And Her Pearls
Laura Claverie is a stylish woman who lives in a beautiful Garden District home and is always fashionably dressed. She is seldom seen without her signature South Sea pearl earrings and a strand or more of pearls around her neck.
“I bought my earrings in Vietnam because I had never seen pearls that were round and flat before.” Pearls seem the perfect adornment for the journalist who has written for everything from Time to the Dallas Morning News, Family Circle to Louisiana Cookin’ and today she writes a regular column on antiques for New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles and a column named “Hip Granny” for Nola Baby.
Laura is not limited to her South Sea pearl earrings as she unabashedly explains: “Some of my pearls are real and gorgeous, some mediocre, and some junk, I have costume and good pearls that belonged to my mom, grandmother, mother-in-law and some that have absolutely no pedigree.”
Her love of pearls goes back to her childhood. “I think my first ‘pearls’ came from the dime store,” she says. “I probably asked for them because I wanted to look like my mother, who always wore pearls.” And she just found a pearl necklace that her parents gave her when she was about 10 years old. “They don’t fit around my neck anymore and Amelia, my six-year-old granddaughter, will probably get them soon.”
Laura came to New Orleans fresh out of the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English. In a way, it was a coming home for the starry-eyed young journalist who was born in New Orleans when her father was an intern at the U.S. Public Health Hospital on Tchoupitoulas Street. He later did his residency in anesthesiology at Ochsner Hospital and then moved his family to Alexandria where he practiced for many years while Laura grew up.
It wasn’t long after she arrived in New Orleans as a young journalist that she met and married Philip Claverie, a successful local attorney, and never left the city again. Her 44-year professional career in New Orleans has included being one of the producers of WWL-TV’s talk show, “Angela.”
“I wrote and supervised the production of almost 1200 shows,” she says. “Working with Angela Hill was a dream job—she is so smart, funny, dedicated and honest. I also found it exciting to be a regular stringer for nearly 10 years for Time in its golden days when I wrote about everything New Orleans, from Jimmy Swaggart’s arrest to the Pope John Paul II’s visit in September 1987.”
Along with her journalism career, Laura earned a master’s degree from Tulane University, and found time to be active in many civic and cultural endeavors, including serving on the City Park board since before Hurricane Katrina and as a founder of a neighborhood crime prevention group called SOS Nola. Started six months ago, the program now includes 50 very diverse participating neighborhoods.
And it is easy to see how Laura’s style that she calls “clean and simple lines, bright colors, no-iron whenever possible, skirts a little too short because she likes her skinny legs,” fits perfectly with her love of pearls. She smiles when she explains that her favorite pearls are actually pearl and diamond earrings her husband gave her a few years ago for Christmas.