Hogan to reign over New Orleans' Bacchus


NEW ORLEANS -- Hulk Hogan will reign as celebrity king when the annual Bacchus parade rolls through New Orleans on Feb. 3, two days before Mardi Gras.

Each year the Krewe of Bacchus' 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 was Bacchus' relationship with the hospital.

"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 Owen "Pip" Brennan, captain of the Krewe of Bacchus.

"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," Brennan said.

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

James Gandolfini, star of the hit HBO series "The Sopranos," was Bacchus' celebrity monarch last year.

Hogan and Laila Ali will co-host NBC's "American Gladiators," a revival of the '90s competition series. The new edition debuts Jan. 6.