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A conversation with a New Orleans Urban Cowboy; Michael A. Hollins aka Dat Ghetto Cowboy

Have you ever been out in the urban neighborhoods of New Orleans and was shocked to see a young black man riding a horse. As they gallop on by you are left with so many questions such as; where did they come from? Is it legal to ride a horse in the street? Or did they ride in from the country? Some riders are asked if their horse was some tourist rental fad. In disbelief that these young black men are Urban Cowboys, they would call around inquiring about renting a horse to ride themselves. Sorry, it’s not going to happen.

Maybe you were dancing along the streets during a Second Line and noticed a group of men riding their horses up and down the neutral ground ( the “median-” You know, that little strip of land in the middle of a road.) and thought what horses have to do with the Second Line. Tourist aren’t the only ones with these questions. There are plenty of New Orleanians who do not know the full story of how these young men can saddle up and ride through our neighborhoods as if they were in the Wild Wild West.

These Urban a Cowboys are not the same as the Policemen you see on Bourbon St with their horses, they have similarities, but they stop at men riding and training horses. The Urban Cowboys lifestyle is rich in culture, tradition and fueled by the life long bond between a man, his son and other men.

The Horse’s name is Ace, but I forgot the official name…lol

As long as I can remember the existence of horses in my community was as common as someone walking their dog or seeing stray cats. I never realized the oddity until one Mardi Gras when I was younger. An out of state family member was scared to walk in the same direction of the horses and complained about the horse poop in the street. I couldn’t believe she was afraid of a sweet horse. Horses do not bark at you, and they don’t bite, scratch or run after you like a mad dog or crazy cat; I thought to myself, but she was deathly afraid.

It would surprise you to know that more people are afraid of cats and dogs than horses in New Orleans and I believe it’s because of their owners. Unlike dogs you never hear of a horse breaking loose, chasing people onto the roof of cars and biting them. Horses get spooked, mostly by the actions of others, loud noises and so on. But their owners are quick to settle these gentle animals, and if needed they wouldn’t bring the horse out in public.

My Boyfriend Ace😍😘

Ace loves ladies, but he showed me he is very selective of women. This other woman came by after he kissed on me and she was touching and talking to him, and he turned his head from her… she didn’t get a pic either well not of his face 😂👅👄🐴

I was officially introduced to horses around the age of 15 years old by way of my cousin’s Michael father; he kept horses and dogs as pets. So if you wanted to visit you had to interact with the animals, and I am crazy about animals. Michael, he’s gonna get mad with me, but back then we called him Mike Mike, because he was a junior, but now we call him Mike and he is known as Dat Ghetto Cowboy. Mike was on horses before he could sit up on his own. His father from New Orleans with country roots, they own property and livestock in both the city and country. This access exposed a whole new whole to our side of the family and I’m grateful. Being around animals in nature was nothing like going to zoo with my parents for the pony, camel and elephant rides, but this was different more of a learning experience and it makes you appreciate Mother Nature.

Once we realize that we are the kings and queens we’ll be 8ight but when we come together as brothers and sisters we’ll be beyond straight! Wake up and hold yahself and most importantly keep it ahunnit grand baby!

I remember going to my Auntie’s house and be greeted by a beautiful big brown eyed horse being lead into the back of the truck in just enough time to feel his or her pretty long mane and tail. I could see Mike Mike loading up with his Daddy and it made me feel proud to have a young male relative that was being raised just as they had over the years. He would growup to me an amazing well rounded man, with Mike you get the best of both worlds or is it three lol. He’s a Country Man, a Suburban Business Man and a Urban Roughneck and God-Fearing Man! I could go on an on, but it’s time for me to introduce you to Mr. Dat Ghetto Cowboy and hear about the life of a New Orleans Urban Cowboy!

This is merely an introduction, but we will be back with more of the history, Mike’s life as well as adding more Urban Cowboys!

I hope you enjoy his pictures and videos!

The Nola Chic ⚜️

Everybody say they work hard until they run across an ole country man…. toss some square bales jad roll a few round bales for free and call me in the morning. #Datghettocowboy

Choppin It Up with Dat Ghetto Cowboy

The Nola Chic: Hey Cuzin,wondering if you can give me some information on the New Orleans Cowboys? When did you start riding? You’re not even 30 years old yet and from what I can remember you were a baby lol.

Dat Ghetto Cowboy: “I was I lil pup I say about 10-12 years old maybe earlier.”

The Nola Chic: Who introduced you to horses? Let me rephrase that who introduced your Dad to riding?

Dat Ghetto Cowboy: “You’ll have to ask my dad who introduced me to them along with dogs. I own 2 Tennessee walkers and my family owns plenty. lol We have more than our 40 acres and a mule.

Being around horses is one of the best things in the world. Thanks pops!

