Back in the Big Easy!
I believe this is my fourth time shooting in New Orleans and I simply never tire of it. The people, food, culture and architecture make it one of the most interesting places in the world. We are starting the shoot off with something very dear to my heart: animal rescue. I used to give my time to an organization called KittyKind by loving homeless cats and cleaning about 30 cages every Thursday in the hopes they’d be adopted. Now that I don’t have the time I give money but I deeply miss the one-on-one experience with animals. You think it’s going to break your heart but it just makes it grow.
The organization that is letting us join them for the day is called PAWS, Plaquemine Animal Welfare. Tens of thousands of animals had to be abandoned during Hurricane Katrina and because of that debacle animal welfare legislation was passed that all evacuation plans had to take into account people’s animals or no Federal Aid. Can you imagine being told you had to leave your house and go to a shelter but had to leave your dog or cat behind to fend for themselves? Or thinking like most people that they would be back after a few days and then not being able to get back home after weeks and months? I couldn’t take it. It would have been absolute torture. Most of the animals that PAWS is taking in are the offspring of that terrible time and I am joining them for their Saturday training session in the park and then the following week at their big adoption event. My charge for the day is an adorable black lab named Charlie. This makes me weep almost immediately because my very first dog was a black lab named Charlie. Charlie liked to knock me down as a 4 year old and walk all over me and I loved it. This Charlie is a little guy with big watery brown eyes and I know immediately he will have no problem being love at first sight for some lucky dog owner.
It’s a wonderful shoot for us all as being a crew constantly on the road we love the good sloppy drooly companionship and often muse how great it would be if we could have a crew dog join us wherever we went. Along with having a great day with the dogs we enjoyed talking to the volunteers who are on the front lines so to speak giving all their time trying to create homes for animals desperately in need of one.
No trip to New Orleans would be complete without enjoying fabulous music. Tonight I walked Bourbon Street with Jazz legend Irvin Mayfield and listened to his vision to bring the area back to its old school roots. He has opened a jazz club right in the heart of Bourbon St, very much in the style of the old clubs of the ’30s and ’40s, supporting new local talent playing the way the jazz greats did. He hopes this will start an exciting new chapter in the life of the French Quarter. Irvin is an absolute hunk. I don’t use that word often. He’s smart, caring and incredibly gifted. Great Friday night!
I got to spend the afternoon on a shrimp boat; I have been really looking forward to this since one of my strange quirks is that I really love manual labor. I’m a hard worker; I love lifting, shoveling, pushing and all other forms of backbreaking work. I am joining Robin Palmisano on his family’s 40ft shrimp boat. Of course we all know how much Katrina destroyed the boats of the fishing fleet in Louisiana and how long it took for them to finally get back on their feet. (We shot this back in November and what a complete tragedy knowing now that just as Robin and the other 100s of fisherman were finally experiencing some success a new catastrophe was on its way. Katrina destroyed their boats and now oil will destroy their waters, it makes you wonder how much people can take and how truly unfair life can be, we are trying to find out how he is doing and will post on Twitter as I am sure everyone will be interested to know.)