The creative people in Fairhope

October 7, 2015



I never cease to be amazed at the creative people in Fairhope.

imagesSome of them just visit, and some decide to live here. This past weekend Michael Buble’ was spotted, as was Giada DeLaurentiis. (separately – I think). I’m sure they both tried to call me, but my phone probably wasn’t working!


Fairhope has always been a secret little get-away for creative types. Here, you can blend in with the locals who don’t care (much) about who you are.


Many accomplished people choose to live in Fairhope, and they become regular people we see in the Piggly Wiggly or sit next to in church and never even realize who they are or what escapades have transpired in their previous years.

Leslie Anne Tarabella, Tod Johnson, Fairhope ALHere I am last week, sipping raspberry-green tea outside Latte’ Da with my friend Tod Johnson. Tod hosts a local radio show every Thursday on WABF and worked with every star “back in the day” from Doris Day (who also visited Fairhope last year) to Elizabeth Taylor, and oh . . . by the way, after I had known Tod for a while, discovered he has won four Oscars. As in– Academy Awards. They are for work he did years ago on documentaries. Sitting at the table just out of view was my friend I’ve written about, Ron Meszaros, who has written several books and also worked for most of his career in Hollywood, along with his lovely wife, artist Ellen Grigg.


Leslie Anne Tarabella at WABF radio.Once or twice a month, I appear on Tod’s show, “Culturally Speaking” and read one of my stories from the newspaper. You can read more about the show HERE.
Leslie Anne Tarabella and Rick Bragg

A few nights earlier, I went over to The Venue and heard author Rick Bragg talk about his new book. Oh, in case you didn’t know,  he has a Pulitzer Prize Award, but he’s also just a regular Fairhope kind of guy, although he said living in Fairhope made him feel . . . “precious.” Just a little too cutesy for him, I think. He’s hilarious that way.


Leslie Anne Tarabella and Judith Richards, Fairhope AL

While I was standing around talking with the Pulitzer Prize winner, someone else introduced me to Judith Richards, who I’ve always wanted to meet. She has written many books, including the popular Thelonious Rising and has received two Alabama Author Awards. Judith was so friendly and I can’t wait to visit with her again soon.

Leslie Anne Tarabella, Fairhope Alabama

At a recent little soiree’, I chatted with my friend on the left, Dr. Karyn Tunks, who will soon release her new children’s book based on the story of the USS Alabama, and on the right, Clara and Dr. Bill Nuggent, who is probably THE most talented man in town. Very humble, I first knew him as the nice man who would conduct the children’s violin choir at church. “How sweet,” I thought. Come to find out, he’s a world renowned composer, former Chancellor of the Arkansas State University System, was the first band director at Samford University and wrote their fight song. He’s worked with the biggest names in the industry like Dave Brubeck and used to have breakfast with Wal-Mart CEO Sam Walton every week.


The party also had the fabulous mix of an attorney, firefighter, rocket scientist, business owners and an assortment of gorgeous, brilliant, Southern ladies, who always spice up a party. It’s just another regular old group of Fairhope people!


I was thinking about all these amazing folks, plus others like the author of Forest Gump, Winston Groom, and another favorite who pops out stories for The NY Times every now and then, Roy Hoffman, both of whom I see every now and then in Page and Palette Bookstore, and writer John O’Melveny Woods, who also has a Hollywood film background has settled here and jumped right into community events.


George Kirchoff, Fairhope Alabama

I had known George Kirchoff, for years, before I learned he was the inventor of the air bag! As in . . . has saved thousands of lives – POOF! Air Bag! Who knew? (click on George’s name to read a story about him, written by . . . Roy Hoffman!)


I know other towns have famous and accomplished residents, but I find it highly interesting for all of these folks to congregate in a small town in Alabama.


Professional football players, Broadway actors, Food Network Chefs, so many writers and artists (who hang in the Smithsonian – Dean Mosher) we lose track of them all . . . this is just a great town, and the common thread is these people are all so incredibly nice. I guess there’s an official city ordinance that stipulates if you have received recognition for anything great and you want to move here, you have to be nice and normal.

best water in the state - Fairhope Alabama

I think there’s something in our water that makes people creative. Actually, now that I think about it, Fairhope’s water was even awarded, “best water in the state.”


Dang. Even our water is famous.

But it’s really nice, down-to-earth water.

  • Just scrolling along reading about all the creative peeps in our adopted hometown and was surprised and honored to see our pic together. Thanks so much for the shout out. I hope you include yourself in that list of creative individuals.

    Now what is this about Doris a Day visiting Fairhope last year??? As her biggest fan I’m sure I would have sensed her presence! Can’t wait to hear more. Got to go…time for some pillow talk. (:

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Yes! I heard from several people she was here. Probably looking for you!

      • I’ll be on the lookout from now on!

  • You, my friend, should win a Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in reporting on and capturing the magical essence of a town. I will absolutely, definitely, without a doubt visit you one day. Actually, I’ll probably have to stay a few weeks because there are so many things on my “must do and see in Fairhope” list! Maybe Katie Clooney and I will take a road trip!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Oh, thanks Mo! You and Katie should definitely make a trip to Fairhope sometime. We’ll roll out the red carpet for you!

  • Oh this is the sweetest reflection of our Fairhope. Thank you for sharing it! Its a true reflection of what life is like> I enjoy recognizing such public faces being able to JUST BE and not suffocated by adoring fans. People in our area just get it! It IS a Blessing to live out loud, freely and refreshingly on the Eastern Shore! Thanks for the great article. I shared it on my page too:)) (Hope that is ok with ya)

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks for reading Kathy!

  • Such a neat post Leslie Anne….I would be eagle eyes every time I went out to do errands trying to spot the rich and famous.:) Savannah Ga is another place that the celebs like to hang out. Sandra Bullock shopped in my sister in law’s beauty supply store one day!!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I can see why everyone, famous or not, would want to visit Savannah. It’s so beautiful there. I’m so clueless when it comes to celebrities, As far as our little town goes, I’ve probably sat right next to some of the famous faces without even knowing who they were!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Beemie. We love it too!

  • Love this piece and it’s so nice to see your pride in your hometown. I’ve always thought that was so neat, too, the way the famous just become part of the town and you never really know they’re there. Maybe that’s one reason why they chose Fairhope.
    I still dream about hanging out with Fannie Flagg one day; I’ve already met her, just want to “hang out” with her. Maybe I’ll ask my famous friend, Leslie Anne, to pull a few strings for me next time Fannie’s in town…
    Oh, and I need to get over there to buy a few gallons of that water…I’ll let you know if it does anything for me. Keeping my fingers crossed!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I think you’re doing a good job promoting creativity in the North part of the county! And as for Fannie Flagg, I’ve met her before too, and don’t you think she’s completely down to earth? I wish she’d move back here so we could both hang out with her! I’m sure she’d be thrilled! Ha!

  • You crack me up — you are too modest. You are right up there in the company of all these swell people.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Ha! Thanks Ellen. I try to drink as much of the water as possible!

  • Sounds like a wonderful place to live. I hope to visit one day. I enjoy reading about all the happenings around Fairhope.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Tracey, we love getting visitors. Hope you can make it down one day.

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