Bride and groom at the Millennial wedding at Mardi Gras World
My cousin Sidney, a tireless self-promoter and husband many times over has done it again. After marrying three times within three decades, he couldn't let another ten years pass before finding Miss Right again. The girl he chose Saturday night, Georgianna, is probably the loveliest and may be the youngest bride he has ever wed, a mere 26 years old. At 55, Sidney, that old rascal, is twice her age and then some, but the couple seems truly happy and unconcerned about conventionality. Take the wedding, for example. It was held at Blaine Kern's recently opened Mardi Gras World, the interior of which houses an antebellum mansion replete with faux live oaks bearing Spanish moss and all manner of fake flora and fauna. The bridal party seemed like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean with "wenches" dressed up in specially-designed costumes that looked like, well, wenches. Leading the procession was a young fairy, complete with genuine gossamer wings. The bride's mother and the bride each wore period pieces with hoop skirts. The bride's black-tinged and dark red taffeta gown featured a breathtaking four-foot long train bejeweled with crystals. The two wedding cakes were also anything but standard. The bride's cake was a three-foot tall expansion of a red bass drum, a blue throw pillow, a woman's bodice and two smaller red drums on top , the uppermost adorned with peacock feathers. The groom's cake was a guitar festooned with sugar figurine faces of all four Beatles. The band played many Beatles tunes in obvious homage to the influential band that led Sidney to pick up his first guitar and, more importantly, to pick up a camera and start documenting some of the most famous musicians who came through New Orleans in the period beginning in the late Sixties. Sidney's photographic essays at the Warehouse and other venues became so well-known that his work became legend even so that his idol Paul McCartney chose Sidney to take pictures during his recording sessions at Sea-Saint Studios for the album that became "Venus and Mars." For those of you who wonder why Sidney's pictures aren't credited on the album, there is a sad story there. Apparently, the awe-struck photographer was the victim of thievery when someone spied his bag full of cameras and rolls of spent film and decided to make off with it from a party aboard a Mississippi riverboat McCartney had rented. To this day he only wishes he could get back the irreplaceable film of McCarntey, his wife Linda and other famous friends that probably landed in the garbage somewhere. Even though those pictures got away, Sidney has plenty of others behind that he's taken in the decades since. A French Quarter gallery on Royal Street showcases much of his photography as well as that of his son Justin's artwork. Also, since the decade of the Eighties he became a tour promoter, emphasizing the macabre and mysterious in the form of his Haunted History Tours, seen on the Travel Channel and written up in travel magazines the world over. His company is the original, although many copycat operators have sprung up in the decades since. The wedding reception went on until late evening Saturday night and then to continue the celebrations he invited family and friends to his Uptown home where he hosted not one, but two bands to serenade guests with even more Beatles music throughout the very rainy day. Not to miss a beat, Sidney unveiled his new TV show "Haunted New Orleans" at midnight on Sunday, the first of 13 shows that will be repeated an additional three times each over the course of the next year. The host of the show as seen on Channel 26, Chicago Tribune owned WGNO-TV, of course, is none other than the incontrovertible and redoubtable executive producer Sidney Smith. In a little over a day, he has gone from bachelor to husband and from promoter to producer. Nice job, Sidney, and many happy returns....or is that reruns?