NEW ORLEANS – After counting down the days until the Muses parade, a high functioning autistic child and her mother sat on the route that Thursday night anticipating the sights to come.
Before the parade began, a group of 20-somethings stood in front of them while lackadaisically drinking, smoking and using profane language.
As the parade got underway, the group was pushed back into the spot that Emily Mueller, 11, and her mother had staked out for hours. Drinks were spilling and Emily was nearly burned by a cigarette.
Things only got worse when her mother asked the group to be cautious of their movements and words.
“This retard is making watching the parade a challenge,” the man shouted.
At that point, Emily's evening of Carnival fun ended.
"'Mama. please, can we go home? He told everyone I’m a retard. I’m not a retard, am I, Mama?' she asked. The grin was gone, replaced by a quivering lip. The sparkle in her eyes had dispersed, and they were now filled with a flow of tears falling down her full, pink cheeks," her mother wrote in a blog post.
The night was ruined, Emily was hurt, the mother and daughter traveled home and Carnival was over for the pair.
"It’s probably a night he won’t remember the next morning but it’s something she’ll always remember," Emily's mother said.
That was until Muses got wind of the story and on Friday hosted "Emily-Gras" at their den.
There were at least 70 people at the event and they had a lot to say about the incident:
- “It was the most heartbreaking story and Mardi Gras should be all about kids and good, clean fun, not idiots. So, my whole float got together, we call ourselves the ‘Flamingos’ and everyone wanted to, well half of them are here, bring shoes and throws. We wanted to show Emily that the Muses are all about fun and kids and a great time,” Muses krewe member Renee Rich said.
- “It’s everyone’s holiday. She should have been able to sit there and enjoy. Even though this incident happened to her, we just want to try and make it right,” said Raymond Oelking, a 610 Stomper.
- “I hope all of us, adults and kids alike, remember that we really have to pay attention to what we say and how we treat others and it makes all the difference in the world,” Muses krewe member Kathleen Parke said.
Emily's mother said comments similar to the aformentioned were all over the Internet.
"They really meant a lot to her. They have really enforced in her that there’s nothing wrong with her and that she’s fine just as she is," she said.
The family moved to the Northshore five years ago from the Minnesota/Wisconsin area.
"The thing that we loved about the city was how people just love each other, embrace each other. It was like a big family. For us, that was something we never experienced. This really reminded me why we chose this to be our home and why we really love the city as much as we do," Emily's mother said.
As for Emily, she was "overwhelmed" by all the attention.
"I feel like special…this is awesome," she said.
See the original post by Emily’s mother.