- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Amid the craze over virtual characters in the smartphone-based “Pokemon Go” game, a Pokemon that people can touch in the physical world has mysteriously appeared in New Orleans.

Someone put up a statue of the iconic Pokemon, Pikachu, at the center of a broken fountain in a park over the weekend. Pictures show a defiant looking Pikachu with his arms folded standing on a cement base with a Pokeball on the side. The inscription “#POKEMONUMENT” is also written in the cement .

Pokemon fans have been visiting the statue in the city’s upscale Lower Garden District, posing for photos with family and posting selfies with the statue on social media. One picture shows someone in a Pikachu costume posing with it.

“The kids are fans and I’m just kind of amused at how something so heavy can appear so quickly,” said New Orleans resident, Jennifer Curry, who came with her two children to see the statue. A friend who lives around the corner had told them about the statue.

The statue of Pikachu - described by Curry’s daughter Kylie as similar to a mouse albeit one that can shoot electric lightening balls - is standing atop a pedestal with its arms crossed, ears back and looking fiercely out over the park.

Lara Viator was on vacation in New Orleans from Rhinebeck, New York, when she and her kids heard about the statute.

“A friend of mine does tours and he knew that the boys were into Pokemon,” she said. “They wanted to come see it. … It’s funny how it just popped up.”

New Orleans police say they haven’t received any complaints about the statue, don’t know where it came from and don’t plan to do anything about it.

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