People come and people go in New Orleans. People are always coming into town to film movies and generally take away all your parking when they film on your street. When I first moved down here it wasn't unusual to hear that Kim Kardashian was visiting for the weekend. Of course at the time she was dating Reggie Bush. My, how things can change in a short amount of time (I kinda miss you Reggie!). And way back when I first came to New Orleans on a family vacation to the French Quarter, Trent Reznor and Anne Rice both lived in the Garden District; but they have since moved on.
These days, we have a new influx of famous people along with the ones who are permanently woven into the fabric of this great city, and they're not going anywhere. And if you live in New Orleans, chances are you've run into a few famous people. This is something that caught me off guard at first because I'd see someone I'd recognize and I'd think I was losing it. You just don't see many famous actors or musicians hanging out in Columbus (except that one Eric Clapton incident), so I wasn't used to it. A few months back I was stopping by the Walgreens on St. Claude to satisfy a chocolate ice cream fix and swore I saw Tim Robbins walking down the aisles on his phone, talking heatedly as he picked up a six-pack of something. I was like, "Hey! It's my friend Andy Dufresne! What's goin' on Andy?"
But I didn't think he'd appreciate that on a Tuesday night at a Walgreens on St. Claude… the guy probably just wanted to get in and out. And I also couldn't be sure that it was really him. I mean, what famous people go to Walgreens? Lame famous people, that's who.
A week after the Andy Dufresne incident I was grabbing a pint with my pal Elizabeth and she casually mentioned that she'd seen Tim Robbins riding a bicycle around the Bywater and that he had just happened to direct an episode of Treme. I thought … wow, that must have been him. Good ol' Tim Robbins.
I've run into a few other famous people along the way. There were fun times (and by fun times I mean staring at them without saying a word) with Jason Segel and Kellan Lutz. I saw Jason Segal at Lucy's and tried to give off a vibe that said, I love your work… marry me? But it didn't work.
Kellan Lutz (for all those fangirls on Team Emmet) is one of those sparklepires in some kind of movie "saga" that everyone loves so much. My friends and I spotted him at Markey's … he was there getting crushed at shuffle board after a hard days work with the St. Bernard Project.
The only other famous person I even remotely brushed elbows with in New Orleans was Matthew McConaughey. I saw him walking his bike down Magazine St while I was out shopping for Christmas presents. I was looking at something in a window and saw him mosey on by talking to some other fella in his Texas drawl… and the only thing I could think was this was definitely the voice that said, "All right, all right, all right" in Dazed and Confused. I'm ashamed to say it, but I was dumbstruck.
So anyway, here are my top 5 famous people in New Orleans. I hope to meet them one day. And I hope to have something intelligent to say instead of just staring at them with my tongue tied and making them feel uncomfortable.
5. Sandra Bullock.
America's Sweetheart. God bless her. I've always loved this girl and I think that secretly, one of my favorite movies of all time is While You Were Sleeping. It's so cute! She also seems very down-to-earth and cool and her son Louie is way adorable. And I really hope she ends up with that cute-as-a-button Ryan Renyolds. (Yes, I read way too much on-line gossip.)
4. Drew Brees
He's the current local messiah. I follow him on Twitter and the guy just sounds like one of the nicest and smartest people on the planet. I've never ever heard anyone say anything bad about the guy. I mean, what is there to say? Nothing. He's perfect. I bet that if you took him out to Lake Pontchartrain, he'd be able to walk across it.
3. Brad Pitt
I like Chewbacca Brad Pitt. I think this is his best look.
I had kind of grown tired of Brad Pitt. I was tired of seeing his face plastered around magazines while I stand behind some woman making 10 different transactions at Walmart. He's one of those actors that is just too damn big for his britches. But in all honestly, whenever I watch his interviews, I see a very grounded and laid-back person talking … so maybe the tabloid thing isn't all his fault. And I'll tell you what… I highly enjoyed Moneyball, the man still looks absolutely gorgeous. And of course, you can't forget his humanitarianism. His "Make it Right" foundation. He genuinely seems like he's trying to make a difference. He's cool.
2. John Goodman
I've never seen him around, but my friend Liz has while he was hanging out at Whole Foods, which is a good thing. He's trying to stay healthy and he looks great! I think that one of the coolest perks to being rich must be being able to do your grocery shopping at Whole Foods like it was nothing. I aspire to this. I don't care about buying big houses or fancy cars … I just want to shop at Whole Foods and not worry about them taking my "Whole Paycheck". I want to buy a bottle of bee pollen for $20 and not flinch. Anyways, about John Goodman. He seems like a great guy and I loved his character on Treme. He was awesome on there and he really broke my heart. And who doesn't love The Big Lebowski? Or Dan Conner?
1. Nic Cage
What can you say about Nic Cage? Other than that he's kind of a weirdo. Have you seen Bad Leutenient: Port of Call New Orleans? My fiancé put it on one night and I stared at the TV totally mystified, thinking … is this for real? This can't be for real! But I couldn't look away.
He's just so interesting (i.e., crazy) and it seems like if you talk to any of the bartenders around here, they all have a story about him. Every single one.
He bought the old LaLaurie House in the Quarter but he didn't live there… he only "entertained" there. Could you imagine having so many houses that you only use some of them for entertaining purposes?
But he didn't own it for long because it went into foreclosure. I'm sure that his money problems have to have something to do with the fact that he never turns down movie roles. Like … Drive Angry 3D? Season of the Witch? The list goes on and on. Doesn't matter how bad the script is, Nic Cage will make the movie!
And it seems like whenever he's in town, hilarity ensues… a few months back he got kicked out of Stella! (one the of best and most expensive restaurants in the city) and proceeded to shatter their front window.
And after reading this story about how Nic Cage tried to hit on a few girls in the Quarter by saying things like, "You're a contender!" and "You're not!" we keep hoping to see him when we're out for a night on the town. We'll say, "Hey, I bet we see Nic Cage tonight and he tells us we're contenders – but only if we're really lucky!!"
So who are your favorite famous people in New Orleans? Any interesting brushes with celebrities? Anyone have a funny Nic Cage story? I know there are probably lots of you out there. I'd love to hear some.