope that he knows what has happened and feels remorse as the man next to me at the parade did. Just remember those lines from the movie, “The Help”- “You is kind, you is special, you is important” because all of these things are true. I wish you much love and happiness.

    • I’m sorry for your troubles, JB, and glad you had a good time at this Mardi Gras. I have a friend with AML who was given two years to live — ten years ago. Gleevix helped her. I hope you find something that helps you just as much. ((( J B )))

      • I take each day and just try to make the most of it. Thank you so much for caring. I hope all of these new friends and contacts you have made turn into something even more wonderful-changes, inspirations, future ways to help and comfort others. I bet your daughter even has some great ideas of her own! For instance, I know people make art pieces from Mardi Gras Beads. These could be made and used to raise awareness for things that need to be addressed. There could be an Emily Gras every year! Dream big. Love has conquered hate and ignorance here and it all happens for a reason. I will keep receiving your posts for updates. I know I will be hearing good things! Peace and love!

  385. Amy, you are clearly not a “retard.” that is a word I hate and in that horrible situation you clearly were the one using great intelligence! Do not let one ignorant, foolish person ruin your Mardi Gras. I live in Franklin, LA and we celebrate Mardi Gras! You could attend our much smaller parade and come by us. Ask your mom to privately send me your mailing adddress. I was quern of a Mardi Gras Krewe and on a float in Franklin! I would love to send you some Mardi Gras beads and an umbrella in the mail!!! I have some Mardi Gras beads and umbrellas left that you could add for your collection for next year! Trust me, I am a speech language pathologist and have taken a student with autism who was not as high functioning as you to a regular 4-H camp, no one except for one ignorant adult who obviously has no social skills, would think or say that. Never let an ignorant fool stop you from doing what you enjoy doing!!! He had a problem and ruined your special day. I can be sent a private message on facebook, danadeslatteparker@gmail.com and Dana Deslatte Parker on facebook!!!!

  386. God Bless the people here offering support, empathy, and helping make karma right for this girl. You are truly God’s people!

  387. I can’t believe that. I’m very sorry that you and your daughter had to endure something so despicable. Karma always has the last say with things like that though.

    In your story, you stated that you’ve only been in New Orleans for a few years. Please don’t let the actions of that guy form your opinion about Louisiana college-aged people. I’m a senior at LSU, and I’ve drank and partied with the best of them, but you are ALWAYS responsible for your actions…regardless of your state of mind. There are no exceptions. No matter where you go, you’re going to run into heartless, tactless people. That being said, New Orleans is a great place and I’m very proud to call it my home. The onslaught of heartwarming response to your story is one of the main reasons why. That guy is not a representative of Louisiana 20-somethings, and more importantly, not a representative of our great city. If he is indeed local, he doesn’t deserve to call himself a New Orleanian.

    It seems to me that you’ve got an overwhelming amount of prizes heading your daughter’s way, but if you’d like anything else, please email me. I have some Mardi Gras stuff that I’d love to send her way. Also remind her that if she’s a “retard” for loving the spirit of Mardi Gras and getting lost in the magic that is New Orleans, then I’m a “retard” right along with her.

  388. Im so sorry that happened. And one mean spirited person ruined what was supposed to be one of the happiest days of your daughter’s year. I hope she can learn that not everyone feels that way. And I pray that she will again love parades!

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  390. Ms. Amy, My neice sent me you link. My husband sat here and cried as we read your blog. My daughter, Charlotte died in 2005. Since her adoption [from New Orleans!] we have had a quest for “normalcy”. For 17 years, we kept ‘haters’ away from her. Some will be there anyway.

    I ask you to take advantage of outpouring of love. Do not let her lose her joy!!!

    My daughter’s love was cruises, even though she was severly delayed, she had been on 5 cruises and 6 countries. She was developmentally between 2-3 years. I had several people comment, “She doesn’t know she is in a foreign country”: my responce: “She knows she had fun!!!”
    That said, Accept the Love, I would love to see her as the Queen of her own Muse parade!!! Post when, I’ll make that trip!!! I’ll even offer my convertible for her to ride in!!!
    As a Doctor of Behavioral Health, my faith in people has been renewed by the responces here!

  391. I am in shock and feel so sad for your daughter. I wish we knew where those kids went to school and let them know the result of their heartless actions. I am so sorry for your sadness but glad that you all are feeling the love now.

  392. I’m so sorry for your sweet daughter but I hope she enjoyed the muses den party and that her faith in mardi gras and people can be restored. It is hard to imagine a person who would say that to a child.

  393. My son will be 3 next week. He may be a lot younger than your daughter, but absolutely loves throwing his beads, like hes having a mardi gras parade. It won’t be muses, but you’re welcome to have a kid parade over here, or in city park. No harsh words here. Just let me know.

  394. I go to a university in the area and would like to apologize for the behavior of those who could have been my fellow classmates. I am also a facepainter and would love to paint her pretty little face either next mardi gras or on her birthday. Email me at mmoses337@gmail.com if you think she would enjoy that. My deepest apologies once again and I hope I can help redeem your idea of a college student.

  395. As a ‘college boy’ in New Orleans I feel so sorry for your daughter. I can only hope that these people do not go to my school, but either way your daughter is a better person than them. I hope if this parade works out your little princess enjoys it!

  396. Thank you for sharing. It hurts to hear your daughter’s, and your pain. As an aunt of three special needs children, I hope that people read this and think twice about the way they act and speak. Hugs & prayers.

