NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A local doctor has a prescription for happiness: Count your chickens before they hatch! Dr. Brobson Lutz treats patients in the city, but his country side shows up all over the Central Business District.
"You got all the patients lined up and ready to go?" Lutz asked a nurse in his uptown office. "Nobody ran over any chickens, I hope."
Lutz feeds wild chickens that show up at the office's back door.
"Where did they go? Here chick, chick, chick. Here chick chick," he said, shaking a container of food. "I think they're pissed because they are used to getting fed about 8 or 9," he said.
The idea of chickens in the city really came to roost for him after Hurricane Katrina.
"We had to go 60 or 70 miles to get milk and eggs there for a while. I'd say, Jesus Christ we better do something about this. So, I started buying up a couple of little small pieces of property trying to turn them into urban farms, and the chickens just came secondarily," he said.
He took us to a lot not far from the CBD.
"Welcome to Religious Pigeons on the corner of Religious and St. James," he said opening a large gate that was secured with a padlock. "Cabbages have all gone to seed," he said, walking through what was a flourishing garden at one time. "Zucchini and squash should be coming up soon."
The place is teaming with life. Bee hives line one fence, there's a chicken coup in the other corner with guinea hens, and a pigeon coop across from it.
Lutz went into the pigeon coop and stirred the birds up. He opened a small wooden window to allow the Birmingham Roller pigeons to fly out.. They can always come back in. Lutz is as comfortable around animals as he is with a stethoscope. He picked up a featherless baby pigeon who is less than a week old with care.
"Growing up in a small town you're naturally around a lot of livestock," he said.
As a boy in Athens, Alabama, between Nashville and Birmingham, he was always one with nature. From animals to gardening, he loved it all. The street he grew up on was a constant flow of wagons coming from farms to the courthouse pulled by mules. His love of animals has him smitten with the sheep he has on another lot in the shadow of the CBD. He has chickens there, too.
Back at the office, the roaming chickens finally show up to eat. For Lutz, all is right with the world.
"A world without chickens and roosters in it is not one I'd want to live in," he said.
Lutz has help with his urban farms. Paradigm Gardens grows vegetables on the lot on Religious Street, and they even have a greenhouse there. He has the help of a bee keeper and help feeding the birds, as well.