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La Habra overrun by octuplets mania [UPDATED]

March 18, 2009 |  2:27 pm


The cars keep coming to Madonna Lane in La Habra. Just about every 90 seconds, the looky-loos pull in to the tiny cul-de-sac to take a quick glance at the house where the town’s newest and most famous resident -– Nadya Suleman -- has decided to live.

Sometimes, they snap pictures. Sometimes, they just make a U-turn and drive off. Mission accomplished. At 2051 Madonna Lane, the newest ground zero of the paparazzi universe, the scene got so chaotic Tuesday night that more than 200 residents called police to complain about the noisy helicopters circling above the town, and Suleman herself dialed 911.

"Paparazzi is trying to break down the garage door and they’re swarming the whole area," she told a dispatcher. "This is not safe for any of the kids."

Disgruntled neighbors became so frustrated with the attention over the weekend that on Sunday, they erected a barricade in an attempt to block access, only to have police make them take it down.

By Wednesday, with the first of two octuplets safely at home and nestled in their cribs, the scene had quieted -- but just a little. The cars and pedestrians were still coming. And the paparazzi still gathered outside, cramming the street with their cars and satellite trucks.

La Habra is a middle-class suburb on the northern tip of Orange County -- a city so off the beaten track that it’s one of Southern California’s few cities not on the freeway grid.

But then Suleman moved to town -- and people are having no trouble finding Madonna Lane. There’s Gloria Allred, the TV attorney reportedly forced to leave Suleman’s house last night after police received a call from the nanny. There’s the out-of-work contractor and the wannabe rapper looking to drum up free publicity by mugging for the cameras. Then there’s the paparazzi, jumping on her SUV, damaging her garage door and harassing neighbors.

"The protesters, the media, the looky-loos, hopefully it blows over because this is awful," said Tom Cosentino, whose girlfriend lives in the house adjacent to Suleman’s.

Updated at 2:50 p.m.: Allred said that she was not kicked out of the house -- and that it is unclear who made the 911 call because the nanny told police that she did not phone them. "I asked police if any criminal activity had been reported," Allred said. "They said no. After speaking with me, the officers left and I remained in the house. Later, after Nadya had arrived, I asked her whether or not she had wanted me out of the house. She said absolutely not and that she wanted me there."

-- Jessica Garrison and Kimi Yoshino

Photo: A resident of the neighborhood in which Nadya Suleman lives has choice words for the media camped out on the La Habra cul-de-sac. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Click here for more photos from the scene.