The Holocaust Memorial in Woldenberg Park was temporarily turned into an employee/volunteer break area, complete with booze, during the National Fried Chicken Festival this past weekend.
Ann Maloney reports that Max Gaudin saw it as he was passing by the festival. "The fried chicken fest on the river has a lounge inside of the New Orleans Holocaust Memorial. They're serving beer inside of it,” Gaudin posted on his Facebook page. Criticism was soon leveled on the festival, now in its second year.
Cleveland Spears, Jr, owner and CEO of Spears Group (the group that puts on the festival), swiftly issued an apology and an assurance that the memorial would be safeguarded next year.
"The significance of the Holocaust Memorial was factored into the planning of the festival," the organizers said in a statement obtained by the Times-Picayune. "In preparation for potentially more than 100,000 attendees, festival organizers restricted access to the memorial by only allowing volunteers and staff in this area to prevent it from overcrowding, litter, vandalism and other general disregard.”
"It was not a lounge and was not accessible to the public. It was closed and barricaded and used as a check-in area and lunch area for our staff and our volunteers. That was done by design to protect the space," the organizers also said.
This year’s National Fried Chicken Festival brought 166,000 people to Woldenberg Park for two days of fried chicken eating. The award for the best fried chicken went to The Original Fiorella’s Cafe.