TJ FISHER BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
"TJ Fisher is a Southern author, documentarist and social critic christened 'Swamp Empress' for living certifiably boldfacey on Bourbon Street in the Vieux Carré (old square) — the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Anointed by The Advocate (Baton Rouge) as "suitably outrageous and eccentric to represent New Orleans," Fisher drove a 1959 pink Cadillac convertible named Lulabell. Fisher'’s finned-tail Caddy appears in her works of fiction and non-fiction." — tjfisher.net
Curious insights, snippets and tidbits
A whimsical firebrand filled with a "never-a-dull-moment" sense of daring and commitment, Tamara Fisher is a flame-haired workaholic and part-time blonde with a proclivity for surreal drama. Her friends call her an "impetuous and idealistic romanticist." Never one to shy away from providing plenty of fodder for gossip columnists, she enjoys engaging in famously public feuds and vocal challenges. With a legendary sharp sense of humor and a flamboyant nature, intriguing stories of her outrageous hijinks, comedic talent and eccentricity abound.
[For information about TJ's lawsuit against banking goliath Bank of America (BofA) and the ex-Baltimore Raven Michael McCrary litigation, please see TJFisher.net; details of the BofA court case are profiled on the PR News Channel TJ Fisher press releases. Definitely, one colorful, intriguing, twisted nightmare saga! High-profile national news! Weird "movie of the week" sweeping legal and financial drama!]
Unconventional and superstitious, TJ is a fiercely loyal and yet capricious wild card in motion, a cutting-edge personage armed with a commanding and yet beguiling presence. A person who does not back down a woman who is always willing, ready and able to stand on the frontline and fight for what she believes in and loves ― TJ embraces life with an open and caring "anything-goes" attitude.
Many call her the ultimate paradox: mystique-laden and quixotic, with gumption in the genes, yet warm and open, down-to-earth. She is noted for being original in everything she does. Her distinguished characteristics are a perfect fusion of Old World class, panache and idiosyncrasy ― mixed with a modern edge.
TJ is an award-winning author of multiple works on New Orleans ― her writings and visions capture the heart and soul of the city; her colorful narratives and imagery chronicle the people, places and spirit of New Orleans, past and present. Taking readers on resonate and deep journeys of passion and emotion, TJ's original voice grabs hold and ignites the senses; she provokes and stirs the emotions. She is well known for unleashing torrents of lush and spirited words.
A lifelong and natural-born gifted raconteur, writer, documentary filmmaker and thespian, TJ possesses a Bohemian soul; she finds "intrigue and inspiration in the dreams deferred and life’s detours."
As one who well knows the up-down winding spirals of destiny, TJ has come to know that illusions shatter but memories remain. As the owner of a haunted heart with a deep longing for nostalgic remembrances of bygone eras, TJ seeks out "places that time forgot, where the clock is ticking." She finds deep reflections in the ring of memories captured in the shade of ancestors.
An artistic and complicated woman of illogical duality and intrigue, one who has always led an unusual life of creativity and complications, TJ’s friends say she maintains an unknowable internal life.
With an intense psyche, curious and unconventional, TJ dares to be different, to court controversy. Along the roller-coaster ride of life, she fearlessly takes leaps of faith. TJ values the premise of listening to the heart over the head, trusting in spontaneity and risk over calculation. Believing in the power of instinct over reason, she is attracted to the age-old ideal of embracing "forgiveness over judgment, impermanence over permanence, and tradition over trendy." She finds the ancient draw, allure and exotic eccentricity of New Orleans to be "irresistible, spectral, mysterious and inexplicable."
Unorthodox and evasive, private and secretive, yet keenly intimate and warm, known for her disarming candor, she is the ultimate paradox, social yet reclusive. TJ divides her time between the historic French Quarter of New Orleans and South Florida.
Deeply affected and haunted by Katrina, yet equally driven and galvanized, the passing of the storm resulted in her successfully overcoming a longtime
Her earliest writings were childhood accounts published while she was a grade-school student, and her documentary-filmmaking days and former life in Haiti affected and molded her thinking more so than any other time, period or place in her life; that is, until New Orleans.
Consumed with a preoccupation with studying the grim and great and mysterious social, political and emotional realities, TJ is a person drawn to pursue and investigate the dark edges, dramas and complexities of life; she particularly loves historical locales that provide "an artistically fertile mix of stimulation with isolation."
