Christian singer Lauren Daigle spoke out Thursday about the controversy surrounding her potential slot on ABC’s Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, saying although she was never officially offered a position on the program, she was aware of the discussions and would be “honored” if she were still allowed to perform.

The controversy began last week, when a letter from New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell to Dick Clark Productions became public. Daigle “cannot and should not be rewarded with national media exposure,” Cantrell wrote, apparently referencing a schedule that had not been made public. Daigle would have sung from Jackson Square.

Cantrell criticized Daigle for singing at an outdoor worship service during the Covid-19 pandemic, saying she had “endangered lives.”

“I ask that you immediately remove Ms. Daigle from the lineup for New Year’s Eve,” Cantrell wrote.

Daigle, in a statement posted on The Times-Picayune website, said the controversy was sparked by a misunderstanding.

“To be clear, I had no part in creating or planning the event that took place in the French Quarter last month,” Daigle said. “I was not scheduled to perform, and I was not a part of its promotion. Out riding my bike with a friend, I saw NOPD barricades set in place and uniformed police officers providing protection for a gathering of people that had come to pray. I was asked to sing.

“To me,” she added, “that is the very moment when music serves its higher purpose. It’s what gives people encouragement, hope for a better future, and it’s what can usher joy into their hearts. My involvement was focused on lifting spirits, providing hope, and encouragement, during these polarizing times.

“I’m disappointed,” Daigle said, “that my spontaneous participation has become part of the political discourse and I’m saddened by the divisive agendas of these times.”

Although she never was officially invited, Daigle said, she still would be glad to perform.

“I would have been, and still would be, honored to represent our city on New Year’s Eve and although I was aware of discussions regarding my involvement, an offer was never made,” she said. “I have wept, pleading for this chaos to dissipate and for harmony to return. We need unity when people are desperate, suffering, starving or out of work.

“I have a deep and profound love for the state of Louisiana, for the city of New Orleans and the people that reside here,” she concluded. “I want to thank everyone who has offered kind words and support. They have been a balm for my soul throughout this process.”

Following is Daigle’s full statement:

“I love the city of New Orleans. Its music, culture and creative people are unlike any other, and its rich history should be celebrated. That is what my work within the city has always focused on – my deep desire to see New Orleans and its music scene flourish.

“To be clear, I had no part in creating or planning the event that took place in the French Quarter last month. I was not scheduled to perform, and I was not a part of its promotion. Out riding my bike with a friend, I saw NOPD barricades set in place and uniformed police officers providing protection for a gathering of people that had come to pray. I was asked to sing.

“To me, that is the very moment when music serves its higher purpose. It’s what gives people encouragement, hope for a better future, and it’s what can usher joy into their hearts. My involvement was focused on lifting spirits, providing hope, and encouragement, during these polarizing times.

“I’m disappointed that my spontaneous participation has become part of the political discourse and I’m saddened by the divisive agendas of these times.

“I would have been, and still would be, honored to represent our city on New Year’s Eve and although I was aware of discussions regarding my involvement, an offer was never made. I have wept, pleading for this chaos to dissipate and for harmony to return. We need unity when people are desperate, suffering, starving or out of work.

“I have a deep and profound love for the state of Louisiana, for the city of New Orleans and the people that reside here. I want to thank everyone who has offered kind words and support. They have been a balm for my soul throughout this process.”