  397. While I was reading this I had tears rolling down my face for this girl. I have a daughter that has some severe learning disabilities and we have had issues at her school with kids making fun of her, even though it is just words, those words hurt! My heart goes out to her and her mother for having to endure this at the one time of the year that she feels like she belongs and anything about her fades in with everybody else. I am elated that the Muses had a parade just for her! She deserved every minute of it and I feel my faith in people has been re-newed by this Krewe who renewed her faith in mardi gras. May God bless all of you!

  398. I am so sorry that your daughter went through such an ordeal. Once upon a not that long ago time I was a college student in New Orleans. We stayed in the family area because the rest of it was too rowdy for us- and we got there early to claim our spots, we made friends with our new temporary neighbors, and we let kids get in front of us and pulled them back if they were about to be crushed. I would like to think most of the college kids do that, that it is a small minority that makes the rest of us look bad. Had my group been stationed near a situation like your we would have backed you up and helped protect your daughter and tried to get her a shoe.
    I’m not sure if it has been suggested or not already, but you might want to contact the Dean’s office of the college the guy was from if you could tell (wearing university paraphernalia or a frat jersey). Let them know what happened and describe the guy as best you can (especially if he was, in fact, a frat boy wearing his jersey). I know my alma mater would send out a pretty stern email about acceptable Mardi Gras behavior and if a fraternity or sorority was identified as part or a problem (or any specific, nameable student) there would be punishments. The Jesuits are not pushovers and we love them for it. If you aren’t sure which school the student was from I would suggest contacting Loyola, Tulane, Xavier, and UNO’s deans of students and ask them to send an email to their students with the story you posted. 18-23 year olds may often be clueless but they are rarely heartless and you may find that there is a further out pouring of support for your daughter.
    In fact, I live overseas and I found this story from one of my Loyola friend’s facebook post about how disgusted she is by the behavior of the guy in the story.
    Hugs and support to your daughter (and I would be happy to send her a London tube shirt or some other trinket of her choice once I get back). allisjustducky@yahoo.com

  399. If your daughter’s an artist, she should draw these punks so that they can be parodied on a float next year.

  400. I am so happy to see such a generous outpouring of love for this little girl! I’m so sorry she had to experience this. Being autistic is being differently abled. Autistic children can have some amazing capabilities that other children do not have. Think that when other people insult you, they are really talking about themselves. That has helped me a lot. Some people are just mean, and there’s nothing you can do about it except build up your own armor. BB’s bouncing off Buicks. Someone else said that once and I liked it. When people say mean things, just think of those words as BB’s bouncing off Buicks. They don’t even make a dent. They just bounce off! And the car just goes on like nothing happened. BB’s bouncing off Buicks! You can repeat it as many times as you want to and it can help make you stronger.

    Kudos to all the Muses and 610 Stompers and everyone else who wanted to bring joy to your daughter! This is great evidence to her that there are more nice people in the world than bad ones. I hope this helps restore her faith in the magic and joy of life. Not just at Mardi Gras, but all year long!

    Love and hugs to you both!
    Laura

  401. sharing via Dancing Man 504: The incident that happen with Emily Mulleur isn’t the first one. Growing up I had people at parades saying terrible things to Me because of My color. So it’s not a matter of handi-cap it is a matter of Human Cruelty. No matter how much We give to repair the damage. The damage is there. I wanna say that once Emily sees that She is Perfect for who she is* and no one can take it away. Then Emily will understand what Special Means*. I Love You Emily and We will dance* :) Dancingman504*****

    Please share with Emily!

  402. So very glad that beautiful little girl had so many people reach out to her. I hope Emily Gras cheered her spirits and diminished the long lasting effects of some loser’s hateful words.

    Please tell her that there’s nothing wrong with being a little weird.That she’s not a cookie cutter, she’s something much better… Emily, and that’s all she needs to be. i’d much rather be weird than be just like everyone else. I know it’s hard for both you and her, but you both have the most beautiful souls and brightest lights. I hope you can both overcome this horrible event and continue to let your lights shine. I hold lots of hope and love in my heart for you and your beautiful angel.

  403. Amy darlinng god made you very very special and he gave you too very very special parents to love you and take care of you god made all of us ants god does not make mistakes! Those people were doing some bad things tha!t night. That is what alcohol does to some people but I bet they are sorry for what they said please don’t be sad and please let everyone see that beautiful smile that god made especially for us

  404. My eyes became teary as I read this story. Please hug her and let her know that there’s nothing wrong with her. There’s something wrong with the insecure mean spirited person who made them comments. God sees her for tge beautiful loving person she is and for that she should always be grateful. Tell her she’s live n continue to live life to the fullest. I have a down syndrome nephew n we treat him no different from the others.

  405. This absolutley disgust me that ppl are so disrespectful and cruel! I have a daughter with severe learning disabilities and have had ppl be rude to her and it brakes my heart because she is the sweetest girl in the world. I use to curse these ppl out and fight with them but it would make my daughter upset so I’ve learned I have to to realize these are the cards we were dealt and I know my baby is a beautiful special child from god and these fools like the one in this story are the ignorant ones.

  406. Pingback: Karen Dalton-Beninato: Emily Gras: Muses Show Their Soul After Girl is Bullied at Parade | Overnight Satellite

  407. You handled the situation with such love and grace. Following all of this and the inspiring response it shows that love is so much bigger than hate – every day of the week.

  408. Things oike this really make me wish I had superpowers . So the when morons like this surface I could remove them from existance hopefully brfore they procreate. Amy you are beautiful and never let morons ruin your night. Life is unfortunately full of them and that too proves how normal you are.

