Mugging for selfies with the 9-foot “Hatched Baby” sculpture outside of La Crosse City Hall has become de rigueur for locals and tourists alike. But an intoxicated, underage drinker learned that mugging the armless, defenseless icon can lead to trouble.

The mugging occurred at about 2 a.m. Friday, when La Crosse police officer Cordero Gilliam was leaving headquarters to go on patrol and observed a group of people walking north on Sixth Street, according to a police report.

“When the group approached the Blue Baby, I could hear a female’s voice shout, ‘No, don’t do that,’” Cordero wrote in his report. “I observed a male punching and shoving the Blue Baby.”

Cordero approached the assailant and asked him for ID. The man told him he didn’t have an ID but offered another person’s Wisconsin ID, explaining that he had found it, according to the report.

The man, identified as Carter Halverson, 19, admitted that he had been downtown, consuming alcohol, the report said. He submitted to a preliminary breath test, recording a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent, above the 0.8 percent at which a person is presumed to be intoxicated for driving purposes.

Cordero issued Halverson a citation for underage alcohol consumption, which carries a $250 fine.

A tongue-in-cheek entry on the LCPD’s Facebook page said, “We have had issues in the past of people picking fights with inanimate objects, like parking gates. The one this weekend, though, just was not a fair fight.”

Blue Baby bandaged

A tongue-in-cheek entry on the La Crosse Police Department's Facebook page includes a bandage applied artfully to a photo of the mugged Blue Baby, which officially is titled "Hatched Baby."

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The Facebook entry noted that the Blue Baby is defenseless, having no arms to ward off such an attack.

The post, which includes the hashtag of #DontMessWithBlueBaby, features a photo of the statue, with a large bandage artfully applied to the photo (but not the statue).

The fiberglass sculpture is part of Friedberg, Germany, artist Wolfgang Auer’s Blue Baby project. Friedberg is one of La Crosse’s sister cities, and the statue was presented to the city for free in 2017, but it took months for the city’s Arts Board to decide where to put it, finally opting to have it installed on the southeast lawn of City Hall.

Local reaction is mixed, with many people flocking to it for selfies of admiration or disdain, and others wishing they could, well, mug it.

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(4) comments


No sledge hammer nearby? Too bad.

Rick Czeczok

Councils great blue baby fiasco. Shows the mentality of the council. Get rid of this garbage, and stop embarrassing the city.

let it go

Let's see how many people who are drinking and underage get a ticket this weekend during Oktoberfest.


Maybe he found the statue to be offensive.

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