Updated: Apr 18
I remember the first time I held the little puppy that my brother got for me. Of course, he and his friends had already named her Lady Poobette of the House of Windsor, something or the other that I, little Arthur, could not pronounce. Somehow I managed to get Tibet out of all of that. Tibet was a black and white miniature collie, and she was my best friend until I was in the seventh grade.
It's impossible to be a part of a person's life and not become friends with their animals or take iPhone photos of them. In my profession, animals and children are the most complex subject to photograph because they are easily distracted and do not look at the camera for long. Put two of either child or dog in a shot, and you are working on a wing and a prayer.
Victor, Erica, Mitzi, Millie, and Hoover
Before Katrina hit land on Sunday, I went on vacation to see the Former Ladies of the Supremes in Los Angeles on Thursday. I had a Yorkie named Millie that my friend Victor's dog sat for. Like so many of us, something snapped in me when Katrina happened - all things that once were one way were no longer the same. I am unsure if it was a mental break, a mid-life crisis, a life shift, or a combination with a little dose of the crazies. Still, I decided I would move to New York and give up the life I had built for myself here in New Orleans and my friends who couldn't understand what was wrong with me. During Katrina, Victor escaped from the apartment complex we both lived in, where the apocalypse was happening at the Convention Center just a block away. With Millie in tow, Victor had to siphon gas from a neighbor's car to evacuate to Asheville, North Carolina. I can see this cool cat in his black Town Car listening to Madonna and Radiohead on the CD player, and Millie curled up next to him on the front seat, sighing like she was known to do. I was evacuated to a handicapped hotel room in Silver Lake, where I decided to move to the big apple to chase my dreams of meeting the famous. Millie stole the hearts of Victor, his sister Erica and his aunt Mitzi who all took turns parenting sweet Millie. I didn't have a regular schedule for the little dog, and I knew Victor and his family would be a better home for Little Millie, especially after moving to Manhattan, so I let him and his sister adopt her.
After Katrina, my friend Donald came down from Chicago with an animal rescue group called PAWS. The Gulf Coast was a strange and lonely place that was no longer the way it once was after the hurricane. Homes and businesses along the coast were wiped out. Paws brought an RV where they neutered and gave shots to the animals. The people of Waveland that came to adopt were happy to do so. So many left their loved ones behind, thinking they would return or had to because shelters did not allow animals in
Hoover was among the cutest that day, so I returned him to New Orleans and Victor. Hoover, I believe, is turning 15 this year.
Alecia, Truman, Holly, and Percy
When I met Alecia, she had two little dogs named Truman (Capote) and Holly (Golightly). She later adopted Percy Louise who nudged himself into the pack. I enjoyed photographing the pups as much as Alecia on our photo shoots. Sadly, Percy and Holly recently passed,d leaving a hole in everybody's life.
Penny and Felicia
Going through memories and photos, I came across this gem of my niece Felicia and my mom's dog Penny. Sweet Penny had a gentle soul, and my dad would make him sit on his hind legs for a biscuit. My mother had many chihuahuas named Penny.