After a weekend of backlash, the owner of two Mid City restaurants has deleted a post from his personal Facebook account showing a customer holding a hammer and wearing a bloody T-shirt that read, “Where’s Nancy?” Rock ‘n’ Bowl and Ye Olde College Inn owner John Blancher posted the photo of the “costume,” a reference to the violent attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband last week, with the caption, “First entry for best costume tonight.”
Blancher’s Facebook post was quickly picked up by social media, including by Instagram account Homegrown Terrorists, and then by local TV news station WWL. Blancher responded to the station with a statement saying, in part: “No one is in favor of the attack on Paul Pelosi. Costumes have been often offensive during Halloween and Mardi Gras for generations. It should not be interpreted any other way.”
Meanwhile a new low at the World Famous Mid City Lanes Rock ‘n’ Bowl pic.twitter.com/rU2Wh4VEJ0— Michael Tisserand (@m_tisserand) October 30, 2022
Open for more than 30 years on South Carrollton Avenue, Blancher — and Rock ‘n’ Bowl by proxy — has a reputation for supporting right-wing views and political actions. In 2018, when the City of New Orleans was in the process of removing various Confederate monuments, the venue hosted a fundraiser for the Monumental Task Committee, which campaigned to have the monuments re-erected in Orleans Parish. After speaking out against the city’s COVID-19 policies early on in the pandemic, in 2021, Blancher filmed an odd video monologuing about New Orleans being a worse place for residents and businesses during the pandemic than in the months following Hurricane Katrina. Another recent post on Blancher’s Facebook page is a meme mocking trans and non-binary people. New comment threads now appear below many of Blancher’s earlier posts, admonishing the since-deleted image.
Blancher has not addressed the backlash to the post on his account nor Rock ‘n’ Bowl’s social media pages. Rock ‘n’ Bowl has, however, since posted a photo of Blancher dressed as Hugh Hefner, posing with women dressed as Playboy bunnies; Instagram comments have been disabled.