Last week, he wrote to us and shared a touching story about a series of events that occurred exactly ten years ago today. We thought the story, a tale about the rescue of a dog during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, was best told in the commissioner’s own words.
I found these items among my souvenirs — keepsakes of a story that happened ten years ago this week. It’s a story how three people from DC somehow joined together to save the life of a dog in New Orleans.
Hurricane Katrina had destroyed parts of the Gulf Coast more than a week earlier, and much of New Orleans was still under water.
I was at work at ABC News on DeSales Street when I got a call from my good friend Emmett Woolfrey, who had moved from D.C. to New Orleans several years earlier. Emmett had safely evacuated to Baton Rouge. He called to ask if there was any way to help his friend, a fellow hospital technician names James Coates. James had been forced to leave his dog Chanelle behind, with a maybe a week’s worth of food and some bowls full of water. James was terrified that the water was running out, and Chanelle would die of dehydration.
I had seen a story about animal rescues (this was twelve days after the storm hit), and tried to contact the group that was coordinating those efforts. I was unable to reach the woman in charge by phone, so I sent her an e-mail. It was, in retrospect, a bit melodramatic, but I wanted to get her attention.
I never did hear from Ellen, but the results were even better. The next day, I got a phone call from a neighbor. It was Scotlund Haisley, from Georgetown, whom I knew both from Montrose Park and from the Washington Animal Rescue League. He said he was calling from New Orleans, from a boat, headed down a flooded street, and on his way to try to find Chanelle. He was asking for specific instructions on how to find James’ apartment. Fortunately, I had met James at Mardi Gras 2002, and had stopped by his apartment before one of the parades, so I could describe the house and the path back to James’ apartment. The directions were all that Scotlund needed. He said he’d get back to me after he found Chanelle.
An hour later, he called back, and said he had found her and she was in bad shape. She was near death from dehydration, and was unconscious and barely breathing. He said he was taking her to a hospital unit to get an IV into her. Later, he had her taken up to LSU in Baton Rouge, where veterinary doctors stabilized her, and put her on the road to recovery. Scotlund, meanwhile, went back to searching abandoned and ruined homes for animals to be rescued.
Scotlund called me about a week later, and told me Chanelle was well enough to be reunited with James. Eventually, James and Chanelle returned to New Orleans, and he sent me this picture, which speaks for itself.
Chanelle lived to be 14 years old, and was James’ best friend and faithful companion. Her tongue was always too big for her mouth, and it always stuck out, especially when she was happy. Sadly, James died last year. Emmett now lives in Florida. And Scotund, who left the Animal Rescue League to work with the Humane Society, now works with the Animal Rescue Corps, a group that rescues animals after natural disasters and from abusive situations.
Very few good things came out of Katrina, but one was a change in the way animals are treated in disaster evacuations. We are no longer forced to choose either to stay behind with our pets or to evacuate and leave our animal companions behind. Our dogs and cats are members of our families. They can come with us, and their love and loyalty can help see us through whatever storms we must endure.
It’s a lesson I learned ten years ago this week, a lesson with a happy ending.
Photos courtesy of Mike Silverstein and ANC 2B
If you haven’t been to Stead Park yet, this fall will be great time to visit.
Until last fall, Stead was mostly known for its nice, but crowded playground at 1625 P Street NW. But the playing field was little-known and little-used by the local community; partly because it was hidden by buildings on P Street, 17th Street and 16th Street NW; the tall, prison-like fence and gate that was not reliably unlocked by citywide park rangers; and partly because the field itself was noteworthy only for its bumpy, patchy and barren condition.
All that changed last year when Friends of Stead Park (FOSP) and residents successfully advocated for a field revitalization that includes a jogging track, a spray park, a performance stage, soft turf with water-retention, trees and flowers and entrances from 17th street and 16th Street for the first time ever.
But many still walk by without having ventured in to see this new community treasure. FOSP hopes that will change this fall with a great lineup of events for all ages.
Their first fall event is a musical movie night on Saturday Sept. 19 at 7:00pm.
“Grease” will be screened and will feature singalongs and prizes for the best 1950s outfits.
A second, likely animated film is planned for Saturday, Oct. 3.
World’s Cutest Parade
On Oct. 24, FOSP is cosponsoring the world’s cutest parade: – The 5th Annual Little Goblins Parade along P Street NW, an annual pre-Halloween tradition.
For the first time, FOSP will be hosting the parade’s after party at Stead Park on the new playing field with a concert, dance performance, games, and of course sweetstuff!