Familiar with the fast track, slow track, and no track at all, TJ has long followed and wandered to her own individualistic drumbeat. A detailed perfectionist and obsessive-compulsive, she can spend years to complete and finish a project at hand, only to decide to discard it or never let anyone become privy to the rare and wonderful magic she has created, in words and more.
Fascinated by the unusual rhythm and hum, the mystique and majesty, the impressions and emotions of timeless and ancient cities, she is unafraid to travel an idiosyncratic road. She feels that the visible and invisible handprint of turbulent times the corrosive fading echoes and splendor of olden places "is something mystical and ethereal, giving insight into the soul of time and mankind."
Minimalist anything is not her calling card, and she feels that overly civilly polite and perfect people are bland, while colorful scandals and sassy people make history. Born of a questing and empathetic nature, she is attracted to documenting the immense confections, concoctions, incarnations and incantations of life. She says life-changing events give rise to hard-earned wisdom. Perhaps that is why she has long embraced the rich literary history of Louisiana.
A native Floridian, she first became enamored with storied New Orleans as a young child, and although she has called many places home the Vieux Carré has long been the irreplaceable "home of her heart." Her home was on Bourbon Street. TJ's storied former Vieux Carré Rue Bourbon residence has a rich and colorful legacy, as most French Quarter properties do. A fascinating free woman of color and Creole artisans built the existing balconied structure more than 150 years ago. The property's intriguing and documented history, and the series of distinctive hands it has passed through, has been traced in detail by historians back to the late 1700s.
A lover of the echoes of enchantments of history, and the past in the present, TJ also has a Crayola pink turn-of-the-century wooden beach cottage in Florida. The Key West-style property is designated as the state's smallest landmark structure.
Although she maintains a home in the island paradise town of Palm Beach, Florida, she claims to be a total non-joiner of groups, and is equally a bit reserved and antisocial when in residence. She panics at the thought of parties and has never been on any type of a socialite committee, for anything, in her entire life. TJ appreciates Palm Beach, and big-brim straw hats, yet she is the consummate antithesis of what many believe a true "Palm Beacher" to be.
Nocturnal TJ much prefers the cloak of anonymity and the strange connection of camaraderie that infiltrates the French Quarter, over and above any type of highbrow social whirl. And yet she is not really a joiner or gala-goer in the Vieux Carré either. Never one to be completely at ease with perfect people in a perfect landscape setting, she prefers the outlandish shenanigans and ripe mix of mingling with flawed people. In addition to her infatuation with carnivals and circuses, she enjoys "the conversation and company of carousel horses, pirates, rogues, renegades, misfits, rebels, hooligans, malcontents, mavericks, heroes and anti-heroes."
TJ does and says what she wants.
A staunch advocate and defender of Louisiana, no place touches her more deeply than New Orleans, the people of the city, and the historic plight at hand. She remains consumed with all things New Orleanian, devoted to the preservation and rebuilding of her adopted "hometown." As word has it, "Best not to criticize or condemn New Orleans around TJ!"
A self-deprecating storyteller with a wicked wit and a wry sense of humor, one who has taken a long, slow, winding yet altogether entertaining road between success and uncertainty, TJ has known the cycles of failure and fame, up close and personal, something, she says, which has served to shape who she is today.
Intricately memorable and interesting in her own right, as much a study in contrasts as the complex, compelling characters she plays and writes about, TJ thinks that those who have not yet experienced shattered shadows and dreams in the passing of life’s many roadblocks and crashes "those who remain unscathed and unscarred by love, loss, grief, guilt and heartache" have a long way to grow.
Insouciant and engaging, with a fire within and an ebullient spirit, TJ is passionate, perceptive and illusive, often an unpredictable and incognito chameleon. To her, there is no such thing as "de rigueur."
Emotional and compulsive, intuitive and instinctual, TJ, along with the embarkation of many journeys, likes to embrace the well of emotions, the reinvention, rejuvenation and rediscovery that comes with the many dark-and-light chapters of a life well lived.
She admits her mercurial temperament is that of a classic redhead (often blonde), of one who has a trademark love of unconventional hats and shoes; and she is a dedicated supporter of people and pets in crisis and animal charities. Among her favorite causes, she is most heartened by endowing the Rufus Fisher Angel Program in memory of her beloved late Labrador.
Independent-minded and deeply supportive of indie filmmakers, she maintains memberships in many professional and entertainment-industry guilds and affiliations.
