NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A woman who rode in the Krewe of Freret parade as a guest Saturday (Feb. 23) was banned for life for using throws to promote Lee Circle and other Confederate monuments, according to our news partners at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.
Mimi Owens told NOLA.com she threw “Forever Lee Circle" beads -- pendants of Robert E. Lee that Owens created and sold last year after his statue was removed. She also threw yellow penalty flags with an image of Lee Circle’ statute being removed with the words "Saints fans think they were robbed!!!”
Owens made the flags herself, NOLA.com reported.
The krewe’s captain, Bobby Hjortsberg, told NOLA.com they investigated after hearing reports of Confederate-themed throws and learned Owens was responsible. Hjortsberg said Owens used their parade to “exercise her own political agenda,” a decision he said “won’t be tolerated.”
“[Owens] will no longer ride with us or ever ride with Legion of Mars again,” Hjortsberg told NOLA.com.
Hjortsberg said Freret is one of the “most gender and racially diverse” parade group in the city and Owen’s agenda is not in line with their inclusive views.
According to NOLA.com, Owens was a guest of a Legion of Mars krewe member, the group that rides with Freret and is part of a larger organization that honors veterans.
Owens told NOLA.com she does not agree with the krewe’s interpretation of the throws, denying they were meant to be political and saying their decision to kick her out is what politicized the issue.
“I’m not racist, I’m not a white supremacist and my bead is not racist,” Owens said told NOLA.com.
She also said she got her throws approved by the krewe member who invited her to ride.
In response to NOLA.com’s report, Owens posted on the Forever Lee’s Circle Facebook page that she, “never followed the rules in high school and I still don’t.” She ended the post with three hashtags -- #ThrowWhatChaWanna, #SorryNotSorry and #ScreamForLee.
Owens was notified of her ban by the Legion of Mars,who demanded she apologize to the public, their members and the Krewe of Freret, NOLA.com reported.
According to NOLA.com, Owens said she was not the only rider throwing Forever Lee Circle beads. Hjortsberg said they are still investigating but did not know of anyone else throwing them.
The Krewe of Freret are not alone in denouncing throws containing political messaging -- city municipal codes forbid riders from throwing anything that “displays, conveys or communicates any commercial, political or religious message."