  409. OMG. Crying at my desk here at work! It is unbelieveable how cruel people can be. Unfortunately, I would imagine that this is not the first or last time you and your daughter will confront this type of ignorant, senseless behavior. I hope the Muses fete will restore you and your daughter’s faith in humanity and in Mardi Gras (at least partially!!). I wish we could all shelter ourselves from the mean and nasty people out there but I guess the best we can do is share stories like these when they happen and show support for the victims both in the moment and after the fact. Good for Muses to rising to the occasion for this little girl. I myself heard some nasty comments being made by drunk men about young ladies marching in the parades during Mardi Gras and now I wish I would have spoken up and said something at the time. Thank you for sharing this story given how difficult it must have been for you. I hope that you and your daughter both heal and that we all learn something from incidents like these. Also, I hope those guys are still suffering from their hangovers.

  410. I have a younger sister who is developmentally delayed with a form of autism. I have seen my mother sacrifice so much but yet graciously raise her to become a wonderful, sweet, and caring child just like I can tell you have done with your daughter. I attend LSU and have seen my fair share of interesting things in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. However, nothing else strikes home like your story. Sometimes when my sister gets frustrated I have heard her mumble “I’m retarded” and It absolutely breaks my heart. I can’t even imagine what the night after Muses felt like for you and your daughter. I know for my sister, when she likes a book or movie, she really, and I mean really likes it! I am talking about carrying around her 5 different star wars books in her hands just to ride down the road to the grocery store. That being said, I can completely understand your daughter’s countdown and excitement for Muses! I know that nothing can undo what she experienced last week but I just want you to know that your family is in my thoughts and that I so dearly hope that she makes an even bigger and better countdown for Muses next year!

  411. Wow, I hope you don’t allow one ignorant person to change this special time for you and your daughter. If I were you I’d send the story to the Muses Krewe and see if they’d let her participate in decorating shoes or riding. That would turn that frown upside down.

  412. I’m so sorry this happened. I was a firecracker when I was in my twenties…but I would never, ever have done something like that. I don’t understand how someone can grow up to be so disrespectful. I learned young that it hurts when people are cruel, and that I didn’t ever want to make anyone else feel that way. So it doesn’t make sense to me how filth like that can even exist.

    Obviously, they learned the WRONG lessons in life, and forgot all about the times kindness made them better people.

  413. I know it probably shouldn’t, but it shocks me that adults are able to be that cruel to children to their face. I am so sorry for your darling girl. I hope you can convince her that there are so many of us who would never see her in that terrible light. I’m so sorry this happened to you two.

  414. That sucks to hear and I’m very sorry to hear what happened to your daughter. I hope your daughter can smile and look forward to it next year. If its any consolation I took my 3 yr old daughter to see muses as well we were by Superior Seafood she almost got clobbered by a bunch of drunk people. I asked them to watch where they were going and they turned around and started yelling at me. We stayed for a about 5 floats and left the same drunk people kept bumping us (while I was holding her I’m only 4’10”) she started crying because she couldn’t catch anything. We left its sad when the parade crowds are like that. Tell your daughter she is smart and beautiful!!!! People need to understand children are at these parades as well!!!

  415. Hello,

    The founder of Muses (a Tulane alum, I will point out), is a family friend. I will be forwarding this to her. Let’s see what we can make happen.

  416. I’m sorry that happened. I can’t even imagine. I understand how teenagers can be because I’m 18. And I can’t stand when they do things like that. I hate the cursing. I hope you can get her back in the spirit because Muses is deffinatly one of the best parades! Another good one is Endymion, try that one next year. I suggest standing near Delgado, it’s mostly families in that area. Hope things get better and let her know that boy doesn’t know what he was talking about and that not everyone is like that! Give her a hug for me!

  417. As many others have said, this breaks my heart. My son is also high-functioning on the autism spectrum. And he has been called a retard. Thankfully, I don’t think he heard it and if he did, it didn’t seem to bother him. Still, it is so heartbreaking to hear a word like this. And in this case, where your daughter was so hurt, it just makes me cry.

  418. I’m so sad- most people, no matter how drunk would never want to be that hurtful. I can’t stand that we share the Earth with someone like that- there really are no adequate expletives to describe my disdain. This guy needs to be exposed. I’m so sorry that happened to anyone, let alone such a sweet soul. Remember honey, that anyone who would behave like he did is a big failure- but YOU are a wonderful success:)

  419. Touro Synogogue sponsors a viewing stand for special children each year during Mardi Gras. It is elevated and safe with wheel chair accessible entrance in the rear, away from the crowds and traffic. We would be happy to have your daughter as our guest next year. Please call the office and we will make arrangements.

  420. You sweet, precious child of God! There is no excuse for the crewl things some people are capable of (whether intoxicated or not). Please, precious girl, know that you are loved, even by people who have never seen you face to face. My heart breaks for the pain that one man caused you but I am so thankful for the Krewe that turned it all around for you. I truly hope you keep your innocent joy.

  421. I live on parade route at 4132 St Charles. I hope that you will not allow this terrible experience keep you from enjoying future parades. I have a designated parking spot in my building that I will gladly allow you to use during all future Mardi Gras. God bless you! Email utguynola@cox.net.

  422. My heart is crying. Shame on that young man. No one knows the journey that a child and a family goes through with a child with special needs. I know first hand and it hurts deeply. I wish you had taken a photo of that man with your phone and posted it with the article. He should be shamed for his behavior as publicly as he hurt your precious daughter. God bless you for doing such a beautiful job in such a difficult situation.

