Plan Would Transform Overton Park Greensward into “Hippy Hollow” Exhibit and “Punching Zoo”



  • Grass
What do you do when your park/parking lot is infested with a bunch of protesters, frisbee enthusiasts, and drum circle junkies who think they have the right to tell motorists where they can and can’t park their cars? It’s a problem every green space faces sooner or later and, once again, this was Memphis’ year to confront a never ending national dilemma. In recent weeks a pack of hippies have occupied Overton Park, shaming potential Memphis zoo patrons by telling them they aren’t welcome to park on the grass. After much contention between various parties, and solutions that make nobody happy, Jimmy LeDouche, a self-employed white guy from Cordova thinks he has a viable alternative plan.

“The best part is that you don’t even have to tell the hippies to shut up,” LeDouche boasts. “The angrier and louder they are, the better things work out for everybody.”

LaDouche is the founder of ZooFist, a new philanthropic organization created to “protect and enstrengthen” the Memphis zoo and other zoos, parks, and zoos in parks with a “hippie problem.”

“These people live to protest,” LaDouche says. “God love ‘em, it’s what they do. It’s in their nature. In some cases it’s part of the mating ritual. So if the zoo can’t get them off the greensward then maybe the best thing to do is to expand the zoo, transforming a portion of the park into a natural hippy habitat that also includes plenty of on-grass parking."

“I call it Hippy Hollow,” LaDouche says, pointing out the success of attractions like Primate Canyon, and Cat Country that have brought, “a fuck-ton” of visitors to the park, creating the need for common sense parking solutions that, “don't force people to walk on dangerous inner city sidewalks or be trammed from a location full of morally questionable theaters, then whisked through a terrifying forest filled with litterbugs and lesbians.”

Carmine Ragusa, a PR specialist with Milwaukee's Hasenpfeffer Ink has been working closely with ZooFist. "This could be huge," he says. "Hippies have more in common with hippos than just a lot of letters. They’re both things you want your kids to experience, just not up close.”

One advantage LaDouche sees in this bold new proposal is that no other zoo in the world is currently exhibiting American hippies. Although a deal has yet to be struck, ZooFist is currently in negotiations with "a guy in China" to create mutually beneficial hippy/panda exchange programs.

“The sticky part,” Ragusa adds reluctantly, “Is that you can’t technically cage up hippies and send them to China against their will. Not even the traditional American longhair, which is endangered."

LaDouche believes ZooFist's offer of free rent and all the grass and seeds you can "eat, smoke, or whatever," plus "some really egregious shit to protest" will attract more than enough interest.

Dagobah Fleen of the American Federation of Hippies thinks LaDouche's plan just might work.

"I don't like it," Fleen says, shrugging. "But as long as there's strong, enforceable provisions to forcibly house displaced animals or homeless people with neighborhood families, this will probably fly. We just want to know it isn't park gentrification as usual."

LaDouche says he is most excited about opening Memphis' first "punching zoo," which he describes as being, "Exactly like a petting zoo but with hitting and gouging."

"Visitors will be more than happy to pay a premium for this add-on," Ragusa says. "And at $5-$7 a head the punching attraction will quickly and easily raise enough revenue to pave and line as much of the park as necessary."

Zoo officials have not been contacted for comment regarding the Hippy Hollow proposal because we’re a little bit afraid of them.


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