The fun will start at Logan Circle. Cheering on the long parade of cute costumes is popular with all ages. Many businesses and restaurants along P street get into it, so, even if you don’t have children, you can get a spot or a restaurant seat early and cheer the kids on as they strut by. It’s also fun to volunteer for a bit. It’s a blast for everyone.
According to the parade organizers, Joelle Myers and Evelyn Boyd Simmons, the parade has evolved with the neighborhood and entertainment will be fun for all, but targets kids up to 12 years old.
Following the parade, the last event before the cold sets in will be a fall festival on November 14.
Revitalizing the Small/Old Recreation Center
Once it’s cold outside, Friends of Stead Park will be partnering with businesses and organizations such as Whole Foods on P Street and the Foundry United Methodist Church to hold events for children at their venues rather than at Stead’s old brick recreation center building. Currently, the park cannot meet the demand for FOSPs popular indoor programs, but a recreation center is actually one of FOSP’s top priorities for the future of the park.
Last year, we asked the city to open a cooperative daycare program at Stead. But they determined that the rec center was not safe enough for toddlers to use for this purpose.
Clearly the recreation center needs to be modernized. But, with so many families moving to the area — and staying here — this is a good opportunity to expand the public indoor space available to the community. If you would like to help us work toward this goal, please contact us.
To volunteer for the Little Goblins Parade, please email [email protected]
Photo via Friends of Stead Park
U Street is paying homage to american actor, singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson with “Living Timeline,” a new mural currently in the works on the 1300 blocks of U Street NW.
ART B.L.O.C is an art collective founded by Cory Stowers. As reported by the Washington Post, the collective received a $50,000 city grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to paint the tribute on the side of the Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute at 1351 U Street NW. The work looks almost complete.
Currently, two large portraits of Robeson occupy the two opposite ends of the dark grey wall. Between them, a series of seven round vignettes depicting Robeson at various stages of his life are scattered throughout the wall.
Above the vignettes, passers-by can read a quote widely attributed to Robeson: “I make no distinction between my work as an artist and my life as a human being.” According to drawings and plans for the mural, the vignettes still need to be linked by a timeline, with important dates in the life of Robeson.
An interactive component of the mural will allow Washingtonians to scan a photo of the mural into an app on their phone to gain access to stories of the different stages of Robeson’s life included in the timeline.
My favorite is the last one, which depicts him in front of the Eiffel Tower, a reference to the trip he took to France to attend the Soviet Union-sponsored Paris Peace Conference.
This will be the second tribute to Paul Robeson in the city. “(Here I Stand) In the Spirit of Paul Robeson,” a public artwork by artist Allen Uzikee Nelson, can currently be seen at the intersection of Kansas Avenue and Georgia Avenue NW, in Petworth.
Laetitia Brock grew up in Paris and landed in D.C. to get her masters at George Washington University. During the day, she works for a trade association near Thomas Circle, but in the evening and on the weekends, she loves discovering new street art around town and exploring the district’s bustling restaurant scene. In addition to contributing to Borderstan, she writes about her favorite DC spots for the travel website Spotted by Locals, and on her own blog, FrenchTwistDC.
Follow her on twitter at @laetitiabrock.
At Borderstan we are thankful for many things. For example, we have had a great year covering the day-to-day of our community. We live in a diverse growing neighborhood where we can shop, enjoy restaurants and bars, galleries, theaters, great parks, sports and schools, all within walking distance.
Our contributors cover the neighborhood everyday, and they are also thankful for many things (and not so thankful for others). Here’s their list!
Rachel is thankful for
- Her family and friends.
- Her health.
- Blogs – all of them.
Scott is thankful for
- His family and friends – what’s life without them?
- Reverse commuting in a car. No traffic or Metro in his daily life.
- Chocolate. Mmmm.
Scott is not thankful for
- Presidential Elections – glad that’s over with.
- DC cabs still not taking credit cards. Reason #121343 we aren’t/won’t ever be near NYC.
- The best DC team not playing. Man he misses the Capitals. End this stupid strike.
Michael is thankful for
- Expanding number of restaurants to try in the neighborhood and around the District.
- Discovery of the pickleback shot and the myriad bars in town that serve it.
- Return of the use of the Dupont Circle South Metro entrance.
Michael is not thankful for
- Expanding number of people who fail to properly use and navigate a sidewalk.
- Discovery of the ACKC closure (yes, that’s right, it’s been almost a year and he still haven’t found a replacement).
- Return of the cold – is it just him or does everyone suffer from seasonal depression?
Leslie is thankful for
- The cutest small human she’s ever seen.
