"It’s not just about Internet cat videos, it’s about watching Internet cat videos together," says Rachel Joyce of the Walker Art Center in Minnesota, about the 2014 Internet Cat Video Festival, which comes to New Orleans June 28.
The festival, which is apparently the first of its kind in the world, aims to bring the Internet community together - the internet community that spends countless hours on Youtube watching cats trying to wedge themselves into tiny cardboard boxes, that is - from city to city. Founded in 2012, the festival now tours internationally, adapting its program to the needs and desires of each city.
This year's video festival was curated by none other than Will Braden, who cat video enthusiasts will most definitely recognize from the Youtube classic Henri le Chat Noir, the French existentialist cat whose torment goes far beyond kitty litter and other quotidian woes.
The festival is being hosted by local non-profits Spaymart and Art for Cats Sake at the New Orleans Museum of Art. There are three showings on the 28th: 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Choose one or just sit through all three. (You know you'll want to.) Tickets are $12 and can be purchased here. There will also be a related festival in City Park, which is free to attend and will feature costume contests, photo contests, feline art and food and drinks. There's a cat photo contest for people to enter before the date of the festival (more details on that here, too).
During the festival, there's a "people dressed as cats" contest. That contest, thank God, is split into two categories, one for kids and one for adults.
The celebration of the world's most aloof and vaguely narcissistic house pet will raise funds for Spaymart and Art for Cats Sake, whose mission it is to improve the lines of feline friends in Louisiana.
After failing to pass Senate Bill 250 through the Louisiana Senate in April, State Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, reintroduced his bill to exempt big cat owners from a state law banning exotic pet ownership. This afternoon, SB 250 narrowly passed by a vote of 20-18. It now heads to the House.
State Sens. Troy Brown and Mack White were absent to vote last month. They voted in favor this afternoon. Sens. Danny Martiny, Gary Smith and Robert Kostelka, who voted against the bill in April, also voted in favor.
Sens. Dan Claitor, Yvonne Dorsey-Lacomb and Dan Morrish voted for the measure last month but voted against it today. Sen. Ben Nevers, who voted against the bill last month, was absent today.
The law would apply to Michael Sandlin, who owns the 13-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger named Tony, who has lived at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete for more than a decade. The law would come up against the Louisiana Supreme Court's rejection of Sandlin's petition in October 2013 to review the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal's ruling that Tony can't live at the truck stop.
The Louisiana Senate failed to pass Senate Bill 250 from State Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, which aimed to exempt certain big-cat owners from a state law banning exotic pet ownership. The law would apply to Michael Sandlin, who owns the 13-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger named Tony, who has lived at Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete for more than a decade.
The bill passed the Senate's Committee on Natural Resources April 15. The committee amended the bill to remove an exemption for people who hold a USDA Class C exhibitor's license, a license which Sandlin possesses. Today, the Senate voted 18-19 against the measure. Ward's bill attempted to undercut a 2006 state law banning private ownership of exotic pets by exempting those permit holders.
Attempts to remove Tony from the truck stop have been ongoing for years. More recently, the Louisiana Supreme Court rejected Sandlin's petition in October 2013 to review the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal's ruling that Tony can't live at the truck stop. In 2011, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for unlawfully issuing a permit to Sandlin to keep Tony, and in April 2013, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal held that Sandlin can't keep Tony, nor can he keep that permit.
Desoto Parish State Rep. Richard "Richie" Burford, R-Stonewall (motto: "A great place to live"), introduced House Bill 353, which declares open season on wild hogs — the pigs, not the Tim Allen dad-buddy masterpiece. Under the bill, hunters can go after wild hogs, day or night, on private property. Under present law, hunting wild hogs is restricted to daylight hours from February through August. The bill passed the House 85-10 on Wednesday and was introduced in the Senate Thursday.
A House amendment also includes authorization to hunt coyotes at night on private property, also at any time of the year. (Present law already includes permission to hunt nutria and beaver.)
The bill follows the state's exploding wild animal populations — which in recent years have crept into more urban and suburban areas of New Orleans beyond surrounding bayous and parks. Recent sightings include a coyote (which has a Twitter account) stalking Uptown, and several adorable hog families hanging out on the neutral ground on Almonaster Road in New Orleans East.
According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, feral hogs (Sus scrofa) came to North America via Spanish explorers who planned to use them as livestock, but through escape and release, the pigs adapted to the wild. They can reach 400 pounds — they're protective, and kind of mean, and you don't want one charging at you. While the piglets are cute, the animals cause millions of dollars in damage to farms, forests and other property. Hog rooting can impact crops, golf courses, hayfields and backyards. The LSU AgCenter estimates there are more than 500,000 wild hogs in the state.
("But how does it taste, Alex?") Great. It's lean and not too game-y.
In the latest update in the case of Tony the Tiger — the Big Cat attraction living at Grosse Tete's Tiger Truck Stop — the Louisiana Supreme Court denied a petition Oct. 4 from owner Michael Sandlin to review the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal's ruling that Tony, a 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger, can't live at the truck stop.
In 2011, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for unlawfully issuing a permit to Sandlin to keep Tony. In April, the 1st Circuit Court of Court of Appeal held that Sandlin can't keep Tony, nor can he keep the a big cat permit issued by LDWF. Sandlin then filed his petition with the state Supreme Court to review the decision — which it denied.
“We are relieved to see this case reach its end,” said Matthew Liebman, senior attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, in an Oct. 7 statement. “Nearly three years after we asked the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries not to issue a permit to the Tiger Truck Stop, the highest court in the state has declined to prolong this case further. We call upon the Department to do the right thing and send Tony to a reputable sanctuary, before we face another tiger tragedy.”
The Real Wild Animals of New Orleans, a Digital Bayou HD web series about Audubon Nature Institute animals and their humans, launches tonight at 6 p.m. Journalist, businesswoman and animal lover Chriss Knight goes behind the scenes with some of the city's most loved Audubon animals and their staff, sharing the fun and dedication involved in making the zoo, aquarium, insectarium and butterfly garden tick.
Tonight's featured creatures are sea otters Buck and Emma. In later episodes of the Thursday series, viewers will meet Casey the silverback gorilla, penguin chicks, the Insectarium's newest residents and more.
To connect with The Real Wild Animals of New Orleans, check out the links below.
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