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The Picayune Item
Donald and Debra Nunez, with their daughters Alicia Smith and Denise Nunez and their grandson, Clinton Ray Smith, welcome you to their home and a Christmas to Remember. The persimmon colored, Acadian style home with dark green shutters is perfectly suited to the New Orleans atmosphere of the Garden District neighborhood.
Following the unfortunate loss of Alicia’s beloved husband, Carl, in 2010, the family decided to build a house where they could all be together. As a result, this labor-of-love home has two substantial master suites. In addition, Denise has her own living area as does the master of the house, three year old Clinton. The front yard and main entrance gleam with lights, trumpeting angels, and a sleigh full of toys. A nutcracker welcomes you inside.
In the foyer, homage is paid to Carl by displaying memorabilia from his career as a United States Marine. The family is proud to display photos of Carl with former President George W. Bush and former Vice president Al Gore. They are particularly proud of a photo of Carl and Alicia, taken with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, at Camp David in 2001. Take note of the hand-written letter to Alicia from George W. following Carl’s death. The former president included two presidential coins in his letter. The American flag that was presented to Alicia at Carl’s funeral was flown in Iraq. In the glass case, you will see a collection of items such as a deck of cribbage cards that Carl’s grandfather took to Africa during WWII, Carl’s dog tags from Marine boot camp, and a handle from Marine I (the president’s helicopter), of which Carl was the crew chief.
Carl loved Christmas and was partial to themed Christmas trees, and the elegant but whimsical peacock tree is the first of several.
Come into the spacious living room where the family Christmas tree is adorned with ornaments collected throughout Donald and Debra’s 42 years of marriage while raising Donald Jr., Alicia, and Denise. The stockings are hung on the beautiful fireplace mantel, and focal point of the room. On the west side of the room Paw Paw Donald uses the antique secretary as a work station.
Take a right down the hall to the first master suite; Donald and Debra enjoy their own fireplace and spacious powder room. The claw foot tub is a charming focal point in this room. Take note of Debra’s Mister Bingle tree, a nod to Maison Blanche and her Louisiana roots.
Return down the hall to the kitchen, the heart of the house, where the family enjoys cooking, eating, and gathering with friends and family. The tree’s assortment of ornaments made by children over the years adds to the family-oriented feel of the room. Alicia’s Anna Lee collection is also perfectly suited to the kitchen. In the antique china cabinet, the beautiful china belonging to Donald’s mother is displayed. Visible in the glass-front cabinets are collections of Fire King, Philbe, and depression glass.
Denise’s room is the first on the back hall, and her love of old Hollywood is evident. James Dean and Marilyn Monroe perfectly accentuate her black, silver and touch of red color scheme.
“Planes, trains, and automobiles” are depicted in Clinton’s room. Everything from his personal tree to his toys reveal his love of all types of transportation and of Disney. Alicia’s master suite depicts the true southern belle that she is. In Carl’s memory, she has a Christmas tree dedicated to his military service. It includes a variety of HMX1, White House, and Camp David ornaments. She also has what Carl would call a “hodge-podge” tree with a little bit of everything. In her bathroom the slender tree of memories is decorated with a collection of photos of Clinton.
When you return down the hall, you will exit onto the patio area where the real fun begins. This is the place for the young and the young-at-heart. Colorful lights and fun characters enhance the whimsical mood as does Clinton’s pirate fort, designed and built by Donald. The double-decker fort is equipped with a pirate ship, cannons, and periscopes.
The family sincerely hopes that you enjoy visiting their home. They love Christmas and try to make each one memorable. Their wish to each visitor is a Christmas to remember.