  423. Amy,

    I’m a former Muse, and a former New Orleanian (we moved to get better services for our HFA kiddo after Katrina!)… we are having a small belated Mardi Gras kid party this weekend, and we will have our own neighborhood parade here and raise a joyful noise in your daughter’s honor: with my autistic son leading the marchers! She has such courage to deal with stuff like this every day, to have it ruin her Mardi Gras is disgusting. Amazing strength you had to be restrained and BE there for *her* and not get caught up in your own anger. I hope next Mardi Gras will be even more incredible for you both after going through this and coming out the other side – and thanks for speaking up for her to us all.

  424. Amy, please tell Emily that their is nothing magical or special about behaving in a way that is hurtful to another person. I hope that the wonderful show of love and support will bring her back to loving Mardi Gras again.

  425. I know I would not have responded with the grace she showed this man. I pray I can be as strong and loving as a person as she showed that Thursday night.

  426. My heart just breaks for Emily ( & you of course… Mamas hurt when their babies are hurting)….Glad to see so many people coming together to make her feel better… Lots of Love & Positive Vibes from one Autism Mommy to Another…..Hope she remembers all of the good people & not just the meanies….

  427. I have a shoe from Muses! I was very exited to get it, but I believe it will mean the world to your daughter, please e-mail me so I can give it to her

  428. I am so sorry that your daughter had to face such an ugly experience and you as her mother had to see her go through something so sad. I can only imagine the anger and hurt you must have felt. I have a Mardi Gras wholesale/retail distribution company and I would be happy to donate specialty beads and throws for her if she happens to ride on a float next year. I would also like to send her a special Mardi Gras gift package from us. Please email me at NolaMerchandise@yahoo.com and I will arrange to have this mailed to her. Best wishes, Mamta

  429. man, i am steaming. i have 3 out of 4 kids with autism. the retards are the ones like this guy. in shreveport for mardi gras, we have a damily section with no drinking and we stick to it. i understand why you didnt say anything to this guy, i only wish my family would have been with you. i hate that people could care less.he will get his in the end. i wish the best for you and your girl in the future. and i pray she knows she is no retard. and most likly, she is twice as smart as that guy will ever be

  430. My name is Randy, and I’m a buggy driver at Jackson Square. I know the night of muses is gone forever, but in attempt to reinstate some good will from the city I love, maybe y’all could come on down with some beads and ride the buggy like its your own Krewe. Randymillet@ymail.com. If you’re interested, it would be my pleasure!!!!

  431. I don’t know if this comment will reach this precious girl’s mother or not, but I hope so. My ten year autistic son would love to share his beads and prizes from the one parade we managed to make it thru this year with her. My heart is broken for y’all.

  432. Just know that those twenty-somethings do not represent the rest of us, at all. I denounce that type of behavior, especially as a psychology grad student. Let your daughter know she is lovely and deserves to be at a parade more than those losers. Mardi Gras is a time of coming together to celebrate, not be divisive.

  433. My heart goes out to you as a mother of a special needs child with similar issues and age. She and I too share a deep and abiding love of Mardi Gras.

    I too would like to send something to your daughter to bring back and rekindle her love of Mardi Gras.

    I make Mardi Gras masks and would love for her to have one. Please drop me a email southerncarnivalmobile@gmail.com

  434. I was saddened and maddened by this story…how can people be so mean and cruel…drunk or not!! May you both feel all the love to help you both heal from such a terreble incident. Blessings to y’all.

  435. It’s so hard to have faith in our society after reading this and knowing this attitude and ignorance is running rampant in our society.
    My heart breaks for both you and your sweet daughter. It makes me irrationally angry and so fearful for my son as he gets older.

  436. This is one of those posts that take your breath away. I pray amazing things are on the horizon for this sweet girl. This kind of behavior is what gives me nightmares when I think about my son growing older and having more of a realization of his “differences.” I wish I could protect them all from such horrible and hurtful behavior.

  437. Young Ms. Emily, My partner and I have been on the same corner (St Charles and Foucher, neutral ground at the street car stop) for the last 14 years. We host a party every night for all of our friends. Please accept this invitation next year to join us for ANY and EVERY parade! We guarantee NO ONE will mess with you! Lil Sis, I put on a wig and ball gown for Muses, and believe you me, I would love to have you by my side catching all that glitters and glows! Tim Lawrence AKA Tragique!

  438. I have a home embroidery business. I would love to do a t-shirt for your daughter with the MARDI GRAS mask on it. What color would she like and what size? E-mail me at beckybob@aol.com

  439. Dear Miss Emily,

    You are an amazing person and do not let anyone in the whole world ever tell you otherwise. The person who called you names was very, very wrong and had no business doing that. The reality is, as you wisely have said before, everyone IS a little weird. That’s what makes people – people. He doesn’t get it, and he probably never will, and it is his loss. Don’t worry, he will also get what is coming to him – the universe has a funny was of working these things out.

    I know you are hurt right now, but do me a favor, don’t let that jerk win. Do not let him steal your Mardi Gras for next year. There are a lot of parents and adults who are tired of these drunk college students who are ruining Mardi Gras for lots of people. In fact, the police were called more than once this year in the same area where you were watching. It doesn’t change what happened to you – but I want you to know that other people were pushed, shoved, and called all kinds of names, so you were not alone – even though you really felt that way last Thursday. You should be proud of the fact that you are the leader of a whole movement of people who are now standing up and saying enough of this at Mardi Gras.