Always one to have a litany of diverse projects on the drawing board, plus others temporarily on hold in dreamy-textured mothballs, her multilayered background includes stints in advertising and public relations, and she is a former columnist who jumpstarted her innate talent at journalism school.
A typically stubborn and headstrong Leo, a detail-oriented perfectionist who is more often than not determined and opinionated, she admits to being "a recovering melodrama queen," perhaps from a stage background; however, no matter how outspoken she has never been called a Prima Donna; all who know her agree she is a hands-on and in-the-trenches kind of a person.
Rambunctious and high-spirited, yet with an extremely private side, TJ is a compelling force of personality who collects an intriguing assortment of odd friends, fans and foes, with equal measure. Whatever is "out-of-the-ordinary, peculiar, amusing and provocative," TJ adores it. Often she thrives on chaos and pandemonium.
Her luckiest treasure has always been/was a grinning, gap-toothed freckle-faced redhead named Photo Doody, one of the three original Howdy Doody Marionettes. Howdy remains one of the world's most beloved treasures, an iconic and enduring symbol of Americana. One Howdy lives in the Smithsonian, the other (who previously lived with Buffalo Bob) now resides at the Detroit Puppet Museum and the third, the only one now to ever be in private hands, once made his home with TJ.
TJ says Howdy’s allure is absolutely ageless, enduring and immortal, because his cookies-and-milk wholesomeness forever represents the wide-eyed innocence, playfulness, awe and sheer wonderment of childhood, a place and time in everyone’s life where dreams really do seem to come true and anything is possible, because we believe we still believe in magic. For that reason, Howdy Doody continues to live on and on in people’s hearts and heads forever; he transports us back to another place, another time and dimension and he soothes our soul. Without a shadow of a doubt, Howdy Doody is one of the world's most irreplaceable and irresistible major icons for children of all ages and all generations.
In a household once shared with Howdy, TJ resides with Colonel Dudley Boudreaux Waddlesworth, a Coton de Tulear known as Dudley the dog, Madame Calliope de Bourbon, a Goldendoodle known as Calli the little princess, Lady Scotus Cornelia LaRue, a yellow Labrador known as Scoot, and "lovebird" parakeets Wilde Clementine Snow Angel and Delilah Moonshine Laveau. (The one-eyed former alley-cat known at Mr. Cat Karu, Karuki the pirate cat, passed away...as did her darling fine-feathered friend Wilde Oscar Latrec.) She also has a long-running, soap-operaish and convoluted history with her classic "bad boy" soul-mate whom she loved long before they ever met.
Of a brooding and temperamental hybrid Irish, French, Russian and German descent, she possesses a classic melancholic Celtic mood and the heart of a poet. The descendant of an intriguing and volatile ancestral lineage rooted and awash in a treasury of Southern eccentricities, TJ is a vibrant "character." Her given name "Tamara" means palm tree, and "TJ" is not spelled with periods. Period. Her favorite number is 13; she loves the color purple and plain old vanilla ice cream. Similarly, she prefers to get her news the old-fashioned way, by reading daily newspapers...
As a guilty-pleasure admirer of gas-guzzler vehicles, but also a person with a deep conscience for nature and the environment, TJ rarely drives more than a few miles a week. One to name inanimate objects and to infuse them with personality and human-trait qualities, her "late great" '59 Caddy convertible is a big old pink lady "of a certain age" named Lulabell.
TJ has had a fixation with collecting pink Cadillac memorabilia since kindergarten. Morgana Press Editor Ron Kenner, says, laughing, that the "lowdown" on TJ is that she’s "way over the top."
Ron is also quick to note that he regards TJ as "a great talent, soul-searching, spiritual, sentimental, a lady of joie de vivre. Spontaneous, effervescent, even ephemeral. Yet immensely serious, philosophical, highly erudite, and passionately dedicated to the French Quarter and the ageless city of dreams."
She seems, Ron adds, "the spirit of New Orleans itself, one who can magically float in the air with her feet on the ground." And who better, he asked, "to articulate in Orléans Embrace [TJ's award-wining narrative] a loving, poignant tribute to the pain and joy of a wondrous city."
TJ says everyone loves the ever-iconic Lulabell all smile, wave, salute and give the thumbs up to the lumbering old land-yacht car. She thinks the car's persona reminds people of a return to a kinder, gentler era of hope and promise. She adds that the big old aging-beauty-queen car represents with its flamboyant '50s huge fins and rocket-ship taillights "the ultimate phantom dream, synonymous with the immortalized days of youth, hipsters, movie stars, rock and roll, hamburgers and drive-in movies."
