- Daigle’s removal from the event comes after New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell expressed concerns over the singer’s appearance at a “Let Us Worship Rally” on Nov. 7 — a response to restrictions placed on houses of worship due to the pandemic, according to the Christian Post.
- The event, held in New Orleans’ French Quarter, didn’t have a permit and violated public health guidelines, according to Religion News Service. A video tweeted Nov. 7 shows Daigle singing the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” at the rally.
Why it matters now
On Dec. 9, Cantrell wrote a letter to Dick Clark Productions saying she could not “in good conscience” support Daigle’s participation in “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” which is being broadcast live from New Orleans for the Central Time Zone, according to Religion News Service.
- “She harmed our people, she risked the lives of our residents, and she strained our first responders in a way that is unconscionable — in the midst of a public health crisis,” Cantrell wrote, according to Religion News Service. “This is not who we are, and she cannot be allowed to represent New Orleans or the people she willfully endangered.”
- But, according to Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, the controversy is a “misunderstanding,” Christian Post reported.
- Nungesser said Daigle was not officially a part of the event but rather had been riding her bike nearby when she heard people praying for hospitality workers and stopped to join them, according to the Christian Post. She was then invited to sing.
- Daigle believed the event to be authorized because police officials and barricades were present, NOLA.com reported.
Upon Daigle’s removal from the New Year’s Eve lineup, Nungesser canceled the state’s $500,000 contract to help cover the New Year’s Eve telecast’s production costs and called Cantrell’s letter “hateful, horrible, nasty, mean, unbelievable,” according to NOLA.com (the state has helped cover the New Orlean segment’s production costs for the past four years).
- “To try to destroy someone like that … I’m speechless,” he said.
What happens next?
- The New Orleans segment of the New Year’s Eve event is still scheduled to take place. And, according to NOLA.com, all of the controversy surrounding Daigle is ironic since the singer was never even officially booked to appear on the program. While there were discussions about Daigle possibly participating more than a month ago, an official offer was reportedly never made.
- Daigle said in a statement Dec. 17 that she had never been confirmed to perform on “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”: “I would have been, and still would be, honored to represent our city on New Year’s Eve, and although I was aware of discussions regarding my involvement, an offer was never made,” she said.
- “I have wept, pleading for this chaos to dissipate and for harmony to return,” the singer continued, according to Religion News Service. “We need unity when people are desperate, suffering, starving or out of work.”
- A host for the Central Time Zone countdown in New Orleans hasn’t been announced yet. But it won’t be Daigle.
- “The show will go on,” New Orleans City Councilwoman Helena Moreno said, according to NOLA.com. “It will showcase that the city will be open soon for business after COVID. I commend the mayor for looking forward and putting together an event that the people of the city can be proud of.”
- Daigle performed her hit “You Say” on “The Voice” finale earlier this week, and was the guest artist for BYUtv’s Christmas special “Christmas Under the Stars,” which premiered Dec. 6. That event was filmed in August and featured a socially-distanced audience.
- “How wonderful it was to see the unity on peoples’ faces and to see how this music can bring joy to so many hearts,” Daigle told the Deseret News earlier this month. “I am eagerly waiting to get back on the road. I love so much getting to perform in front of people, getting to bring messages of hope to people, getting to see people genuinely impacted. That’s something that I want to be a part of forever.”