Source AP ©

Hulk Hogan to participate in New Orleans parade as Bacchus

New Orleans parade will have Hulk Hogan in the role of king in February.

In a statement released Tuesday by Bacchus officials, Hogan said one of the reasons he accepted the offer to reign as Bacchus XL was the club's special relationship with Children's Hospital. Each year, the Krewe of Bacchus' king visits Children's Hospital to meet the patients.

New Orleans has many different Mardi Gras clubs, which are known as krewes and sponsor lavish parades and balls.

A meeting with Hogan is one of the most requested "wishes" of the terminally ill children benefited by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Bacchus organization said.

"Hulk is also excited about being a part of Mardi Gras 2008 when New Orleans will show the world that our city is rebounding from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina," said Krewe of Bacchus Captain Owen "Pip" Brennan.

"But I think that the chance to visit Children's Hospital is what clinched the deal when we asked him to serve as Bacchus XL."

Hogan has autographed 1,000 copies of a special lithograph designed by artist Michael Hunt, the profits of which will be donated to the hospital.

Last year, actor James Gandolfini, star of the hit HBO series "The Sopranos," reigned as Bacchus' celebrity monarch. Past kings include William Shatner, Billy Crystal, Bob Hope, Michael Keaton, Nicolas Cage, John Lovitz, Jim Belushi, Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Ron Howard, Jackie Gleason and Raymond Burr.

Entertainer Danny Kaye was the first Bacchus in 1969. In 1981, Marine Sgt. John McKeel Jr., one of the former Iranian hostages, reigned as Bacchus.

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