Emmy award-winning actor Woody Harrelson of "Cheers"
was dumped Wednesday as grand marshal of one of the largest
Carnival parades in New Orleans because he took part in
a peace rally.
Harrelson, who plays bartender Woody Boyd on the NBC series,
was to head the Endymion parade Feb. 9, the weekend before
Parade officials rescinded the invitation because they said
Harrelson had become politically involved in opposition
to America's role in the Persian Gulf war.
"While recognizing that Mr. Harrelson, like every American,
has the right of opinion and expression, the Board of Endymion
reminds all that New Orleans Mardi Gras is non-political,"
the organization said in a prepared statement.
As part of the parade, Endymion plans a patriotic salute
to U.S. troops serving in the Middle East.
Harrelson's ouster came after TV news reports this week
showed the actor applauding peace activist Ron Kovic during
a rally at the University of California, Los Angeles campus.
Parade officials also said their event would be marred by
any protests against Harrelson.
"Endymion is purely social, not political. We don't need
this kind of controversy," said Ed Muniz, Endymion Krewe
No word on a replacement was given.
Harrelson said he had no hard feelings against the group
but lamented the discord, saying it unfairly singled him
"The fact is that we've let our beliefs divide us," he
said in Los Angeles. "I never would consider myself an
activist, just a person who is kind of an everyman who got
caught up in this situation. Now I'm seeing my face all
over the news and I'm saying, `Wow, where did all this come
"To have people angry with me is a frightening thing. I'm
not angry at anyone because of their beliefs."
4 refugees land at Buffett's door
Four Cuban refugees found a slice of Margaritaville
along with probable freedom when they landed at singer Jimmy
Buffett's waterfront home in Key West, Fla., in an 18-foot
boat, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
Buffett spotted the two men and two women Wednesday and
"They came up for the concert, who knows?" said Coast
Guard Lt. Jeff Karonis in Miami. "Just another day in Margaritaville."
Buffett, who sings of living on sponge cake and watching
the sun bake in the tune he popularized, offered the refugees
souvenirs and refreshments.
"He came out and gave them all tapes and gave them all
drinks," Coast Guard Lt. Tom Criman said in Key West, which