Speaking of ducks: NY Times speculates on fate of former Peabody Hotel ducks | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Speaking of ducks: NY Times speculates on fate of former Peabody Hotel ducks

Posted By on Wed, Dec 25, 2013 at 9:56 AM

click to enlarge FATE UNKNOWN: Searching for the ducks that once splashed in Little Rock's Peabody Hotel. Odds are against them.
  • FATE UNKNOWN: Searching for the ducks that once splashed in Little Rock's Peabody Hotel. Odds are against them.

Amy Chozick, a reporter who covers the Clinton beat for the New York Times, was in Little Rock recently working up a magazine article on Hillary Clinton and her potential presidential candidacy. While here, she did a little enterprise reporting, looking into the whereabouts of the ducks that once waddled into a pool in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel, before it was sold and the ducks moved on.

The suggestion that the coddled ducks who once floated in the hotel's cement pond may have wound up floating in someone's gumbo.

This fall, just as many hunters readied their camouflage to head out in the Arkansas Delta for the time-honored tradition of hunting greenheads, word spread that the Peabody’s flock had flown back into the wild, raising concern over Little Rock’s own duck dynasty.

“I hate to think anybody would shoot one of my Peabody ducks,” said Odis Chapman, 79, a part-time Baptist preacher who raised the ducks that the Peabody used. He incubated them behind his white farmhouse on the grounds of a 5,000-acre former plantation in Scott, Ark.

Still, odds are against the ducks before hunting season ends late next month; nearly 530,000 mallards were killed last year during the state’s 60-day duck-hunting season.

Though all references to ducks have been stricken from the new Marriott and the former duck master is now a bellman and driver, some sensitivity remains.

At a recent staff meeting at the new Little Rock Marriott, Bill Fontes, the general manager, chatted with a colleague about a coming weekend of duck hunting. Bruce Skidmore, director of sales and marketing, interrupted: “Bill, too soon.”

The article recounts that the ducks were placed in a foster home, a ranch where hunting wasn't allowed. But they flew off, as ducks will do.

What reporter could resist a story about the Peabody Hotel without a reference to Paula Jones? Not this one.

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