May 292014

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

Snuggles is a New Orleans dog, born and bred — a 2-year-old mixed breed with probably more terrier in him than anything else. About a year ago, Snuggles was a lonely street dog, mostly eating out of garbage cans.

One day, a stranger swept him up and brought him to the Louisiana SPCA. After getting some really good food, shots, spayed and regularly bathed, Snuggles was ready to be adopted. Unfortunately, no matter how cute Snuggles was, he always seemed to come in second. Fortunately for Snuggles, fate smiled on him. SPCA Executive Director Ana Zorrila was getting calls from shelters in the Northeast and Midwest looking for puppies to be adopted.

Snuggles was placed in a specially-renovated truck along with 100 other Southern puppies, and off he went to a suburban New Jersey shelter outside Newark where hundreds of families and individuals were looking for a first-round draft choice just like Snuggles. He was quickly picked by a family and has become a well-fed, much loved, house dog with his choice of warm beds to sleep in each night.

Zorilla says the exodus of Southern dogs to Yankeeland actually began after Hurricane Katrina, when some 250,000 dogs and cats here were homeless and desperate. At that time, shelters in the Northeast and Midwest offered to take thousands of dogs and cats and try to find adoptive homes for them.

As the years passed, the demand for Southern dogs actually increased, said Zorilla. Unlike their Southern counterparts, Northeast and Midwest states have made spaying and other animal protection part of their culture. Instead of thousands of unwanted litters being born each spring, they have a demand for adoptions they can’t meet — unless they get our assistance. So, shelters all though the South with a surplus of adoptables are sending truckloads of dogs to shelters that need them. A New York Times writer recently urged readers to “Adopt a Dog With a Southern Drawl.

Allan and Danae are fans of Zorilla, a creative, out-of-the-box thinker and a great fundraiser for the Louisiana SPCA. Springtime is litter time. If you might want to offer a forever home to a dog, a cat, a guinea pig, a rabbit, a horse or a bird, check out the Louisiana SPCA website to find your own Snuggles or Cleopatra.

Our friend Lynn Chiche of Spaymart also offers great adoption opportunities for hundreds of cats, some of whom can be seen at Spaymart’s Thrift & Gift shop by TJ Maxx on Veterans. Spaymart, another great non-profit, was one of the big winners recently in the NOLA giving day event.


Governor Bobby Jindal will be welcoming 1,500 of the nation’s top Republicans tonight in New Orleans who are attending the annual Republican Leadership Conference at the Hilton Hotel. Other speakers include The Donald (Trump), that is, Haley Barbour, Newt Gingrich, Ted Cruz and Michelle Bachman.

Jindal is sure to attack President Obama’s policies in an effort to boost his chances of getting on the ticket, even as the vice presidential candidate. State Sen Dan Claitor, currently the leading Republican opposing former Governor Edwin Edwards in the 6th Congressional District race, will also be speaking and raising money from deep-pocketed GOP heavyweights. Tickets to the conference are available for purchase with a special discount through local media personality Jeff Crouere.


Our hearts go out to Civil District Court Judge Robin Giarrusso, whose daughter Courtney passed away Tuesday evening in her sleep. Courtney was a bright and talented young woman and an inspiration to many, and would have achieved much success. We had also been friends with John Maginnis for decades and had always looked forward to his phone calls to discuss the nuances of our unique New Orleans politics. He too will be sorely missed.

Allan Katz spent 25 years as a political reporter and columnist at The Times-Picayune, and is now editor of the Kenner Star and host of several televsion programs, including the Louisiana Newsmaker on Cox Cable. Danae Columbus is executive producer of Louisiana Newsmaker, and has had a 30-year career in public relations, including stints at City Hall and the Dock Board. They both currently work for the Orleans Parish School Board. Among the recent candidates who have been represented by their public relations firm are City council members Stacy Head and Jared Brossett, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell.

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