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Priest Resigns Over Mardi Gras Picture

May 6, 2002

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HOUMA, La. (AP) _ A Roman Catholic priest has resigned as pastor of a church after a coffee table book showed him shirtless in a Mardi Gras crowd next to a drag queen and well-muscled men in biking shorts.

The Rev. Thomas Bouterie, 47, pastor of the St. Louis Church in Bayou Blue, appeared in the book ``Masking and Madness.″

``The Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux feels that these photographs could be a source of scandal for some and, thus, prevent Father Bouterie from effectively exercising his ministry,″ diocesan spokesman Louis Aguirre said in a statement Monday.

In a statement, Bouterie said ``no allegations of abuse of any kind have been made″ against him.

The photos were taken last year in New Orleans’ French Quarter, which is known for raucous partying on Mardi Gras.

Parishioner Richard Luquette said he was troubled by Bouterie’s resignation.

``If you are going to judge somebody’s dress at Mardi Gras, you must not be from here,″ Luquette said. ``If Jesus came to Mardi Gras, where would he be? I have a feeling he would be right there.″

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