An 11-year-old girl with autism whose Mardi Gras was ruined by rude behavior from a drunk got a second chance to celebrate in New Orleans Friday after her story spread like wildfire across the Internet and social networks.

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Emily Mueller (pictured, second from left) was watching last Thursday along the crowded Muses parade route—her favorite parade during the Crescent City’s famous street carnival, according to her mother Amy—when she had beer spilled on her and was called nasty names by a young adult and his friends.

This Thursday, Amy Mueller took to her blog to relate the heartbreaking tale of how her daughter, who counted the days to the all-female parade on her calendar, broke down in the face of the abusive comments and asked to go home after no amount of comforting could restore her peace of mind.

Emily Mueller’s story was quickly picked up on Facebook and other social media outlets, going “viral” inthe words of local TV news station WDSU. Within a matter of hours, there was a growing group of people brainstorming online for a way to somehow salvage Emily’s Mardi Gras experience.

That’s when the Krewe of Muses got wind of what was happening. The Krewe, one of New Orleans’ secretive social organizations that prepare and pay for elaborate Mardi Gras floats months ahead of the week-long festival, maintains a private sanctum called the Muses Den. Krewes don’t typically allow outsiders into their dens, especially after the conclusion of Mardi Gras, but Muses members were happy to make an exception for Emily Mueller.

The Muses threw a special, one-of-a-kind party for one of their biggest fans on Friday, giving Emily a tour of the den and an up-close look at their Mardi Gras floats—including the flagship, a 17-foot tall “fiber optic shoe” that carries the Krewe’s Honorary Muse each year (past honorees have included Charmaine Neville and Mary Matalin).

The Krewe of Muses was founded in 2000 and has approximately 1,100 members. The all-female Krewe holds its parade of 25 floats on the Thursday before Mardi Gras.