(NEW ORLEANS) PBS’ own “Antiques Roadshow” made its way over to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans this summer on July 22.
When I first heard news of the show’s impending arrival from a WYES advertisement months prior, my family decided on a whim to apply for the tickets, which were given to select applicants at no charge.
Alas, we were only issued two tickets, the limit per applicant.
Of course, it was my idea to apply, so I decided who was to come with me.
After some thought, I decided to take my grandfather, an avid watcher of the program who has never missed an episode, to be my plus-one.
In exchange, I was treated to brunch at Brennan’s, a first-time experience for me, which will not be forgotten. But, the highlight of the day was yet to come.
After schlepping our four items one whole mile down the vast corridors of the Morial Convention Center, my grandfather and I finally reached Hall J.
As we entered the line to approach the set, feelings of anticipation approached me rapidly. I thought to myself, will we end up on television?
My grandfather and I had spent one full hour trying to create the perfect pitch to make it past the appraisers to the camera. Our artifacts included an autographed academic journal acknowledgment to my uncle Joe Fisher, four times removed, from T. Harry Williams, an LSU professor, who wrote the oral history biography, “Huey Long.” The acknowledgement thanks Uncle Joe for his contributions to this Pulitzer Prize winning biography.
Along with the note was an antique pocket watch which belonged to Uncle Joe, and his mother’s porcelain biscuit jar.
My four times removed uncle, along with his uncle in the senate, was a Louisiana Representative from Jefferson Parish during the Long era and was heavily involved in the storied governor’s life; he could even be considered one of his closest ardent supporters.
One time, Joe Fisher even held someone who had intentions to reveal a vice of Huey’s captive at his fishing camp in Grand Isle by taking him fishing for the weekend. Considering the times, this was acceptable. Many elections in this era were fixed, and to keep an even playing field, Fisher had to simply conduct some business.
My grandfather attempted to sell the story to each category of which our wares belonged, so that we could possibly move on to a pitch with a producer to get a television interview.
As we waited in line to enter the set, we spoke with many people and inquired upon what each of them had brought. One Canadian woman had a suit which belonged to New Orleans trumpeter Al Hirt, another woman had a very snazzy Tiffany and Co. pendant watch.
We started our appraisal process with the pocket watch, the item of ours which had the most value. But, with no luck to advance to a producer there, we approached the next part of the procedure.
We had the signed article examined in the Books and Manuscripts division of the Roadshow. The article was said to be important historically to a cult audience, but held little value monetarily. It was for that reason that we were once again denied advancement. We were told that we would have had a chance to advance, however, if the signed article had been on a first edition of the Huey Long biography.
With little hope left for a close-up stint on television, we decided to finally have the porcelain jar looked at in the glass division. This interview was the shortest, as we were told that supply exceeded demand for this item.
In conclusion, we did not make the cut for a personal appearance; however, it was a day well-spent with a relative that I needed to catch up with. He and I both had a great time and would go again if the Roadshow ever decided to roll back into town.
Really fascinating, well-written article. I look forward to reading more of your personal adventures.