Gennifer Flowers is back in the news after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted that he was considering inviting Flowers to attend tonight's debate between Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Flowers, for those too young to remember, had been romantically entangled with Clinton's husband, Bill, when he was a politician in Arkansas.
I met Gennifer Flowers at her New Orleans cabaret when I was in the Crescent City to attend the annual joint meeting of the American Philological Association and Archaeological Institute of America in January 2003. Her husband at the time — I'm not certain whether they are still married — was also present at the cabaret and a colorful figure in his own right. His first name was Finis, which he knew meant "end" in Latin. I seem to recall he told some story about his mother not wanting to have any more children, and that was the source of the name. Whether that was true, it still made an entertaining story.
Anyway, I found Gennifer Flowers to be very charming, and she was happy to greet everyone in the audience. She performed American songbook standards, and far from being a Susan Alexander curiosity, she proved herself a talented musical stylist. Her tabloid fame was never mentioned during her performance, a performance which I actually found impressive.
Gennifer Flowers' musical talent is unlikely to be the primary detail remembered about her life, but that was what I encountered when I briefly met her more than a dozen years ago while attending APA/AIA.
• My encounter with Gennifer Flowers (26 September 2016)
• Food on Friday: My new favorite neighborhood spot (16 September 2016)
• A lot of good it did me (13 September 2016)
• CFP: Dindṡenchas conference at DIAS (12 September 2016)
• When hiring and tenure decisions get messy (1 September 2016)