A living portraiture of a highly intricate and complex person, reputed to be an incurable romanticist, maverick, and Mensa combined, TJ is a recognized workhorse more than a clotheshorse. Of course her sense of fashion style and manner of dress is always out of the ordinary ― a head-turner.
That said, she does admit to an irresistible fetish and fixation with shoes and lamps. She loves to ferret out and drag home an abundance of both. Similarly, the only reason to have a table, she suggests, is to have it overflowing with an overage of books and photographs, plus flowers. If it doesn’t move, TJ, also "a recovering Victorianite," either wallpapers or plasters it with vivid paint colors and trompe l'oeil murals. And she does not cook, ever.
Armed with an obsessive passion for restoring historic landmarked properties, coupled with her own signature style of distinctively original and flamboyant manner of dress and interior design, few know, an interesting aside, that TJ is a genuine Florida licensed general contractor, of the highest rated professional level. Yes ― she can swing a hammer with a vengeance, and one of her nicknames is "whack-a-mole."
TJ’s strikingly theatrical and inventive mix of drama-infused design ideals and decorating doctrine are set to be introduced in book form, coined with a specific brand name Vieux Carré Chic.
Much like TJ herself, her unexpected and imaginative elements of design, space and proportion defy reality and confound perception. Stepping into her rooms of décor is to slip down the rabbit hole into a storied world of film-set vignettes, outlandish and hypnotic in equal measure.
TJ likes to surround herself with "people who ricochet between the paradigms of high and low culture; connoisseurs with kitsch; tastemakers with no heed of rules." To her, classic and classy good taste balance precariously on the edge of bad taste. She particularly likes wondrous Old World designs that incorporate edgy urban glam, mixed with Boho chic and Victorian-girl gothic romance.
As a particular sideline fascination and talent, since her teens, TJ has been actively involved and well versed in the real estate industry, both residential and commercial development; she firmly believes in destiny and yet argues with and resists it. She loves the old adage about how the Fates lead those who follow and drag along those who don’t, then laughs about finding herself perpetually covered in road burns.
Well seasoned by an intriguing life story, one resembling a weird Hollywood saga flavored by sensational speculation, TJ remains full of fanciful visions. An intense, frequent advocate for the underdog, she is depicted as a fearless wunderkind prone to incite, without compunction, a firestorm of controversy in her wake.
With an out-of-the-ordinary long history of spearheading and underwriting a variety of prestigious yet difficult projects, TJ excels in the fine art and drama, in the defeat and triumph, of the "near-impossible" deal. She has been the behind-the-scenes visionary brainchild and founding partner of a series of mega-million-dollar ventures, including signature Ritz-Carlton development projects. Always sharing a significant stake in her projects, she has collaborated on a variety of U.S. and international development undertakings.
TJ continues to be a quiet powerhouse behind the curtain, a key player instrumental in helping joint-venture partners to move forward several of the most significant redevelopment projects in the history of New Orleans, and the nation.
According to TJ, the wisest advice her late mother ever gave her is, be careful of what you wish for ― you just might get it.
The self-sufficient only child of firebrand and provocateur parents who were spirited and self-willed Southerners, early on, she seized the stage as a childhood then teen beauty queen, model and actress, learning to drive a big car and flip hamburgers at McDonalds by age 12; all of which whittled her unusually distinctive persona.
Zigzagging the years since, TJ has never followed any steady straight line to get to her destination. Armed with an entertaining personality, always full of surprises, TJ jokes that a good buildup of a year’s worth of multilayered alluvial sludge makes for a rich back story, a muse from which to draw creativity, character and inspiration. A heady combination of an early-night-and-late-bloomer rolled into one, she remains attracted to dicey projects and formidable ventures, to intrigue.
A keen observer of the world, with the inquiring mind of an investigative reporter, TJ continues to be equally fascinated with archeology, Egyptology, mythology, flea markets, art galleries, vintage clothes, the Dark Continent, monkeys, hinterlands, high heels, camouflage, John Paul Gaultier, labyrinths, sunrises, polo, marching bands, convertibles, hamburger joints, nostalgia merchants, pop culture and the social customs of sidewalk cafés.
Harboring a deep collection of soon-to-be released fiction writings, TJ has resumed work on a longstanding literary and film project, accompanied by several nonfiction titles already in the works, all forthcoming.
Timing is everything!
