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Thread: Mafia/Harry Lee rides again
01-18-08, 05:16 PM #1
Mafia/Harry Lee rides again
Friday, January 18, 2008 By Doug MacCash
Revelers along the Bacchus parade route may catch an unusually poignant throw this year.
The Krewe of Bacchus has named Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee as posthumous grand marshal and produced a memorial doubloon to commemorate the occasion. Ten thousand of the black coins, as well as a more traditional bronze-colored doubloon, will be tossed to the crowd on Feb. 3 by Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.
According to the Krewe of Bacchus King's Committee Chairman Michael Hunt, the grand marshal's float will be riderless and festooned with black bunting in honor of Lee. The funereal float will lead the parade at a discreet distance from the more festive floats, escorted by motorcycle officers from police forces across the state.
"I don't know that anybody rode in more parades in the history of Mardi Gras than (Sheriff Lee) because he was in all of them," Normand said. "He was an icon in so many ways. He influenced so many walks of life. He always had a vision bigger than just the Sheriff's Office."
Lee's daughter, Cynthia Lee Sheng, said support shown toward her family since her father's death has been outstanding, and noted that every day she is reminded of how many lives her father touched.
"It's been this way for the past few months. It's just so surprising," said Sheng, who said, and Normand echoed the sentiment, that people often stop her on the street to share stories about the sheriff. "The community support from my father's passing has been so incredible."
Though the krewe has long had a king -- this year celebrity wrestler Hulk Hogan will serve as Bacchus -- Hunt said the position of grand marshal is a recent development. Lee rode with the first grand marshal, country music star Willie Nelson, in the first post-Katrina Bacchus parade in 2006. Last year's grand marshal was Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
Though Lee was not an official member, he did favors for the krewe, such as regularly providing police escorts for celebrity kings arriving at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Lee also provided Bacchus' grand marshal float, which he had built as a personal carriage for his appearances in Jefferson Parish parades.
"He's done so much for the area and he's been such a dear friend, it's perfectly appropriate," Bacchus Captain Pip Brennan said of the decision to memorialize Lee.
Hunt, an artist and poster publisher, was a longtime friend of Lee and an occasional collaborator on altruistic projects. In 2000 they produced a poster commemorating the opening of the National World War II Museum, then the D-Day Museum, which was given to veterans. In 1985 they created a poster for Farm Aid, the 1986 benefit concert.
In that tradition, Hunt has issued an edition of 500 posters in Lee's memory, depicting a trio of Carnival-colored angels. Each print is autographed by a cadre of celebrities who were acquainted with the sheriff: Nicolas Cage, Steven Seagal, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Gerald McRaney, David Carradine, Robert Carradine, Keith Carradine and Nelson. Each poster includes a black Lee doubloon; framed posters also include a bronze version of the doubloon.
Hunt said proceeds from the posters, which sell for $250 or $450 framed, will be donated in Lee's name to establish a research grant with the Leukemia Foundation. Lee died of the disease in October. He was 75.
Posters are available on Hunt's Web site, www.huntstudio.com, or by calling (504) 392
01-18-08, 06:14 PM #2
Wish I could be there to get one of the coins. Wow, what a collector's peice to honor a great and good man. May he rest in peace!
Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
[George Washington (1732 - 1799)]
01-18-08, 06:49 PM #3
I sure miss Mardi Gras I lived through them from 65 to 68 What a ball things were a lot more lax in those days. Hell I even saw a cop taking a whiz outside.
Pretty women make us BUY beer. Ugly women make us DRINK beer. --Al Bundy
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