April 16, 2002 - Mosquito House

Art Kleiner of Butte LaRose is an avid environmentalist. It might not show right off as Art putters around his workshop, but years ago almost by accident he discovered he has a mission in life. Art is out to protect, to save, to house the endangered state bird of Louisiana.

Forget what they taught you in school. Forget that propaganda from the Nature Conservancy. You and I and Art know that the state bird of Louisiana is the mosquito. And art builds mosquito houses.

"They're endangered", says Art. "You can get one of them on your arm and slap it. You would see all that blood splatter. That's endangered! Suppose somebody came and slapped you like that!"

You might run into Art some day at a flea market or festival. He'll be selling his tiny refuges for the endangered Louisiana mosquito. You can shake his hand as a great humanitarian or slap him silly like a mosquito. Art has known both. Art says his mosquito houses are popular novelty items at nurseries and garden shops, and some folks buy them as Christmas tree ornaments.