So I was having just an ordinary day here in my home in New Orleans when I get an email from a friend, who got an email from a friend, who got an email from a friend of Joan Rivers that they were both coming to New Orleans for just 24 hours for a wedding and had a couple of hours to spare and could I recommend a couple of good restaurants, museums, etc. I love it when people from other places come to visit our lovely city and so I'm always happy to oblige. So one thing led to another and what do you know????
She came down with the handsome and talented, Scott Currie, Elie Tahari's Global Communications VP. Joan wanted to see some New Orleans sights and visit some real New Orleans' homes. So I made a couple of phone calls....
I met them at Commander's Palace where they had a lovely Sunday brunch outside in the courtyard.
As I spotted the all too familiar red carpet hostess who has made a career out of telling it how it is, I didn't know what to expect -- Was she going to be an intolerable diva???? Would she be rude, self-absorbed and Mommy Dearish-like???? Was she going to ask me "who I was wearing" in a way that made me want to run and hide and get therapy for the rest of my life? I mean, we've heard all the stories, right?
Well, I tell you, she was one of the sweetest, most gracious, most approachable and most appreciative people I've ever met and the same, of course, goes to Scott. She obligingly posed with countless of tourists who immediately recognized her and then, like a child in a candy store, ran across the street after brunch to peer through the gates of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, which is the cemetery directly across from Commander's Palace and most often used in films made in New Orleans. Side note: I never really understood tourists' fascination with New Orleans' cemeteries as I see them on a daily basis driving around, until I stop and realize that ours are the only ones above grounds due to the necessity of burying our dead above the water level of this city. In the photo above, Joan and I are standing infront of Lafayette Cemetery -- see the tombs behind us? Some are 250 years old! But I digress...
Moving on --
From there, I promised Joan that she could see the insides of some gorgeous New Orleans homes, rich in interior design and history. So one of the places I thought of immediately was New Orleans developer Sean Cummings' mansion on Esplanade Avenue. Sean has been a dear friend of mine for many years and when I called him to tell him I was bringing Joan over, he graciously opened his doors (and considering he had had a wild Halloween party the night before in his home, I felt doubly honored that he would do so).
Sean's house is absolutely magnificent. Take a look for yourselves:
The waterfall Swarovski crystal chandelier in the entrance hall was flown in from Austria and I'm always mesmerized to see its magnificence. I think Joan wanted to bring it home with her.
The music room, with an ancient fertility bed on the forefront (don't ask).
The Audrey Hepburn room. Sean is good friends with Sean Ferrer, Audrey's son with Will Ferrer.
The bar room, one of the only rooms that Sean left untouched during his entire renovation of the house.
The chandelier in the master bath above was originally hanging in the entrance hall when Sean bought the place from Nicholas Cage. I think the waterfall chandelier makes a greater impact, don't you think? But Sean kept it and moved it to the corner of his bathroom.
Media room above and conference/office below (all in the same room).
Stunning, right? Joan and Scott were truly blown away.
From there, we were supposed to visit Julia Reed and John Pearce's gorgeous 1847 Greek Revival house on First Street in the Garden District. John was a former law partner of mine and mentor and he and Julia most graciously agreed to share their home with Joan. Unfortunately, a snow storm in NY delayed Joan and Scott's arrival in the Big Easy and so all our plans had to be cut short and we were not able to make that part of the visit. Maybe on your next trip, Joan?
So that was how I spent my Sunday afternoon today. I'm now home in my pajamas and fuzzy slippers blogging away on my laptop while Liam and Roma are sound asleep and ready for their big Halloween trick or treating tomorrow. I better get some sleep.