Richard Douvillier has seen Blue Men, huge Chihuly glass sea creatures and a fantastic fox. His place of work, a the four-story warehouse, has been wrapped and draped in pink tulle and Cleopatra’s barge has “floated” in the building’s garage.
For 23 years, Richard has been a constant fixture at the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center, seated behind a piece of art — a glass sculpture created by Gene Koss — manning the front desk.
Along the way he’s met Brad Pitt, Beyoncé, Edward Albee, Linda Ronstadt and Dr. John, just to name a few.
Daily he answers a multitude of standard, stupid and off-the-wall questions, directs guests and tourists to the center’s ever-changing 10,000 square feet of gallery space and calms musicians’, artists’ and actors’ nerves.
He was there when a cat named Mr. Meow roamed the galleries and also when theater audiences wore mittens to watch plays and concerts because there was no heat in the center’s theater.
He remembers an evening rehearsal of director Carl Walker’s homage to 1960s girl groups, Where The Girls Were, when ominous smoke billowed around the light fixtures.
“I called 911 and then started getting people out of the building. And Carl kept yelling, ‘Get the wigs! Someone please get the wigs!’”
Fortunately, there was no harm done, and the CAC continues successfully serving its truly multi-disciplinary mission.
On Saturday, Feb. 11, Richard will be working yet another SweetArts Ball. The event celebrates the individuals and organizations that embody the heart and soul of the New Orleans cultural arts community.
And though he can’t honestly say he’s loved every minute of his job, he can say it’s the best job he’s ever had.
“It’s something different every day.”