Friday, November 27, 2009

They Don't Wear No Britches

The law suit between residents of 1717 Bissonnet (the Ashby High Rise) and home owners in Southamptom is scheduled to go to court next week. Residents are suing over alleged nudist activities in the ritzy neighborhood, which they claim they cannot avoid seeing when looking out of their windows. Residents further claim that since completion of the high rise in 2012 they have attempted to meet with Southampton residents to discuss their differences, but their efforts have been rebuffed.

Home owners in Southampton, who had fought the construction of the "Tower of Traffic", are claiming that they have a right to do as they please on their own property. "If I want to prance around in my back yard wearing nothing but my birthday suit, I have a right to do so," said one Southampton home owner. "Who do these people think they are, trying to tell me what I can do on my own property?"

A spokesman for the Southampton Civic Club acknowledged that neighborhood residents had previously tried to dictate how Buckhead Development used its property when the high rise was in the planning stages. For years residents had twisted the arms of city officials to delay construction of the 23-story building. "That was then, this is now," the well-tanned spokesman said as he sipped on coffee purchased at Java Joe's, which is located on the ground floor of the multi-use high rise. (In keeping with the new blogger guidelines, I am obligated to disclose the fact that I have received no compensation or other considerations for mentioning Java Joe's. But if the non-existent coffee shop in the non-existent high rise would like to send me a few bucks, I will be more than happy to accept them.)

A message left on my answering machine claimed that Southampton has long been a haven for nude gardeners. It was difficult to make out the exact message, but it sounded something like, "They been digging in the dirt without no britches fer years." I would have dismissed a message left in a raspy voice that could only be traced to a phone booth, but I also received written collaboration. A hand-written note, which you can see above, was left on my windshield while I was visiting Rice University. (And the people at blogHouston wonder where the good investigative reporting is in Houston.)

Mayor Greenjeans, who had vowed that the "Ashby High Rise" would never be built, chuckled at the irony of the situation. "The Southampton residents had claimed that the high rise would block their view, and now they are giving the high rise residents a view," he joked to a bewildered pre-school class that was touring city council chambers. "It just shows that you shouldn't count your eggs until the chickens come home to roost."

Council member Andy Cumberbund, who represents Southampton, was more philosophical (but equally unintelligible): "What we have here is a classic case of two different groups with opposing viewpoints. This is precisely the type of dispute that should be resolved in a court of law, complete with a judge, a gaggle of attorneys, and a lady who types real fast."

Southampton residents have responded to the lawsuit in much the same way that they originally responded to the planned high rise. They have held several clothing optional rallies at nearby Poe Elementary, established a web site at, and littered their neighborhood with signs. They have set up lemonade stands at major intersections near the neighborhood in an effort to raise money for their legal fees.

The trial promises to be as amusing as the Southampton residents' sanctimonious assault on the rights of Buckhead Development. In the meantime, residents of the high rise are threatening to post videos on YouTube.

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