One bothered old lady is making headlines for yelling at a young mother for "trampling the grass" during a baby's photo shoot.
In a video posted on Facebook, one woman — who was later revealed by ABC13 to be local socialite and ex-wife of Houston Astros Owner Jim Crane, Franci Neely — is seen approaching the young family barefoot with her dog. She seems upset about something, but in the video, it's unclear exactly what the problem is. After slapping the camera a few times and moving the decorations off the walkway. It was later revealed that before the recording Neely “you are trampling the grass that we pay for."
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On Saturday 02.16.19 my husband and I went to North Blvd in Houston to have some photos taken of our daughter to celebrate her first birthday. Its a well known public trail where many people have photos taken. When we arrived there were several other photographers in the vicinity, working with their clients. Our photographer arrived and we began setting up. We set up on the path for the baby to sit with small props (to match the scale of the baby) and began taking our shots. During the shoot there were lots of people jogging and walking their dogs who gave us wide berth (lots of room to do so) and even wished the baby happy birthday with a sweet smile as they passed by. About 35 minutes into our 1hr shoot we heard a voice shouting in our direction - and when we turned to look it was this woman rolling up in her car, shouting through her window: “You are trampling the grass that WE pay for”. Out of this light blue jaguar convertible emerges this barefoot caucasian woman wearing a housedress, holding nothing but a cell phone and carrying her dog. She marches towards us and upon arriving, takes a look at my 11 mth old daughter and releases her unleashed dog, who at the time could not walk and was sitting peacefully on the pathway. In the midst of her shouting, I immediately and calmly asked her to restrain her dog as it made a beeline for the baby and it was coming dangerously close to my child. I actually crouched next to the baby and put my hand out to try to shoo this strange dog away. The lady begins shouting at us that we are on private property, and that she will not restrain her dog because she can do whatever she wants there. I told her if her dog damages my child I will be pressing charges and she takes out her phone, starting to record me, asking me if I was threatening her. I repeated what I said. At this point her dog wandered away. Our photographer calmly approached her to let her know that she was the one directing the shoot. The lady tells her that she brought “these” people into “her” neighborhood. The lady had no answer when asked why she did not approach the other photographers WHOM SHE PASSED ON HER WAY TO APPROACH US. Her lack of response prompted my husband to take out his phone to record what was going on. At this point the lady stomps towards my baby and starts aggressively trying to remove the props placed around her, startling me. The baby, petrified by her aggression, started to scream and started crawling away from her into my arms. This did not deter her and she continued - my husband and the photographer quickly approached her to block her from doing this and at this point I started to shout at the lady about her aggression upsetting my child. She appeared stunned that I finally started to shout back at her...but I’m not sure what else she was expecting. The rest is what you see below. When my husband spoke to a police officer following this craziness he confirmed what we already knew - we were doing nothing wrong because we were on public property. The photographers in the vicinty all approached us afterwards completely appalled by this woman’s behaviour, and confused as to why they werent targeted by her at all. She passed people taking fashion shoots, people crouching on the walkway, “trampling” her beloved grass - and came directly at the photoshoot with the gold “1” balloon to cause a scene. With an 11 mth old sitting on the floor. And her parents making funny faces to make her laugh. Absolutely disgusting. A police report has been filed. We will be pressing charges and are currently seeking legal counsel on this matter. Please distribute widely. A baby was involved. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP.Posted by Kelyn Alyssa on Monday, February 18, 2019
OK, so there's a lot to break down here. First, she was driving barefoot, which, at least where we are located, is at least a ticket. Second, she has a small dog and thinks they won't bite. Three, she really got upset that the community lawn was being "trampled", she really doesn't like being recorded. The unfortunate part of the entire situation is that it could have been avoided, and because tensions got high, we can hear how upset the one-year-old was from the ordeal.
The scene went down on North Boulevard in the Broadacres, an area of Houston Texas. Apparently, it's a location popular for photographers — and residents have been posting signs to ban the practise in the area. That's what bothered Neely so much, according to a statement she released following the incident. She says this was the third photoshoot she saw that day, and she grew tired of seeing the grass and trees ruined.
"The high volume of commercial photography damages the property that Broadacres HOA pays to maintain and interferes with dog walkers and others who merely want to walk under the pretty trees," reads the statement. "We asked the commercial photographers to please stop."
She's also since apologized for her actions.
Despite the requests from the locals, the city says that the walkway is intended for the public, so legally, Neely doesn't have a leg to stand on. Interestingly enough, the only law that could be broken in this entire situation is driving barefoot, which we can't confirm.
Even if she did, this wouldn't be the best way to handle the situation. Things got heated, and it's easy to let things get out of hand, but it would have been smarter to approach with a cooler head and walk away if the situation escalated.