A Scintillating Past

By Patricia B. Mitchell, March 1975.


You know Morris, the famous 9-LIVES cat? Well, New Orleans has its own yellow feline counterpart — Daisy. Daisy had climbed out of the ashcan of nonentity to bask in the sunshine of fame and celebrity.

Daisy's origins are shrouded in the mists of the unknown, but she bears a strong resemblance to a family of Abyssinians who lived at the Eltro Hotel on Toulouse Street around 1972-73. Her personal history can be traced from the time when she was adopted as a tiny kitten by a French Quarter flower vendor. The young woman kept the yellow kitty until a dog entered her life. Then Daisy went out on the streets.

After having a couple of litters of kittens, Daisy, who had come upon hard times, decided to improve her lot. In June 1973, she went to S. Stewart Farnet's architectural office on Royal Street. She sat on the steps to Farnet's office looking skinny, dejected, and rejected. Bob Adler, who was working at Lisa's art gallery on the carriageway of the building, befriended Daisy, i.e., gave her lots of food.

Since her standard of living had risen, the cat hung around 612 Royal. Soon she discovered that she was pregnant again, and her babies entered the world. A non-cat-enthuiast in the area found the wee ones and flushed them. Daisy was bereft. Seeking consolation, she moved to Mr. Brown's Ice Cream Parlor on St. Peter Street at Cabildo Alley.

Eventually she returned to the carriageway at 612 Royal and took a post as guard cat. Because a dog had usurped her as the flower girl's pet, Daisy abhors canines, so dogs passing through the carriageway art gallery were in serious trouble. One day the well-known local printmaker Phillip Sage was walking his two Siberian Huskies through Daisy's domain. She attacked, jumping into the face of one of the animals. The big dogs broke loose and went howling down Royal Street.

Daisy's stars suddenly began to get into a favorable alignment. She met Panther, a huge hunk of black cat, built heavy and low to the ground. He was an assistant to the attendants at the Dixie Parking Lot on Chartres Street. It was love at first sight and kittens a few months later. This time Daisy birthed her babies in a closet of one of the shops at 612 Royal. Her six sweet infants, born October 25, 1973, flourished. When they were old enough, the shopkeepers gave them to various people. Ruby Rice, an artist on Jackson Square, took Daisy, Jr.; Jack Miller, the etcher, got Billy Joe Bob and Homer T.; Ranuc, Chloe, and Kitty went to two young women.

The shopkeepers decided that they were not cut out for the kitten business, so they had Daisy's kitten-making apparatus cut out. Being rather wily, they knew that the aforementioned Bob Adler was soft-hearted, so they persuaded him to keep Daisy in his home until she recuperated. They suspected that Bob would become attached to the amber feline. He did.

Daisy still lives with Bob. She is a frequent subject for the artist's drawings. (Her sons Billy Joe Bob and Homer T. also serve as models for Jack Miller's etchings.) She is well-fed and sleeps on Bobby's stomach at night. A scintillating past, a secure and fulfilling present, and a comfortable stomach at night — what more could an individual desire?