Queen of Bourbon Street Chris Owens invites us to her home
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Entertainer Chris Owens has been a fixture in New Orleans for decades. Her high energy shows pack in the crowds. But there's a private side to the Queen of Bourbon Street, and she invited FOX 8's Nancy Parker into her home for the holidays.
"So this is Christmas with Chris Owens," Nancy said.
"Yes I have to have my tree every year," she said pointing to a beautiful pastel masterpiece in sparkling in her living room.
Her home is as full of personality as she is. At Christmas it's a celebration of the season. A Christmas village tops the piano, complete with ice skating children and Santa's workshop. From wreaths to garland to a chandelier that looks like a disco ball, the grand dame of Bourbon Street loves calling the Quarter home.
The Texas native was visiting her sister in New Orleans in the early 1950s when she fell in love with the city.
"That was my first look at New Orleans, the most exciting place I'd ever seen in my life," Owens said.
"I came back in the late 50s and met my husband, who was in the automobile business. My whole world changed after that," she said.
Automobile dealer Sol Owens showed the girl who grew up on a farm near Abilene a life she'd never seen. They traveled the world.
"We went to Cuba. That's where I learned to dance. I danced on the stage in Havana. The music was so Latin and alive. I just loved it. My husband was a great Latin dancer," she said smiling.
They were regulars at swanky clubs like The Blue Room and even opened a club at 809 St. Louis. Eventually, they set their sights on another French Quarter property in the 1970s.
"He bought the building and put my club right on the corner," she said. "He decided to name it the Chris Owens club."
She was living a dream.
Born Christina Shaw, she was one of eight children. Her parents, Fred and Thelma Shaw, depended on the land to care for their family.
"We had horses and cattle and cotton," she said.
Chris never looked back. She and her husband had a home Uptown but decided to make the Quarter their home and business base.
"It took six apartments to make it big like it is now, and then two more floors upstairs," she said.
Her husband died in 1978, but the home they'd made together became the place to be for elaborate events over the decades.
"Caesar Romero, when he passed away, left in his will I should get two champagne glasses. You can see how petite they are. This is from the 1920s," she said.
She says she keeps her energy up through exercise, and off stage she pours her energy into community events like the Easter parade in New Orleans.
She loves seeing New Orleans shine.
"I love life and I love this place. People say, 'Have you ever thought about moving?' I said, 'No way.'"
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