The De-Flocking of the Flamingos

By Cherry the Dive Bar Girl


The following is a completely true and accurate account of a theft that could rival the grandeur and audacity of the 1978 Lufthansa/JFK heist made famous by the movie “Goodfellas”.  The names have been changed to protect the guilty, as they are upstanding citizens and borderline pillars of the community.



Poolboy—The Ring Leader

Dive Bar Girl—The Instigator

The Hubs—Dive Bar Girl’s Husband, The Voice of Reason

Flash—The Wheelman

Scarlett—The Babycake

The Cajun Asian—No Further Description Necessary

A Black Swan Named Natalie


Every South Louisianan has a moment where the upcoming Mardi Gras season becomes real.  It might be the first time they see king cakes in the store or hear “Big Chief” play on the radio. Dive Bar Girl gets a tingle down her spine and a tear in her eye when the flamingos come to roost on the LSU Lakes.


Every year about a week or two before Spanish Town Ball, the Society for the Preservation of Lagniappe in Louisiana flocks the lakes with more than 100 large plywood flamingos. These bright pink kitschy birds serve as the mascots of the parade and the SPLL Social Club.  Their presence has brightened many an I-10 commuter’s morning. Within 24 hours of landing, they have usually all been spirited away by well meaning kleptomaniacs.  They find new homes in front of Spanish Town bungalows, Garden District mansions and local businesses


Stealing these large fowl and transporting them home is a highly coordinated effort.  A boat and a truck are necessary materials and a shore team of cheerleaders and lookouts always helps. Dive Bar Girl has long lamented that she has never participated in this annual bender of thievery. This year she and her friend Poolboy resolved that they would no longer be flamingo virgins and a plan of epic proportions was hatched.


With a highly specialized team, two single kayaks and pickup truck lined up, the waiting game began until Dive Bar Girl collected some important reconnaissance during a night of drinking. The birds would be landing in the lake on Monday night. She texted Poolboy who immediately posted this top secret finding to Facebook.


A former Spanish Town queen chastised this endeavor.  She begged Poolboy to wait until morning so that all of Red Stick could garner a chance to see their feathered friends in their natural habitat, but he was a man on a mission.  His chivalry towards the city had left him without a trophy before.  He was not about to let it happen again.


Around 9 p.m., a text arrived detailing the rendezvous point.  Dive Bar Girl put on a dark hoodie and her shrimp boots.  The Hubs insisted on accompanying her.  He mentioned something about safety. They were the first to arrive at the lake.  It was a dark and stormy night—a night that would have made Bulwer-Lytton proud. The Hubs parked the car. They waited. The windows began to fog.  Brief mentions about making out in the front seat were made, but the parking brake was an adequate deterrent. The Hubs played a game on his iPhone and Dive Bar Girl watched YouTube videos that featured cute animals.


After about 15 minutes, Poolboy arrived with his posse in tow.  The site was surveyed and everyone agreed a small boat landing on the side of the lake would be the best place to set up a base camp.  Flash, Scarlett and The Cajun Asian offloaded the kayaks. Dive Bar Girl served as lookout.


Flash and Poolboy set out towards a stand of flamingos at the center of the lake.  Some wore top hats and bow ties.  Scarlett wanted a one of the formal wear-clad flamingos.  She asked The Hubs if he had ever seen one of the rare birds that sported Mardi Gras beads.  He shook his head and called her statement a thing of myth.


Dive Bar Girl was worried about Poolboy fighting the dark waters until she remembered that he had kayaked from Baton Rouge to New Orleans on the Mighty Mississippi. She watched from shore as he and Flash battled the gigantic birds of prey.  They pushed and pulled until the beast was freed and loaded onto the kayak.  Scarlett and Dive Bar Girl cheered while The Hubs and Cajun Asian helped drag the behemoth to shore.


As Flash and Poolboy continued to capture members of the flock, Dive Bar Girl saw a beautiful monster rise from the mist.  She was a mere outline amongst the others that reflected no light. She wondered if it was real. Did she really exist? A black flamingo. As Poolboy drug the last of the score to dry land, Dive Bar Girl said, “I think I might be crazy, but I saw a black bird out there.”


This was all the hero of the hour needed to hear.  He grabbed his paddle and began the pursuit hurdling into the fog alone. The crew loaded the truck as Dive Bar Girl and Scarlett watched Poolboy struggle.


A Range Rover full of college kids pulled alongside of the camp.  As they effortlessly hoisted a two person kayak from the truck roof, Flash remarked that the A-Team had arrived and signaled for Poolboy to return via text message.  The fog broke and The Hubs exclaimed, “He has it. He has it!”


The team helped their haggard warrior to shore.  There were hugs, back slapping and a mild amount of trash talking.  Poolboy held his trophy high and said, “It’s a black swan.  I name her Natalie.”


The Poolboy became The Poolman that day.  His legend will be passed down through the generations and an epic poem will be written about him.


The Spanish Town Ball will be held Saturday, February 16th.  The parade will roll through the streets of downtown on March 1st.


No real birds were harmed during this escapade.