After All the Drama, Big Freedia is Named as the Host of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in New Orleans


Big Freedia performs at the Red Bull Dance Your Style Competition Aug 3, 2019. Photo Credit: Jenn Bentley

Today Mayor LaToya Cantrell released a statement announcing that Big Freedia will host “Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin Eve with Ryan Seacrest” this year. PJ Morton will perform “Auld Lang Syne” at the event. 

Mayor Cantrell commented, “We are beyond excited that Big Freedia and PJ Morton, two of New Orleans’ brightest musical lights, will be shining for our city and before the entire world as we ring in the new year. Even though we won’t be watching this performance in person, we will be watching from the safety of our homes as ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2021’ rings in the new year with that special New Orleans flavor.” 

Big Freedia, the Queen of Bounce, has made a name for herself in New Orleans and across the country with her several albums and notable collaborations with big stars like Kesha, Lizzo, Beyonce, and Icona Pop. She also has been involved in helping New Orleans film public service announcements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This is particular notable considering how Lauren Daigle, an artist who was previously considered for the role of host, was ousted from the position after being called out for flaunting COVID-19 guidelines. 

Daigle famously held a rally and concert in November which inspired hundreds of people to show up maskless, in front of Jackson Square where they crammed together dancing and singing

Cantrell’s statement on Big Freedia contrasts sharply with the scathing letter she sent to Dick Clark Productions upon hearing about Daigle’s consideration for the role as host, stating that she “cannot be allowed to represent New Orleans.” 

Cantrell elaborated that she “placed my residents in danger and threatened the tremendous progress New Orleans has made in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.”

After learning that Cantrell had written to Dick Clark Productions asking for Daigle’s removal, Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser issued a statement announcing that the state’s $500,000 contribution to New Orleans holding the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve celebration was entirely contingent on Daigle hosting it. 

Cantrell fired back that New Orleans would just cover the entire cost then. New Orleans is now set to pay $62,500 per minute of air time for 8 minutes on the New Year’s Eve broadcast. The money will come from the New Orleans Tourism and Cultural Fund, which is supposed to support New Orleans artists and musicians who have been out of work for months due to the pandemic. 

City Council member Kristin Giselson Palmer commented on the large amount, “This sounds to me like it’s $500,000 for four minutes during a period when our artists are out of work and I feel like this is not what this fund was created for.”

Cantrell, perhaps addressing this controversy, included in her statement today, “ We’re also excited that this event will employ nearly 70 local crew members, many of whom have been shut out of production jobs due to the pandemic, and that the world will remember that New Orleans will be the safest place to visit and enjoy our music and culture in 2021.”


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