Saturday, April 5, 2008
Characters of Natchez, MS: Buzz Harper
Antiques magnate and interior designer Buzz Harper works every room like a politician. And decorates every room like he's French nobility. This is his favorite room in the Prentiss Club, a turn-of-the-century gentlemen’s club in downtown Natchez that was in complete disrepair when he bought it. Buzz renovated and decorated the entire building and even lived here for a while before selling it in a deal that was too good to refuse. He calls the Prentiss Club his masterpiece. His zenith.
As a side note, before I met Buzz, I was warned that he was a vampire. He lived in New Orleans for years, and was the neighbor and close friend of Anne Rice. He is almost 80 years old, but he’s in great shape and looks at least 20 years younger. He eats all his beef raw. Not rare. Straight out of the fridge with a little salt and garlic. (I know, but stick with me.)
So, in one of my conversations with Buzz, he told me that he once loved collecting antiques. He realized that they were just things, though. Now he collects people. “I am a vampire,” he said. I have witnesses. Of course, what he meant was that he feeds on the energy of creativity of his friends who surround him. But those words still came out of his mouth.