  440. I wish this guy/group would recognize themselves, and issue a heartfelt apology to Amy & Em. It could be totally private, too – and Amy would never tell a soul, she’s that kind of person. It would be so healing for everyone involved. I mean come on – we’ve all done or said things that we regret, that have hurt people deeply. There is a great opportunity here, and it doesn’t have to involve a lynching ;~)

    Love you Amy! Happy Emily Gras!

  441. Emily I heard your story and I am so very sorry that people in this world have to be so heartless and mean……Honey always hold your head high and know that God has you here because he loves you……If you or your mom gets on facebook please talk with me…..I have raised many children and I know that people can be heartless at times but the good people will always be their for you and your family……Much love my darling……..May God bless and always stay in your heart…..Janet……

  442. Dear Miss Emily,
    “Normal” people can be SO boring, and sometimes mean. “Normal” people can ruin the brains they were born with, and break perfectly wonderful hearts if we let them. We shouldn’t give “normal” people too much power because it makes them act like fools. So next time, be careful not to give a rude “normal” person any power over what you feel or think. You’re much to clever for that!
    Melanie
    ps: Honestly? I stay away from crowds where people are getting drunk because you can’t count on them to behave like NORMAL people!

  443. May God bless this family and all we can really do is pray for the ignorance of th young man that would talk and act like that . When he stands before his maker, he will have to answer for that. It’s good thing I did not see or hear such. Cal me next year and we will see to it that she has a wonderful parade

  444. Seeing all these comments is incredible since I’d lost faith in New Orleans long ago. My dad rides in Endmyion, if there is anything my family could do, please let me know at the_next_gisele@yahoo.com. It breaks my heart, especially since my little cousin has downs and she has been my family’s greatest blessing in life. Love to you, your daughter and your family.
    Kaitlin

  445. This story truly breaks my heart. God bless the amazing women of Muses! I’m in the Krewe of Nyx and would love to send her some purses to match all those new shoes! My email is eclark324@yahoo.com
    We parade for people like this not for those jerky drunk college kids. I make it a point to only hand my purses to children, because it creates a lifelong memory. Hopefully, today she made new memories that will cancel out that awful night for her.

  446. I am so sorry. Please know real new orleanians do not act like this. I hope next mardi gras you will go to the metairie parades. If your family does drop me a line I would gladly accompany you with my motorcycle buddies and i promise she will have fun and be safe. What they did sickens me. If I were around you this would not have happened. My thoughts and prayers are with you. You know the Irish Italian parade is coming. Wanna go.

  447. honestly im from new orleans and i moved to colorado after katrina and the people outside of new orleans are rude. i think that its taking over the city with their northern attitudes and west coast thugery. i dont think alcohol should be allowed at parades anymore or cigarettes.

  448. :: tears ::

    My heart breaks for you and your lovely daughter. People can be so cruel.

    Yet all the beautiful comments show that people can be so kind also.

  449. Oh sweetie, I wish you could feel my hugs from Rhode Island. My little girl who is 6 has autism too. I hope she grows to have as beautiful a soul as you do. Do not let that nasty man with such a terrible tiny soul crush your pretty butterfly wings. And do not think one more bit on his words because there are so many more people supporting you than that tiny-souled man will ever know.

  450. Look, I caught a shoe and intended it for a friend, but my friend will understand why i am offering to you. I live in the area and am appalled by the actions of these kids. Horrible terrible attitude towards people. If your daughter wants my shoe let me know.

  451. Oh wow I just got back from mardi GRAS and I am 14 a guy like that not at muses said some things about someone next to me that was about 7 and I am very sorry to hear that .

  452. That breaks my heart for both of you. Thank you for sharing your story as a reminder to us that we ALL need to be mindful of the things we say!

  453. Just wanted to say that I got engaged in New Orleans in ’03 and have wanted to go back ever since then. This story and comments have not only renewed my interest in trying to go back but also has made me realize that there is more good in the world and in people than I ever believed! (And I am a cynic.) Thanks New Orleans for bringing my faith back in people. I pray this little girl has an unforgettable experience next year but in a good way.

  454. Emily, you are a very special gift to us that only comes along once in a while. a lot of people will say mean things, and when they do you just remember that YOU are not a retard, you are a very smart and vibrant young lady i know i would be proud to call daughter. i can’t have kids, but if i did, i would want one just like you. Keep your head up and keep smiling and feel sorry for the stupid people who say stupid things.

  455. The retarded person was HIM!!!! Booze makes you slow in the head AND he chose to be that way! Tell your daughter that being autistic only means that she is EXTREMELY gifted and has a heart that is capable of immense love. Retards are the ones that are responsible for making themselves slow!

  456. I am a special education teacher and as all parents of differently abled kids know, this kind of heartless and ignorant behavior is too common. Another problem is people who use the “r word” flippantly. They may be thinking they are doing no harm but they are wrong. I know if Emily or her mom overheard someone jokingly using this word it would be hurtful, it is to me. So let’s all be advocates to remove this word so that nobody has to hear it again. We may not be able to influence people like the one who slithered along the Muses route but we can make a difference. Spread the word to stop the word!
    More info check this out – http://www.r-word.org

  457. Dear Emily,

    I hope you enjoy Emily Gras and come back out next year for Mardi Gras…we need more people like you out on the route and less like that horrible boy!

    Dear Muses & all the wonderful positive people who posted here,

    THANK YOU for living such a positive example!! As a mother who has seen her son hurt because of narrow minded rude people I know Emily’s mother must be happy to see such an uprise of support for her daughter!! I hope we remember this next year, stand up to these jerk next year and TAKE BACK MARDI GRAS!!

    NOLA loves you Emily!!!

