The Best Medicine is Kindness… and a Cocktail

I’ll not sugarcoat it: I have been down on New Orleans of late. I am sick of the crime, over the ballooning cost of living (record heat driving record utility bills, home insurance, auto insurance, flood insurance), over the swirling beasts in the Gulf, and over the anxiety I am cursed with that makes it all so much worse.

Yesterday, the kindness of strangers tweaked my perspective. My birthday is Monday, and a gift came early.

My husband and I have four dogs. Two of them are 10-month-old siblings (Hooch and Mazie), one is a special needs 3-year old (F.S. Fannie), another is 15-year old (Penny Lane). All are rescue mutts. When I must walk them alone, I walk them in shifts of two. The puppies can be a nightmare to walk. Though siblings, Hooch is 45 pounds to Mazie’s 25 pounds. This happens with mutts. Hooch is strong so he drags me down the street. Mazie is crazy so she does, too. Hence, I walk them in Gentle Leader head collars, which makes things marginally better. I save them for last and start with the series of “walkie-poos” with Penny Lane (as a puppy she was in your ears and in your eyes) and F.S. Fannie. They’re easy.

Until yesterday.

Backstory: Pen was known to bolt and escape when she was younger. She is 11 pounds of long legs, a deep chest, and, even at 15, she’s a mass of muscle. But she’s 15, so, when her halter broke a month ago, we did not replace it. We figured she was over the urge to escape her life of luxury. So, we started clipping her leash to her collar.

The Best Medicine is Kindness... and a Cocktail
Penny Lane

Yesterday, as we were approaching the corner of Valmont and Tchoupitoulas streets at 5:30 in the evening Pen saw an opportunity, slipped out of her collar, bolted across Tchoupitoulas, and hightailed it toward Napoleon Avenue. Dragging Fannie in tow, I started flailing my arms, trying to stop evening traffic, and bolted off after her, panicked.

No doubt I looked like a lunatic. People took pity. Some people pulled over and joined the chase. Others pulled over attempting to block the half-blind (cataracts), newly invigorated, elderly dog on the loose from crossing the street. Someone else grabbed Fannie’s leash so I could better haul it off after Pen. After a four-block chase a young woman cornered Penny so I could loop the leash around her neck (not trusting the collar again). I thanked the strangers who helped me then dragged my mutts home, shaking with relief. Given it was evening rush on a busy stretch of Tchoupitoulas this could have ended in what would have been a crippling tragedy for my family.

People still care. I was at the mercy of strangers, and they came through for me.

Last night I took a moment to post a message on Nextdoor about those strangers who came to my aid. At last count there were 70 “likes” and numerous messages from neighbors and strangers. The post is now a trending a “favorite” on Nextdoor. The site where many of us get constant updates about crime. Turns out people still like a feel-good story. We like the news of neighbors helping neighbors.

The spirit of Never Met a Stranger is alive and well in New Orleans. This is one of the qualities that always made this city so amazing, and we still have it. Let’s hang on to that.

If you, too, would like to help others the Greater New Orleans Caring Collective (GNOCC) needs volunteers to support their work in serving our community.  Volunteer opportunities include sorting donated clothing, making sandwiches, and plating food for ready-to-go meals to be distributed to homeless persons by Southern Solidarity (SoSo). Days of the week and times of day to volunteer are flexible. GNOCC Founder Dan Bingler will hold an orientation session tonight at 6 p.m.  at First Unitarian Universalist Church for those interested in participating. If you are interested but unable to attend the orientation session, email Dan at With an attitude of gratitude, I have signed up to volunteer.

The Best Medicine is Kindness... and a Cocktail
TEB’s Ben Hatch (photo credit: Randy Schmidt)

If cocktails are your feel good medicine on Tuesday at 5 p.m. the ace bartending krewe behind The Elysian Bar will be teaming up with the ‘tenders from Mobile’s go-to bar for craft cocktails, The Haberdasher (aka The Hab), to sling exotic low- and no-ABV tiki cocktails. The Hab is well-known in Mobile for being the spot for Tiki drinks and home of Mobile’s Tiki Week, so check out the fusion between The Elysian Bar’s low ABV concept with The Hab’s tiki-style.

That’s it from me. Be kind to your neighbors. Help them. Neighbors save lives.

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