- Family and friends who love her despite faults (Husband most of all).
- Pumpkin-pecan pie.
Danny is thankful for
- Corny, but true: Friends and family.
- The Washington Nationals. As a DC native, he has never experienced the kind of joy that he did this year watching the Nats play. Even after feeling the crushing blow that was Game 7, it was amazing to care about a DC sports team that much.
- Good food. Watching the quick growth of DC’s food scene has been amazing, even if it still has lots of catching up to do. His three favorite new spots? Little Serrow, Toki Underground and Izakaya Seki.
Danny is not thankful for
- People biking on the sidewalk. Seriously, it is called the sideWALK. Warning: If you try to pass him on a bike while he is on the sidewalk, he will not make it easy for you.
- The Washington Wizards. If you are able to keep a Wizards game on for more than five minutes without convulsing/feeling ill/throwing something, than you should win a prize.
- Foodie culture. Food should be good; it should be fresh; it should be appreciated. But, it should not be some type of status symbol or idolized. There’s no such thing as that “hidden hot spot” and bad service at a restaurant should not be accepted as part of the “vibe” of the place.
Chelsea is thankful for
- Exact change. She doesn’t care how obsolete you think the penny is, because giving or receiving exact change is THE BEST feeling ever. And if you have an extra penny, leave it for the next person behind you or in the tip jar – pay it forward.
- The first amendment. In spite of differences in beliefs, the fact that this exists is so liberating and inspiring. Every year she is grateful that she lives in a country that allows her to freely express herself and live without constraint or self-restraint.
- Her community. People are friendly and inspiring. The compassion she finds among neighbors revives her faith in humanity and feeling, and she is grateful to have experienced that firsthand over the past year since she’s moved to DC.
Chelsea is not thankful for
- Georgetown on the weekends. Get a metro stop people. She needs to be able to get to the nearest Sephora without riding out to the next CITY to get her $40 moisturizers. Or get better parking. Better yet, make the walk over actually enjoyable by widening your sidewalks, since clearly every tourist and college student in town needs to use the entire pathway for themselves and their iPhone5s.
- Political parties. But at least the lack of bipartisanship makes her thankful that the election is over and she won’t have to hand over her abortion, voting or equal pay rights yet.
- Social media. She’s over it. She’s also over the articles you’re reading, the meme you laughed at and the photo you posted of your lunch.
Dafna is thankful for
- Family and friends.
- A roof over my head (and a walk-in closet).
- It’s a tie: Attractive, well dressed men/Karl Lagerfeld.
Dafna is not thankful for
- People with no sense of humor.
- Men in suits that don’t fit them.
Nick is thankful for
- The support of his partner, Chad
- Goodness of others
Cecile is thankful for
- Super grilled cheese and Stoney’s amber Ale at Stoney’s.
- Having access to so many art galleries, such as Long View and the Hamiltonian.
- People watching on a sunny day in Dupont!
Kim is thankful for
- The resurgence of offal on DC restaurant menus.
- Living in a city with underground power lines during a storm.
- Being lucky enough to have love, family and security in a world where those things are precious.
Kim is not thankful for
- That they’re even having discussions about Season 9 of HIMYM. I love the show more than life itself, but it needs to not keep dragging along. End on a high note, Carter and Bays!
- Another year of all my favorite sports teams losing in dramatic or devastating fashion.
- The ongoing failure of the DC Metro system.
Luis is thankful for
- The love of his little family, Matty and Lupe.
- A great team of contributors in Borderstan.
- Being able to enjoy what he is doing.
Luis is not thankful for
Matt is thankful for
- His husband.
- His dog, the most awesome in the world.
- Living in neighborhood where he can walk everywhere and always run into someone he knows
Matt is not thankful for
- A city government that still hasn’t figured out how to better deal with the city’s population growth and development.
- The DC metro area’s lack of adequate public transportation.
Aparna is thankful for
- Wine, great food, weekends, Netflix, Twitter, friends, laughter and a good night’s sleep.
- All the amazing opportunities she has had this year (even if she failed to use them!)
- Her husband emptying the dishwasher, doing the laundry AND making a delicious home-cooked meal.
Aparna is not thankful for
- The five pounds that she is going to put on during the holidays!
- People who get out of their seats on the crowded bus before their stop. Nice way to get everyone standing to move around and make it generally unsafe.
Alejandra is thankful for
- A booming dining and drinking scene in the neighborhood.
- A community where she can walk down the street and always run into people, shop owners and purveyors that she knows.
- A community that values living, eating and drinking better.
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