  458. God bless your daughter. Each night, my three boys and I pray for all the little children around the world who need our prayers…tonight your daughter will be at the top of our list. I give you my personal promise to raise my boys to be the exact opposite of the one in this story. We will pray for him to find guidance as well.

  459. Ms. Mueller, I’m terribly sorry to hear this story, I’m a New Orleans fireman, and would like to cordially invite you and your daughter to cone visit my engine house and have dinner with me and the other guys at the firehouse. You reach me by email at jkfrman@gmail.com.

  460. VERY heart-warming story. Thank you for sharing. And thank you to everyone else who has reached out in support!

    Please let us all know if there is a charity or fund you would like donations sent to.

  461. I can’t apologize for the rude behavior of others nor can I erase that memory. Just a know that everyone is a bit different and it makes the world a more interesting place to live…if we were all the same how boring it would be. Don’t let one bad encounter stop you from being you and doing what you enjoy…never…ever. Be yourself some people just haven’t been taught any sense.

  462. It infuriates me that people are so mean and ignorant of people with special needs. As somone who had a brother with special needs and I also work for our school district as a teacher’s assistant with children who have special needs, I absolutely cannot tolerate when people use the “r” word. I do not hesitate to tell them my feelings either.
    It breaks my heart that

  463. wow what a,sad story! That hits home with my precious little boy having autism ;) that’s hard to swallow! I could not hv let him ruin it for my baby ;)

  464. As the mother of a high functioning autistic child, I understand how rude and uncaring people can be. I’ve been accused of being a bad parent, and my child has been accused of being rude, a psycho, and a weirdo, to name a few. My heart breaks for you and your child but it seems that those rude people need my prayers as they are cruel and insensitive and will someday pay for their horrible behavior. You are a wonderful Mom and handled the situation better than I would have. You set a great example for your daughter on how one should behave. May God bless you both.

  465. I would like to share an experience that happened to me and my son about 3 years ago at Mardi Gras in Mandeville. My son has High Functioning Autism and LOVES Mardi Gras too. He was about 14 at the time. We were waiting on the parade and when it finally came he was overwhelmed with excitement, which cause some REALLY loud yelling of “Throw me something mister.” A few people turned and stared and there was one group in particular that I could tell was talking about him and laughing amongst themselves at him. I watched as long as I could before pulling one young man in the group aside, looked him dead in the eye and said “My son has autism. If he is bothering you all so much we will move.” He began to apoligize profusely and was clearly ashamed of himself. I saw him rejoin his group and begin whispering to the others. Within 5 minutes one of them offered my son one of the cool throws he had caught. My son looked to me for permission and after that IT WAS ON!! This group of kids gave EVERYTHING they caught to my son, they filled his bag to overflowing with throws, and I think they learned a lesson.

  466. I’m a college student from Kenner, and I would love to give her some of the beads that I have caught at other parades. I have so many, and I would love to share with her. If you would like to set up a way for me to send you some beads, please email me at jane.r.carriere@stumail.shc.edu By the way, I have a disability called spina bifida, and I am very familiar with how cruel some people without disabilities can be to those with disabilities. Please tell your daughter that she is wonderful exactly how she is, and not to worry about what other people think. God bless!

  467. hello I am a nurse from Ohio, my wife…yes thats right I said it My wife (I am a male nurse) different than what most expect. anyway my wife and I live in Ohio, our children are grown or almost grown, and we have never experienced mardi gras and no nothing of Muses. I would love to have your daughter send me an email explaining these things and why they are so special. why it would be worth our while to spend the time and money to travel all the way down there just to see these events. I think that would make her have to think of and explain the positives as I want her to sell me on the idea of making the trip in a few years.

  468. Your daughter needs to understand, she is not the one who is different, the person who made the rude comments is the one who is different. She needs to understand she is special, an angel god brought into this world for a reason and a purpose. It appears a lot of people learned from this persons mistake. I am sorry you had to endure the pain, but you are special and you deserve to go anywhere you want in life. Put your head up high and smile.

  469. I am rarely moved by anything as much as I have been by this story and the followup story. Please share my profound good wishes with your daughter. As a mother, I was totally outraged at the unacceptable behavior of those drunken fools. Yes, I hope karma is quick to give them just what they deserve,

  470. Please tell her not to give up on herself or her fellow man. I am a gay man & know more about discrimination & hateful people more than I care to admit. I know how much it hurts to have another person look right at you & say the most awful things. But you tell your little angel that the world really IS a wonderful place & that she is PERFECT & COMPLETE the way God made her. Then you tell her that I said that it is that bunch of obnoxious jerks that are the ones who are out of place, not her. I’m sure you have said these things to her already, but you tell her that I, a complete stranger, say so. Then hug her for me & tell her that I would gladly don a costume of her choosing & march up & down your street on any day singing, dancing, flipping & throwing beads & candies to her. Just for her.

  471. My family lives in New Orleans. They ride in a float almost every year. I will do my best to make sure that your little girl either rides in a float (If she is able -given the opportunity) or that she has a SPECTACULAR view…with no jerks around her.

    (My daughter, Kate, is autistic too.)

  472. How heartbreaking that Mardi Grad for this young lady could have been ruined forever. How heartwarming that Muses and the people of New Orleans made sure that did not happen. My wife is a member of Muses and I a member of Endymion. We look forward every year to sharing the magic of Mardi Gras with our two young daughters. I hope that next year and all future Mardi Gras’ are as special as today was for her daughter. If there is a place that I can send some Endymion swag please let me know at bonedoc8@mac.com.

