Column: Stalking good for business

JOHN ADAMS Papparazzo-In-Training

While some read books or watch TV my hobby is a little more involved. I like to waste my time stalking celebrities.

I hate to call it stalking, so let’s just call it paparazzo-in-training. Over the past year, I have tracked down three of my favorite celebrities: Anderson Cooper, Kelly Ripa and of course, Ms. Britney Spears. However, I have only been successful one and a half times.

When Anderson Cooper was filming his show, Anderson Cooper 360, in five cities across America as a backdrop for the economic crisis; naturally, he chose someone’s front yard in Chalmette. I knew he planned a New Orleans trip, but didn’t know the exact location. As my friend and I sat down in a library study room and turned on the TV, I realized the show was live and we still had time to make it. After a quick phone call I immediately discovered the location and we bolted out the door, putting our project (which was due the next day) on hold.

We arrived at the location, after passing it up once, just in the nick of time. The show had just ended and there was a crowd of about 300 people around Cooper trying to get his autograph and picture. We jumped out of the car and fought our way to the front to snap a picture with the silver fox. Following our successful distraction, we got back in the car, stopped to get daiquiris and then continued to school to finish our homework. We were a little upset that we didn’t get to talk to him, but we didn’t want to be the jerks who held Cooper up.

My next stalker attempt was when Britney decided to kick start her tour right here in New Orleans. I did not have high hopes because I knew she was probably surrounded by bodyguards 24/7. However, a text message in the middle of class prompted me to skip my next class and check out a potential location. I headed down to the Venue on Tchoupitoulas Street only to find a dead scene. I decided to call that one a bust and went home to get ready for her concert.

I like to consider my last attempt a half-success. I may not have taken a picture with Kelly Ripa but I did get a point, a smile and a “Hey guys.” Regis and Kelly were in town filming four shows, three of which I attended. For the first show I wore a shirt that read “Kelly will you Ripa this shirt off me,” and it worked. During a commercial break she happened to walk towards my section where she saw my shirt, pointed and smiled.

After learning the lay of the land, the next day I decided to show up at 2 a.m. While I was waiting, I saw the van that was used to transport them sitting outside the hotel so I figured that would be a better stake out spot. After a few minutes, Kelly came and walked towards the van. Instead of asking for her picture I just chickened out and screamed “I love you Kelly,” just like a little girl.

As a journalism major I look at these experiences as life lessons for my future. I know that you must try to get your story even if chances seem slim. Sometimes you will strike out. Finally, don’t be a chicken, or you will wind up looking like a little girl.