Comedian Joan Rivers works voodoo magic in New Orleans

Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:15am EDT
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By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - It was one of those couldn't-happen-anywhere-else moments in New Orleans that sometimes leaves outsiders scratching their heads.

There was comedian Joan Rivers, veteran of cosmetic surgeries and snarky red carpet commentary, plying her trade on a little-known stage, cracking wise and raising money for a community center run by a voodoo priestess.

New Orleans has long been known for its eccentricities - Bourbon Street, black magic and all that jazz - and visitors might have seen Rivers' show as just another example of the city's offbeat vibe.

But for survivors of Hurricane Katrina, raising funds to benefit New Orleans' Healing Center was a cause to care about.

For Rivers, the shows were a chance to help a friend, voodoo priestess Sallie Anne Glassman, who once exorcised a "demon" from Rivers' Manhattan apartment - and that's no joke.

Glassman, who last year married one of the city's most prominent real estate developers, co-founded a retail and community meeting space she dubbed the Healing Center to help invigorate the Bywater neighborhood.

"She is enlightened beyond the spiritual and touched with a magic that most of us are not," Rivers told Reuters ahead of her New Orleans appearance earlier this week.

The two first met 20 years ago, when Rivers called on Glassman to help rid her Manhattan apartment of a bothersome ghost. Rivers had not yet moved into the apartment when she noticed alarming signs that the place might be haunted.   Continued...

Comedian Joan Rivers arrives for the premiere of the documentary "Joan Rivers - A Piece Of Work" during the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 25, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson