NEW ORLEANS - Will Ferrell called it "the most special component" of his Bacchus reign. Friday, Ferrell and Krewe leaders visited Children's Hospital in uptown New Orleans.
He showed up flinging hundreds of doubloons in the crowd of patients, family members and hospital staff.
When Bacchus Executive Director Owen Brennan presented Ferrell with a giant plaque of his King's Doubloon, Ferrell responded, "Thank you, thank you very much for this. I can't wait to turn it into a necklace."
Ferrell is in New Orleans shooting a film called "Dog Fight," a political comedy co-starring Zach Galifianakis and Jason Sudeikis.
He is now Bacchus XLIV, following in the tradition of stars like Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Charlton Heston, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Hulk Hogan, Drew Brees and last year's monarch, Andy Garcia.
"This is such an honor for me," Ferrell said from the podium. "This is my first Mardi Gras. To be, not only here, but to be part of the Bacchus organization. To be King. The King. Hail me."
Ferrell didn't speak long, but did take time to pose for dozens of pictures with Children's Hospital patients.
"He's got three young children, an 8, a 5 and a 3, all three boys," Bacchus Executive Director Owen Brennan said of Ferrell. "So, this was really close to his heart, and that's what he said, he said, that's one of the main reasons that he agreed to do this under these circumstances. He's been away from his family for three months, living in New Orleans and filming, and we wanted to get back."
But Owen Brennan said, Ferrell agreed to stay in New Orleans and reign as Bacchus XLIV in large part, because of Friday's trip to Children's Hospital.
Families of patients said, they appreciated that.
"He was actually just kind of nervous, he was kind of moving around," Tristan Delcambre said of her young cousin, a patient at Children's. "I kind of had to push him, like he wanted to do it, but he didn't know how to do it. It was really exciting for him, but he didn't know how to react."
Except, she said, to smile.
Bacchus rolls on its traditional uptown route Sunday night.