- The Washington Times - Friday, December 18, 2020

Christian crossover artist Lauren Daigle is defending her appearance at an outdoor worship service held in violation of New Orleans’ COVID-19 restrictions last month, saying her impromptu performance — which has reportedly imperiled her participation in a New Year’s Eve television show on ABC — was spontaneous and “focused on lifting spirits.”

“I’m disappointed that my spontaneous participation has become part of the political discourse and I’m saddened by the divisive agenda of these times,” Ms. Daigle said in a statement published by New Orleans Advocate on Thursday.

Ms. Daigle, a 29-year-old bestselling Christian musician, said she was invited to sing at a rally organized last month in the French Quarter by Christian musician and activist Sean Feucht, whose “Let Us Worship” tour has popped up in cities across the country in protest of pandemic-related restrictions on worship and large gatherings. She said she had not planned to attend and was invited up after biking past the event.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell called last week for Ms. Daigle to be removed from upcoming broadcast of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” telecast to be filmed in the city for the Central Time Zone’s stroke of midnight celebration as retribution for supporting the unauthorized event.

“She harmed our people, she risked the lives of our residents, and she strained our first responders in a way that is unconscionable,” Ms. Cantrell wrote in a letter to Dick Clark Productions, published by New Orleans radio station WWL.

Mr. Feucht’s Nov. 7 performance in New Orleans drew a couple hundred people, according to local media reports, and did not receive a permit from the city.

Ms. Daigle clarified on Thursday that while she was “aware of discussions” regarding her appearance on the TV special, she had not been offered a contract.

A spokeswoman for Dick Clark Productions referred to Ms. Daigle’s statement when asked for a comment.

“I have wept, pleading for this chaos to dissipate and for harmony to return,” Ms. Daigle said in Thursday’s statement.

In a letter this week, Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser said Ms. Naigle, a New Orleans resident, had participated in a state tourism campaign singing “You Are My Sunshine” and her removal from the Dec. 31 show would cost New Orleans an “invaluable, worldwide promotion at a time when it’s needed most.”

Neither a representative for Mr. Feucht nor management for Ms. Daigle responded to inquiries by Friday evening.

“Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” has been a staple of end-of-year TV programming since 1972. This year’s iteration will be headlined by Jennifer Lopez.

• Christopher Vondracek can be reached at cvondracek@washingtontimes.com.

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