Here's what New Orleans sent me about 2018's WrestleMania measles

Uh, thanks, hackers.

Sheamus and Cesaro’s New Orleans-themed entrance at WrestleMania 34 in 2018. (Photo: WWE.com)

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I drafted this months ago and never published it until now. I don’t remember why I held off, but right now feels like an appropriate time.


As the coronavirus pandemic worsened, but before the live event portion of WrestleMania was cancelled, I found myself thinking about the last few years of Mania week. Specifically, all of the—mostly anecdotal, in all fairness—stories of people getting sick as soon as they got home. For me, personally, the last couple years, I pretty much only get sick coming off of wrestling-related trips, even getting sick after last year’s Mania week, where I didn’t fly but was around tons of people who have. In particular, though, I thought about two years ago in New Orleans, and how major communicable diseases defined the weekend in some ways.

Nick Gage already had pneumonia going into the trip, Bobby Fulton contracted it at some point (I don’t remember when and Google isn’t helping, either), and AIW promoter John Thorne caught it at some point during the trip, getting hit hard on his way home to Cleveland. (If you’ve never heard his overview of what happened, that episode of AIW’s The Card is Going to Change podcast is a fascinating listen.) Whether John caught it from Nick, Bobby, or someone else, I have no idea, but “someone else” seems likely, because he got an unusually aggressive strain of pneumonia that nearly killed him. When I say “unusually aggressive,” I mean that he was told in the hospital that he had a type of pneumonia that one of the people treating him told him that it was one they generally expected to see in AIDS patients. Thankfully, he recovered and he’s fine now, but it was a big scare.

What made headlines, though, was that a fan from the United Kingdom was being treated in a New Orleans hospital for measles, with those who came into close contact with the tourist being notified of the situation. All that was really known was what flight the fan had been on and that they went to the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony. If they went to any other shows before being hospitalized, it never came out. With all of that in mind a few weeks ago, I filed record requests with both the Louisiana Department of Health and the city of New Orleans’s health department to see if they had any documents that might shed light on what happened.

The LDH replied pretty quickly with a “no responsive documents” letter because “all LDH records responsive to your request are confidential under the provisions of La. R.S. 40:3.1 as records related to a public health investigation.” Then a few weeks passed, during which I forgot that I had even requested anything from New Orleans: Thanks to a cyberattack that made its own headlines this past December, “the City does not have any access to old email records that may have been responsive to this request.” That said, “the City was only able to locate two hand-written pages of notes on the issue.”

Well, OK then!

There was no provenance provided explaining who wrote the notes or how the notes correspond to anything else, so, uh, we’re on our own with this, I guess.


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