Why the Churchill Bust really had to go

To make room in the Oval Office for a real treasure, a Zulu Coconut:

“The Zulu Coconut is one of the most prized items to obtain all Mardi Gras season. Now Obama has got one!!!”

WASHINGTON — On Sunday morning at 9:37, Charles Hamilton Jr., president of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, and his first lady, Patricia Wade Hamilton, disembarked the Amtrak Crescent from New Orleans at Union Station in a Capital freshly dusted with snow. …

The Hamiltons brought the coconut to Washington, safely swaddled in their luggage, when they took the 27-hour train journey to the inauguration. Charles Hamilton refuses to fly. The new president, of course, was busy that week, so Hamilton left the coconut with [Senator Mary] Landrieu for safekeeping — and with the hope that Landrieu and [White House social secretary Desiree Glapion] Rogers could arrange delivery to the president. [Rogers is a native of New Orleans and reigned in 1988 and 2000 as Zulu Queen.]

On one side of the coconut there are images of an American flag, the White House and a banner reading, “President of the United States Barack Obama.” On the other side is the classic Zulu image of a black man in black face, with one eye and his lips circled in white.

The coconut, sanded smooth by Zulu member Don Washington, was painted by Eccles, who teaches art at Higgins High School in Marrero and turned the process of creating the presidential coconut into a schoolwide project and learning experience. Eccles counts the coconut as his proudest artistic achievement …