  473. My heart aches for you and your daughter. I am so sorry you had such a horrible experience because of some selfish college kids. I really hope your daughter can mend from this and I am sending you good thoughts and wishes!

  474. Some college kids are just plain rude when they are drinkiing. That was uncalled for. Kudos to the Krewe of Muses!! I love autistic children, they are sooooo sweet!!! I have a 3 year old granddaughter who is also a high functioning autistic. I believe they are the greatest gift from God and such a blessing!! Give your daughter a hug from me and tell her she is a BEAUTIFUL SWEET girl!!!

  475. My mom worked at a school for the mentally and physically handicapped while I was growing up. I never really register the difference between “normal” people and “special” people because of that. Your story brought tears to my eyes, and broke my heart because I’ve stood many times, nose to nose with someone spouting that junk. I know all too well the tears and pain she felt, because I have watched my younger brother go through it, and nearly blackened someone’s eye for their comment. My own children get looks and comments and their “disability” isn’t visible to the eye.
    I hope that her experience at the parade was overshadowed by the response of the Krewe of Muses. She should look forward to enjoying her favorite parade next year!
    Best Wishes!

  476. The Muses, the Pyrates, the 610’s, the Elvi, the Chewbacchuses and everyone else have washed away the inhumanity of narrow mindedness and replaced it with love – many many many more Happy Mardi Gras’ for Miss Emily!

  477. I’m just speechless. This Carnival was my first ever & Muses was my first parade. I’d looked forward to it for MONTHS. I can’t imagine your daughters pain. Some people are just unimaginable jerks.

    I hope next year as I’m watching Muses roll by y’all are doing the same.

  478. As I read this story, my heart broke but as I
    Read the responses from others, my faith in
    People was restored. That young man is ignorant & he probably remembers nothing about that night, and not those hurtful words.
    Our kiddos face enough struggles without having to deal with pure ignorance.
    I hope & pray that your daughter can find her way back to Mardi Gras. I love the idea of putting that angel on a float.

  479. There is no such thing as a retard!!! God makes everyone of us different; black, white, fat, skinny, short, and tall! I believe that the people he chooses to make “special” are his chosen children!! He knows not every parent or child could deal with what we call a “deformity” or ” mentally challenged”! So hats off to you and your daughter for being among the most “SPECIAL” of God’s children.

  480. What a sad commentary on this generation of young adults. I look at my sons–ages 19 and 21–and hope I have raised them to have more human empathy than the idiots you encountered possess. I wonder of those youn people will recognize themselves in the stories about this incident that have made their way into the media. If they do, will they even care? I hope this incident will not ruin your daughter’s enthusiasm for Mardi Gras. Those creeps probably weren’t even from New Orleans.

  481. I cried this morning the first time I read Emily’s story. I cried more upon reading the comments. Then I cried again around 1pm when the photos from Emily Gras started flying around the Internet. And now I’m crying again after seeing more photos, a short video, and another 300+ comments on this post. The story is so sad, but the comments and unbelievably fast response from the New Orleans community is incredible. It makes me proud to be a local. I realize that the outpouring of love and offers of shoes, beads, and throws has likely been more than anyone ever expected, but I too would like to offer my Muses shoe, beads, throws, bags, etc to sweet Miss Emily. Please include me in whatever email correspondence is going around for her–I’d love to be involved! mrsbridges@crossing-bridges.com

  482. Grrrrrr…..That story makes me say things that are not approperiate for this venue, but I will say this; the next time anyone says something like that, maybe you can tell your daughter what that word REALLY means…..

    What is means is, that person is too blind to see how beautiful and special your daughter is. You cannot blame someone for being blind to beauty…you can only feel sorry for THEM. Imagine if your baby would have looked Mr Goofball in the eye and said, “I feel sorry for you”…and meant it in her heart, because she KNOWS that SHE is loved for exactly who she is (not everyone can say that)…Her grattitude that night might have been, “Thank you God for leting me see the beauty in myself and in other people”

    Words on their own have no power over us. We give them power. Take the power away and insults can no longer control how WE feel….they just become an rude noise made by some donkey …and that is not important to us.

    In closing, I am SO glad to read that your daughter got her own personal Mardi Gras @ the Muses Den. I can’t think of anyone in this city that can top THAT!! Way to go, Muses ladies!

  483. I am soo sorry that man did that to your daughter and grateful for the Krewe of Muses for restoring her joy of Mardi Gras. I cried reading your story, like many others I am sure, and for a child to hear something like that about themselves will never be erased from her memory. I truly hope she believes how beautiful and special she really is. It sounds like she is very much lived by many!

  484. We need to protect the family zones in Mardi GRAS!!! The holiday shouldn’t be over taken by the drunk party goers! It makes it worse that guy has to be a horrible man sober as well! Let’s all get this little girl stand tickets! Make a fuss about this little girls broken heart! Let’s get her on a float next year!!!!

  485. I have a very strong feeling that those college kids were not from here. I can’t believe a New Orleans native would say that to a child. We appreciate Mardi Gras like “others” will never understand. We do not “show our T___S” for cheap beads that we already have a million of in our attics. We don’t use our parades to get drunk and stupid. It belongs to the whole family. It’s apparent that you and your daughter are part of “us” and belong with us to enjoy Muses, and the others. I’m so sorry we couldn’t protect her from that heartless fool.

    I must add that I’ve seen the gleam in many tourists’ eyes. They get it. I love that they come and share our most special celebration.

    As I sat here and read your daughter’s story, I cried. I don’t ever want that light to be banished from her heart. Tell her that God doesn’t make mistakes. She’s so precious.

