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NEW ORLEANS -- The unexpected loss of a New Orleans East priest caused kids at the Resurrection of Our Lord to get a late Mardi Gras celebration.

Instead of letting the loss of Fr. Michael Joseph Vinh Nguyen cancel the event all together, Resurrection of Our Lord Church and School asked the archbishop for permission to host their Carnival coronation ball a little late.

Students from kindergarten to 8th grade participated in the school's court.

The principal says Nguyen was the key to having the church and school rebuilt, not just after it was devastated during Hurricane Katrina, but after an arsonist set fire to it.

'So, really this event is for him. It's just to celebrate everything that he was to our parish and to our students and to our faculty and staff. Because without him, this would certainly not be taking place tonight,' said Vickie Helmstetter, principal of Resurrection of Our Lord Church and School.

Fr. Nguyen suffered a stroke and unexpectedly passed away recently.

He was both the leader of Resurrection of Our Lord Church and a leader in the community.

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