New Orleans Orders Artist to Cover Up the Bare Facts

--In New Orleans, the city that featured bare-breasted mermaids at its 1984 World's Fair, an artist has been forced to cover a fiberglass statue of a naked New Year's baby with a diaper. The anatomically correct infant boy is the centerpiece of the New Year's Eve celebration at the Jackson Brewery along the Mississippi River. "It's a baby, that's all it is," said Blaine Kern Jr., who is famous for his wild Mardi Gras floats. "It's a little boy. Everybody knows what little children look like." After Kern hoisted the baby to the sixth floor of the shopping arcade--on a tower just below the lighted ball that will signal the start of 1986--he was ordered to cover up the infant. "This is so prudish. It wasn't like we were trying to upset people," Kern said. "Being an artist, you don't think about people's morals." Kern admitted the now-diapered infant, which has a crazy grin and a swollen belly, is sort of a "Bacchanalian baby." People come to New Orleans to forget their cares, Kern said. "It's the prudish people in this world who cause dissension."

--Television correspondent Sam Donaldson, defending his aggressive interviewing techniques, told TV Guide: "Presidents like reporters who get in there and play. This President--he was an actor--he likes people with the knack." The ABC journalist added: "I'm not advocating rudeness or impertinence for impertinence's sake, but I'm far more worried about the reporters who are either too afraid or too disinclined to ask questions and to fight for answers than I am about the reporters who may be overzealous." As for people who don't think a President should be questioned so sharply, Donaldson said: "I guess they want a king or a Pope."

--The "Happy New Heart Year" rang in a little early for 10 Michigan residents who gathered in Detroit to greet the new year and give thanks for the gift of life they received with their new hearts. The bash was sponsored by Henry Ford Hospital's Heart and Vascular Institute of Detroit, which began performing the delicate operations in April. "The procedure is so good in terms of the quality of life, and that's the drawing card," said Dr. Frazer Keith, the program chief. "Sometimes survival is limited to a matter of months, sometimes weeks or days." Said the program's first patient, David Butts of Kalamazoo: "I never realized how sick I was. I'd probably be pushing up daisies." Butts, 38, received a heart from a 24-year-old suburban Detroit man April 23 because his own was in the last stages of heart disease. He plans to get married in April.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World