Hulk Hogan is King Bacchus for Mardi Gras-season parade

Hulk Hogan was named King Bacchus by the Carnival group that first brought celebrities to lead their parades; he was over the moon at the honor of leading in Mardi Gras

“This is better than winning the World Wrestling Federation championship and slamming Andre the Giant!” he told a small crowd of patients, parents, doctors and other employees in a parking lot outside Children’s Hospital. “It’s just now hitting me how big this is and what an honor it is.”

Waiting for Hulk were children in blankets who tapped feet clad in wooly socks, tennis shoes and slippers to the Bucktown All Stars brass band.

The AP reported that Hogan brought Lexie Hayles, a 10-year-old cystic fibrosis patient from Abita Springs, and 12-year-old Carl Barre, a leukemia patient from New Orleans, up to the podium with him.

Each year the Krewe of Bacchus’ celebrity king visits Children’s Hospital to meet the patients. In a statement released Tuesday by Bacchus officials, the celebrity wrestler said one reason he accepted the offer to lead this year’s parade was Bacchus’ relationship with the hospital.

“This is where I steal all my energy to get through the weekend,” joked Hogan, who went into the hospital afterward to talk to children who couldn’t get outside.

Bacchus parades on Sunday. Hogan said he planned to spend part of Saturday visiting areas of New Orleans that haven’t recovered from Hurricane Katrina’s floods in 2005.

“It’s really great to see the whole city recovering,” he said. “I want to see some of the areas that haven’t recovered yet.”

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