Christian singer Lauren Daigle has released a statement in response to claims that she was dropped from a New Year's Eve TV show and replied to criticism of her involvement in a worship rally.
News reports claimed that Daigle had been dropped from the New Orleans segment of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve on ABC after the New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell criticised her for joining in a worship session which was seen as controversial for not obeying social distancing.
The 'Let Us Worship' gatherings were held by worship leader Sean Feucht and the mayor said they were not permitted and were in violation of public health restrictions.
"She harmed our people, she risked the lives of our residents, and she strained our first responders in a way that is unconscionable," he wrote.
However, Daigle has responded saying her involvement was spontaneous and that she had not yet been confirmed for the TV show.
On Thursday evening, she wrote: "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 polarising 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, honoured 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."
The singer is still performing a Christmas online concert this weekend and was a guest performance on the American finale of The Voice this week.