On Saturday, 16 February, Kelyn Alyssa and her husband went to Broadacres in Houston to have some photos taken of their baby daughter to celebrate her first birthday. During the shoot, a woman started shouting at them from a car for taking photos. But then it got worse – she got out of the car and threw a tantrum. She was screaming at the couple and the photographer, she hit the husband and started moving the props, all while the terrified child was screaming.
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
Kelyn posted the video of the incident on her Facebook profile and it quickly went viral. She writes that, at the time when they arrived, there were a few other photographers working with their clients. After about 35 minutes of the one-hour shoot, they heard a woman shouting at them through a car window: “You are trampling the grass that WE pay for.”
Then, she got out of the car, barefoot, carrying only a cell phone and her dog. She released the unleashed dog, which made Kelyn afraid for the baby and she warned the woman that she will press charges if the dog does any damage to her child. Soon, the photographer got involved, too, according to Kelyn.
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.
From here on, the incident was caught on camera. The woman hit Kelyn’s husband twice, screamed at the couple for taking photos “on her property,” and started removing the props that were set up for the shoot.
Kelyn writes that a police report has been filed. She and her husband will be pressing charges and they are currently seeking legal counsel on this matter. She adds that, when her husband spoke to a police officer, he confirmed that they were doing nothing wrong because they were on public property.
According to KTRK, the angry woman in the video is Franci Neely, Houston socialite and ex-wife of Astros owner Jim Crane. In a statement to ABC13 Eyewitness News on Monday, Neely said that she was very sorry to make the family upset, but added that “the couple whose photo shoot obstructed the walkway were not respectful after explaining the situation.”
Back in 2017, the Broadacres Homeowners Association posted signs that prohibited photography. The residents were frustrated with some commercial photographers who were going overboard with props, obstructing the paths and damaging the grass. However, the city of Houston confirmed that photography should be allowed, and the signs have been gone since then.
Cece Fowler, president of the Broadacres Homeowners Association, explained that “the city owns the streets on North, South and West boulevards as well as the brick sidewalks that run down the middle of the esplanades.” When it comes to the grass, it’s owned by the Broadacres Trust.
Now, although photographers are officially allowed to bring their clients to this neighborhood, there are still certain rules they must follow. One of them is that they must always leave the sidewalks clear for public use. Alanna Reed of the city of Houston’s Public Works department explained that anyone who needs to block part of the street must get a permit from the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, adding that “it’s about having respect for each other and being good neighbors.”
To be honest, the family and the photographer were blocking the pathway with the props they set, from what I can see in the video. However, I’m sure there was a better and more civilized way to solve this, rather than screaming, hitting and scaring a one-year-old baby to death.