New Orleans Carriage Horse Update

Seventeen carriage horses and two carriage mules from New Orleans' Charbonnet Mid-City Carriage Company are living at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzalez, La. The rest of the company's animals have been moved from Louisiana to a farm in Nashville, Tenn., said Darnell Stewart, one of the men who stayed behind with the animals after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and flooded the company's stable. (Read the article about the carriage horses' rescue here.)


Darnell Stewart and his horse, Brandy (left) stand with Lucien Mitchell Jr. and Fidel. 

According to Stewart, the company plans to keep all of its horses and mules. Stewart said of his personal horse, a big Paint, "Brandy has lost about 120 pounds or so, but he's back on a pretty good diet. He's eating well now, his manure had changed color to black from all that nasty water, and now it's back to normal.

"He's doing a whole lot better, he makes a little funny noise when he sees me," Stewart added. "I talk to him like I'm talking to you on the phone and he lets me know he's doing fine."

Now that things have calmed down a bit after the rescue, Stewart is looking for work. On Friday (Sept. 9), he said he'd just left the unemployment office, where he was told he didn't need to worry about work for the time being. But he says after helping with the rescues that he can't just "sit around and watch," and he wants to go back to work. He has experience operating heavy equipment, but would rather work with horses.

Stewart said that Lucien Mitchell, another Charbonnet employee who stayed behind with the carriage animals, has been offered a job. He faces other challenges, however. Dennis French, DVM, MS, Dipl. ABVP, of Louisiana State University's veterinary school, said "Lucien doesn't have any identification left. He lost everything. The only thing he has at this point, beside what he's been given recently, were the clothes on his back on Sunday night (Sept. 4, the night of the rescue). His wallet and driver's license are gone."

French reported that Mitchell has been reunited with his personal horse that was missing, which has raised the spirits of Mitchell and his father, Lucien Mitchell Sr.

Stewart is happy that most of the Charbonnet animals were brought to safety and that he's been able to help with other equine field rescues as well. He can't help but worry about the future, however. "I want to find a place to put my horse so I can ride like I've been riding, and hopefully New Orleans will build back up and I can go back to life there," Stewart said. "I just can't sit here and die."

Editor's Note: If you are interested in donating money to the Mitchells and Stewart, please e-mail

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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