A social media firestorm has taken hold of one Mandeville area neighborhood following a murder most fowl.
Residents of Forest Brook, a neighborhood on La. 1088 just south of Interstate 12, lashed out at each other on the Nextdoor app after one of the two ducks living in a pond near the neighborhood’s entrance was hit by a passing vehicle in early May, leaving feathers flying through the air and one female Pekin duck dead on the pavement.
Reactions from those in the neighborhood were swift, with many voicing their thoughts through Nextdoor, a private social media application that can be joined only by people who have their specific neighborhood set up on the app. Users then have to verify their identity and location to use the app, which is primarily intended to fight crime — something not too common in the suburban enclave.
Most of the comments on Nextdoor were deadly serious, even profanity-laced, and called for a review of camera footage to track down the duck’s killer.
"Can we get a look at the security tapes? Making an example of whoever did this might prevent it from happening again," one commenter wrote in the comment stream.
"Shame on anybody driving so fast because it could have been a child," said another.
"To the person that hit the duck you are an a******. If you did not see it you are a careless a******," read one of the more colorful comments.
Others took a different approach, such as a poem published by Sara Drewes as an "ode" to the now lone male duck that remains at the pond. It's unclear whether the poem was serious or tongue-in-cheek, as Drewes terminated a brief phone interview on the social media flap. "I'm uncomfortable with this line of questioning," she said, when asked about her opinion.
There was one clear attempt at humor, though. It didn’t go very well.
"Anybody have a good recipe for duck?" resident Mike Falgoust wrote in his comment, which was met with responses calling him "trash," "not funny," and one that read "Real nice! Glad you’re a neighbor…"
Though Falgoust acknowledged that his comment may have been in poor taste, he feels that the vindictiveness of the replies was unnecessary.
"In my own way of grieving, I just made a few jokes, and just posted on the Nextdoor app," Falgoust said. "I was expecting some ‘it’s not cool, man,’ that kind of stuff, but I think a couple people took it a little too far. I got a few ‘lol’s,’ but those all seemed to be by private message."
Jennifer Gros, another Forest Brook resident, also thought the reaction was overly hostile and came to Falgoust’s defense.
"It’s just ridiculous, actually," Gros said. "Yes, it’s sad that the duck was run over by a car, but the reaction of our neighbors is pretty appalling."
Gros also questioned why people are getting so worked up over a dead duck.
"I guess it’s like they don’t have a life," Gros said. "I mean, I go to work every day. These ducks are the last thing on my mind."
Falgoust shares this view but believes that the incident largely serves as a distraction from everyday life.
"It is somewhat of a relief. You know, you live over here in Mandeville, and those are the kind of things you have to worry about," he said.
As for the widowed male duck, his future remains uncertain, as some residents would like to move him to a pond in the estates area of the neighborhood, which is home to many ducks and is viewed as safer by residents.
In any case, the duck is moving on to a new chapter in his life, one he has seen before — loneliness.
"People can tell that the male duck that is still living at the pond really misses his companion," Gros said.
His previous mate is believed to have been eaten by a coyote.