A writer who post-Katrina broke through a previous longtime creative block, TJ is on a roll; New Orleans is her muse, her inspiration.
TJ published works have long rocked bookshelves, stirred memory and imagination and shaken coffee tables. Following the acclaimed release of New Orleans bestseller Orléans Embrace with The Secret Gardens of the Vieux Carré (featured in HBO's Treme season one final episode) and genre-buster Hearsay from Heaven and Hades: New Orleans Secrets of Sinners and Saints, TJ was drawn into a long saga of devastating ligation.
In 2016, nine years of scorched earth $70 million litigation since 2007 and counting have impacted, detoured, stalled and roadblocked Southern Author TJ's works. This ongoing legal epic drama and multiple courtroom battle showdowns are detailed and profiled on the PR News Channel: TJ Fisher.
What kind of person gets sued for $60 million by an ex-pro football player who obtained a $33.3 million default judgment? Who chins up after losing everything from the manse, even clothes and shoes, to breathe deep and tell the story? Who navigates epic adversity and blue ruin to battle Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) to recoup losses? Someone interesting. Resilient Southern author TJ Fisher."The past is never dead. It's not even past," Fisher declares, quoting William Faulkner.
TJ has not yet completed her long-awaited seven-part work of fiction The Pearly Gates of Purgatory Promenade Series (Sam Schaffer Notebooks), literary and screen works. Hollywood heavy-hitters and entertainment industry powerbrokers anticipate and lie in wait for this unprecedented blockbuster project, a potentially hot-property franchise story rumored to be on the indie filmmaker and big-budget studio radar screens for many years. Now TJ must deliver. Keep on the lookout for more upcoming details.
In 2015, due to years of litigation entanglements and unforeseen circumstance beyond her control, TJ's other works remain held up as well. This includes her third New Orleans-based nonfiction title Vieux Carré Chic: The Art of Overindulgent Home Décor; the upstart fashion house Vieux Carré 9th Ward Fashions and signature fragrance "Orléans Embrace"; the Broadway-bound musical Beloved Margaret of New Orleans; the Purgatory Road New Orleans TV show debut; and the real-life legal drama Black Robes of Injustice: $33.3M Shakedown and The Pigskin Mouth of Greed, an initial storyline now enfolded into the larger, sweeping in-progress story now entitled The Plaza Tower Matrix & Bank of America.
A recipient of multiple literary awards [Five PMA Benjamin Franklin Awards including double gold for "Best New Voice Nonfiction" and "Bill Fisher Award for Best First Nonfiction Book"; gold Ippy Award; Nautilus Book Award; two gold National Best Book Awards; Eric Hoffer Award; Southern Independent Bookseller Alliance honors, Pirates Alley Faulkner Society Faulkner-Wisdom short-list novel], TJ is a member of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), Producers Guild of America (PGA), Dramatists Guild of America (DG), Authors Guild (AG), National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS), Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Actors' Equity Association (AEA), and other professional guilds and organizations.
TJ is often described as generous, exasperating, exhilarating, annoying, overbearing, witty, willful, cagey, charismatic and chameleon-like. But she is always ahead of the beat, fearless and willing to take the dare. TJ is one who loves to inspire, to astonish, to amuse, and always to entertain and bewitch.
She maintains, "There is always truth in fiction and fiction in truth." However, she declines to say which is which.
What do TJ's friends say about her? "Certainly an intriguing woman! ... Obviously both fascinating and interesting ... blast of fresh air ... New Orleans personified ... fantastic ... amazing! ... a new layer, twist, color-rich in personality ... genuine ... the kind of person you want for a friend ... talented! ... absolutely fabulous! ... unreasonable and impossible ... drama queen ... scary-smart ... crazy in a good way ... entertaining and colorful ... esoteric ... a lady with a good eye and heart ... she is who I want to be when I grow up ... must be reincarnated ... saucy and soulful ... philosopher and poet ... so chic, so bold! ... spitfire ... moody and demanding ... a true lioness ... one-of-a-kind ... totally charming ... beautifully outrageous and eccentric ... daring ... utterly original and gutsy ... passionate storyteller ... ultimate paradox ... simply the best! ... Creole heart and soul ... cool ... knows how to wear hats! ... TJ? Wow! ... chameleon ... has more strength and brass balls than anyone I know ... illuminates the light for multitudes ... Irrepressible, smart and nervy ... fearless, free-spirited and funky-cool! Miss TJ drifts a bouquet of color ... that's my girl! ... a postcard ... love her!"