This is more than a brand. It’s a way of life and what myself and every cowboy and cowgirl who get down on four legs do anywhere no matter it’s in the street or cutting up at a trail ride😎🤠

The Nola Chic: Do you know how long this tradition has been going on?

Dat Ghetto Cowboy: “The history goes back further than we know of or can recount. I been knowing of it all my life and so did my Dad.”

The Nola Chic: Do you know how it came to be or why y’all ride or is it just like tradition “We do it because they did it before us?”

Dat Ghetto Cowboy: “I’ll ask my dad, but yeah its tradition baby. Our people rode and now we ride. I love it everyone I know love. Like my post reads. Everybody don’t ride but dammit I know they like to see us out, scared and all.”

“My dad was riding in a club in his 20s and they started a club in 1997 the New Orleans Cajun Cowboys.  So, Imma keep it going and open chapters and promote my brand which is Dat Ghetto Cowboy. And let them know to always keep it ahunnit grand! I also have a foundation, but we can run that another day lol.

That look you give someone when they ask if you rented that hoss… nah baby dats all me and who you see me riding with. We coming out the hood owning and raising our stock. #Datghettocowboy

Young and jazzy. Couldn’t tell my damn self nothing at all. Lol. #Datghettocowboy

The Nola Chic: What are your horses names and how many do you own?

Dat Ghetto Cowboy: “The old man who will step yah heart out is, Redman, like the known rapper and he’s a ladies man. Then there is The General aka Big Pete.  The ages are 18 and 12.

Workout and pose for em and make em smile

Stretch out and hold yahself baby.. whatcha self dats 17 of dem hands baby. #steppersonly #Datghettocowboy #walkerman #problemchild

Bundle up and sleep tight. Hold yahself!! Goodnight #Datghettocowboy

The Nola Chic: Iimagine that it’s very expensive to own and care for a horse, do you get a subsidy or get paid to ride in parades and other events?

Dat Ghetto Cowboy: “All I know is that we own horses where the grass isn’t surrounding us and we take to the streets!”

“Managing horses can be very costly and time consuming .  But you lay down and make a decision and stick with it, but in time and at times it isn’t much; meaning that you don’t have to be rich I to own a horse or more. Just take care of your responsibility’s was a once you make that decision as with all things in life. I get up early in the morning to take care of my animals, just like if I lived on the farm. Some have to go out to the stables in the in the city before they go to work. But we all do it, because we love it!

Up top moving on four legs as people smile in disbelief. Yeah we too own the four legged beast! Having the abilities to do more than common! Ghetto cowboys and cowgirls

The Nola Chic: What was the name of your Dad’s organization and do you belong to his group now that you move? Do y’all pay dues like other Social and Pleasure Clubs in New Orleans?

Dat Ghetto Cowboy: “Our organization is the new Orleans Cajun Cowboys and once I get settled with this little newborn we all will reach out to any and hopefully every other organization with horses or not to assist with fundraising and ect.”

“Some organizations pay, but honestly I do it for the love and the culture.”

“Shout out to The Dirty South Riders and Homie in California, Platinum  Stallions.

When dem cowboys link up but wait until @thecowgirlsofcolor and @platinum_plus_stallions along with dsr of new Orleans, buffalo solders and a few others get together. Riders from parts of the states! Just wait on it.

Bundle up and sleep tight. Hold yahself!! Goodnight #Datghettocowboy

Talking about fun!! Man oh man

Tell yah grandma nem that dem damn menz outside again and they messing her grass. Be patient they comin back. # #Datghettocowboy

The Nola Chic: Has the gentrification of New Orleans affected the riders? Like the population of New Orleans is severely been altered since Katrina and how New Orleanians are continually being forced out of the Urban neighborhoods do you think this will decrease, affect the tradition? For example you moved at Atlanta.

Dat Ghetto Cowboy: “Its has in a major was, but where there’s a will there’s a way.”

“Nothing will stop us from riding!”

The Nola Chic: Wow! It’s that simple, but that’s New Orleans people for ya! “Nothing will stop Us!”

Dat Ghetto Cowboy: “Yes, Cuzin like I said I do it for the love and the culture!”

The Nola Chic: What’s better than being a cowboy?

🤧

Dat Ghetto Cowboy: “Ain’t nothing like it!

Where I’m from people dont expect to us to be more than what they see which is folks out the hood who wanna play ball or become a rapper…as u can see we do a lot more than what’s expected!! #Datghettocowboy

Once we realize that we are the kings and queens we’ll be 8ight but when we come together as brothers and sisters we’ll be beyond straight! Wake up and hold yahself and most importantly keep it ahunnit grand baby!

All work and no play. If it wasnt fah pops and unk teaching, me I would be a spectator

What a blessing it is when yah queen into them animals and wanna get down just like you! #Datghettocowboy

https://allthatsinteresting.com/black-cowboys

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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