  486. You could call my son autistic who developed normally with the exception of language. But just because he cant verbalize most of what he wants to say does not mean he doesn’t understand what others say. I commend you mom for not going off on this young man, I think I would have. I can picture the sparkle in your daughters eyes while happily waiting and am brought to tears at the thought of some idiot taking it away. I know that spark you speak of well, it’s the glimmer in the happy times that assures us as mom that our child in spite of it all is happy and it’s all we want. My love and wishes to a mom and dad of very special little girl and most of all to her, may her spirit and sparkle not be wounded for long. She is amazing and u and parents like me know just how amazing.

  487. The response to this awful situation is why I love and miss New Orleans so much. Amy, if you were in doubt about the integrity of your new city, I hope this outpouring of selflessness and love has shown you the heart of New Orlenians. Y’all have proven again New Orleans is like no other place on earth!

  488. I am a college student who drinks and smokes at parades (generally in exclusively college areas) and though I’m not this guy who ruined your child’s Mardi Gras I still want to apologize on his behalf and on behalf all terribly inconsiderate young people and I will be more cognizant of my behavior around families and I cannot apologize enough for your poor MG experience

  489. Hooray to Muses and everyone else who helped make Emily’s experience so much better. Now, let’s find a solution for all kids and adults with special needs so everyone can enjoy Carnival. I watched families struggle to find ways to participate in Mardi Gras when a family member has special issues and wondered why the city hasn’t designated a special area. The grandstands at Lafayette Square, across from Gallier Hall, are open to the public – the city should reserve those for individuals with special needs and their families. And, Jefferson Parish, home of the family parade, create a place, too! – the reserved spaces in front of the grandstands are perfect for wheelchairs!

  490. I apologize in advance for my seemingly apparent ignorance, but, what makes your autistic daughter more entitled to having fun than the college guys? Although the college guys don’t have a diary and countdown the days till muses and all, I’d be willing to put serious money on the fact that they are equally excited. Also, not to be hateful, but shouldn’t people with disabilities be self-aware of their own debilitating disease? Clearly she is different from the majority of society, no one can deny that.

    • DELETE. Ignorant fool. Autism isn’t a debilitating disease…It’s a genetic disorder. The college boys were all wrong. They could have stood behind the mom and daughter, and there was no reason for insults. Oh right…they were drunk!

    • ADR – you missed a small detail in the story about WHAT the young man SAID to the child – how is that acceptable in any humane situation? Or do you have an excuse for that too?

      Cold blooded, without a shred of compassion, read before you type ADR.

    • Of course the boys were entitled to have their celebration but they were not entitled to ruin the celebration of anyone else at the parade. Your comments should be deleted because of your total lack of understanding of the common human decency that should be exhibited by everyone. This has nothing to do with politics or disabilities. I wonder what your reaction would have been if you had suffered the same indignities.

    • Oh, you damn republican!
      You not from here, huh? (when I say “from here” I mean born and raised)
      If you are, then your parents didn’t take you to any parades when you were younger, did they?!
      You see… there is an unspoken rule/courtesy regarding those who stake out spots for hours before the parade and the late arrivers. This rule is complicated, so I’ll do my best to explain. If you stake out a spot, that area is yours… how can one claim public grounds? They just can! It’s a Mardi Gras rule. If you are a late arriver, you are more than welcomed to enjoy the parade (even in the area that has been staked out) so long as you are courteous to those who have been there for hours. Don’t put up a ladder and block the stakers view, be respectful of their children, no snatching teddy bears meant for their kids, if you step on their toes (literally) apologize, don’t spill your booze on the family who’s been there for hours, don’t burn them with your cigarettes, refrain from screaming profanities, no name calling, no fighting, etc.
      Mardi Gras is about family, friends and good times.
      It’s a$$holes like the guy in this story that ruin Mardi Gras.
      The way you behaved this Mardi Gras, would you have behaved that way if your mother & father were next you? I ask because maybe that’s the difference between locals and out of towners… We grew up going to parades with our parents over our shoulder who taught us the correct way to be a late arriver.

    • It’s not OK for anyone to call anyone else a hateful name, ever. Did your mother not teach this to you, DR? I’m not deleting this comment – it speaks volumes for DR’s. But, please, don’t anyone else reply to his comment and don’t let it upset you.
      Remember these two things,people:
      “What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”
      “Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”

      This comment will stand unless YOU all make it into a big deal. Please don’t. Thanks.

    • You are an ignorant and hateful person. Spilling beer on children and almost burning them with cigarettes is not acceptable in ANY circumstance. Being self aware of your disability and having some piece of crap college kid with an over-inflated ego calling you a retard are two different trhings. SHAME ON YOU for sticking up for them.

  491. I have no idea what this parade is but I have read every word in the blog and the comments and I have had to wipe away the tears threw the whole thing. what an amazing little girl. and my heartbreaks for her. but then threw reading these comments my heart swells for her. there are a lot of amazing people out there and I am praying that the Jerks that destroyed your daughters experience will encounter some of the same ridicule at some point in there life.

  492. As Taylor Swift sings, “Don’t you worry your pretty little mind; people throw rocks at things that shine”. And also (Paraphrased) — Some day, (you’ll be) big enough so he can’t hurt you, but all he’ll ever be is MEAN.

  493. I loved your story. It was heart-breaking, but so true. People without special needs children just don’t understand how difficult their world can be, and the Moms who take care of them. Hang in there, darling, and go again. I love the parade, but can’t make it every year. Go for me!!