February 21 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
Ricki James-Diaz: Wined and Died in New Orleans
By Ellen Byron
I hate social media.
I know, I know. I’m in my twenties – twenty-eight, to be exact. People my age are supposed to love social media. We’re supposed to live our lives online, chronicling every moment of our lives with curated photos we relentlessly post to sites like Instagram and Snapchat and Twitter. (Not Facebook – that’s for our moms.) Here’s the omelet I had for breakfast! Here’s the new pair of socks I bought! Here I am on vacay with my besties – duck lips selfie!
I’ll be honest: I have a personal reason for hating social media.
I lived in Los Angeles before moving to New Orleans to get a fresh start. I dated an aspiring actor named Chris Uckler and we impulsively married. Chris’s career was going nowhere. Frustrated, he began recording himself doing stupid stunts and posting the videos online. He found success as Chriz-azy!, and became an internet celebrity. I’d already realized the marriage was a huge mistake and we’d agreed to divorce, but in the process of filming a video to see how many marshmallows he could stuff into his mouth, one went down the wrong pipe and Chris choked to death.
Chris’s death left me feeling guilty and sad. Plus, people keep reposting his last video, which infuriates me! I delete them whenever I can and even hired a lawyer to police this. Bottom line, you can see why I have a negative attitude towards social media.
But… even a hater like me knows it’s an invaluable promotional tool today. And boy, do I need to promote Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbook and Kitchenware Shop, the gift shop I opened at Bon Vee Culinary House Museum in New Orleans’ Garden District. The house once belonged to famed Big Easy restauranteur Genevieve “Vee” Charbonnet, and opening the shop is a dream come true for me.
When my coworkers gently nudged me into posting photos and graphics that would entice customers to shop with me, I reluctantly stuck a toe in the social media waters. And… I have to admit, I got a buzz of excitement when a post I put up about the discovery of a valuable cache of nineteenth century wine hidden at Bon Vee trended. And then went viral! It was super exciting.
How was I to know that the post would attract every questionable extended Charbonnet family member to New Orleans, all of them clamoring for a piece of the proceeds when the priceless wine is auctioned off?
How was I to know the post would lead to murder?
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