Editorial – John Howell 1/19/2016

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Misunderstanding over property line brings taller fence

The gentrification on Laurel Street has escalated with the east neighbor’s construction of a fine, cedar purgola in his backyard to house an outdoor kitchen.

While it was under construction the best name I could come up with was gazebo. I subsequently learned that a gazebo has a roof, but a purgola only rafters.

With its construction came stone paving and landscaping accompanied by the application of much mulch, and therein lies a problem. If you have ever read any of these columns about my schizophrenic lifestyle between New Orleans and Batesville, you may be aware that our cosmos there includes a colony of damncats, mostly feral, with names like Big Brother, Stripey, Sissy, Skunky, Curiousity Cat, General, Oscar, Big Head, Little Brother, and ad nauseam.
Some of those damncats don’t understand our concepts of property boundaries. Instead, they assumed that the east neighbor had thoughtfully provided the mulch in his newly-renovated back yard for their convenience.

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When the east neighbor returned after an extended absence, he was quite understandably not pleased, especially since there are young children in the family whose footsteps — you can imagine.

Last weekend, he very courteously asked if we minded if he had the construction crew that recently completed the purgola and trimmings be allowed to extend the height of our common fence to seven feet. He described how the additional height plus a piece of PVC pipe along the top ridge would discourage visiting damncats.

We agreed, of course. I kept my skepticism to myself. At best, it may discourage some, but when you start attempting to dissuade damncats from what they are accustomed, they often make you end up feeling foolish.

For instance, the fence will soon be extended to a height that will put the purgola within easy damncat jumping distance of the fence as well as the roof of the ramshackle shed in our backyard. East neighbor may one day look out to see a damncat sunning itself on one of those purgola rafters. I will keep you posted.

And that’s a report from our neighborhood in Uptown New Orleans, where the hoods are scarcer now, the new neighbors are more gentrified and the damncats could care less.