The more than 13-hour delay by New Orleans police to investigate a burglary at the New Movement Theater on St. Claude Avenue (New Orleans Advocate, front page, Aug. 6) stands in direct contrast to the speedy arrival of police Uptown a few weeks ago.
In late July, a posse of blue-shirted Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals agents swinging huge nets alighted from four transport trucks and converged on a flock of feral chickens led by three small, but proud, bantam roosters. The flock’s territory, staked out in those dark months just after Katrina, encompassed two houses with yards, three medical offices, an abandoned office building and large parking lots across from Ochsner Baptist Medical Center,
The SPCA operatives were running around my parking lot like chickens with their heads cut off trying to catch chickens with attached heads. As they ran amok in my property, frightening the chickens, interfering with patients trying to park and even climbing under an adjacent house, I asked the SPCA to leave my property.
Within minutes, not 13 plus hours as on St. Claude, two Second District police officers followed by supervisory rank descended on what now was a crime scene. I was told that the SPCA did not need a search warrant to invade private property while chasing feral chickens. Looking directly into their prominently displayed body cams, I asked what had happened to the rights of property owners? I was told I would be arrested if I interfered with the ongoing chicken hunt.
Feral chickens, as it happens, symbolize the resiliency of people and other animals who call New Orleans home. After Katrina, sightings of free-roaming chickens preceded the return of former residents in neighborhoods all over New Orleans. Their emergence was a harbinger of our repopulation. I know. I was here in those post-Katrina weeks of post-catastrophe silence. The quiet skies were testimony to how most feathered creatures, just like people, either fled or perished.
We now have flocks of wild chickens living in harmony with our urban environment — roosting in trees, scrounging for food, feasting on insect pests, making love and raising families. While bantam roosters do crow, their crowing pales by comparison with cars blasting loud music and unregulated amplified noise from establishments all over the city. Business owners on St. Claude Avenue and elsewhere should call the SPCA the next time they need an NOPD presence, especially if there is a rooster crowing in the background.