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New Orleans abuzz over Serena Williams’ wedding with Alexis Ohanian

American tennis legend Serena Williams’ high profile wedding with Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of social news aggregation website Reddit, is the talk of the town in New Orleans

tennis Updated: Nov 17, 2017 22:39 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse, New Orleans
Serena Williams,Alexis Ohanian,tennis
Tennis great Serena Williams (R) married Alexis Ohanian (L), who is co-founder of social news aggregation website Reddit.(AFP)

Star wattage abounded in New Orleans on Thursday as tennis superstar Serena Williams married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in a function attended by A-list celebrities that set New Orleans abuzz.

The couple released few details of the ceremony, but around 250 guests were reportedly invited to the festivities at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans.

Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, music royalty Beyonce, legendary Vogue magazine editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, actress Eva Longoria and singer Ciara all reportedly were at the wedding.

Security for the event, anticipated to last into the wee hours, was tight. An entire block in the Big Easy -- a city known for its jazz music, good food and party atmosphere -- was closed to traffic.

A steady train of black SUVs brought members of the wedding party to the event, as workers hurried final preparations for the festivities.

According the entertainment website ETonline, the wedding was to have a “Beauty and the Beast” theme. It said the tennis star’s sister Venus was seen late Wednesday leaving the arts center.

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Workers could be seen early Thursday transforming the arts complex for the ceremony, while the parking lot beside the building was full of tents and trucks unloading flowers, tables, carpets, wardrobe, and musicians.

The locally popular New Orleans funk and jazz band Naughty Professor was seen arriving in the late afternoon, as was the traditional Paulin Brothers Brass Band.

Chefs cooked in an outdoor tent, with feasting options including two food trucks as well as an outdoor bar.

The Daily Mail said the event would cost more than $1 million and guests would be asked not to bring their cell phones, because an exclusive photo deal had been signed with Vogue.

Williams, 36, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, and Ohanian, 34, welcomed their first child, daughter Alexis Olympia, on September 1.

They announced their engagement in December after meeting in 2015 in Rome.

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While New Orleans was no stranger to celebrities and weddings, the star wattage Thursday stirred up extra excitement in the city.

Linda Davis and Cora Riley drove four hours from the small Louisiana town of DeRidder just to get a glimpse of the tennis champion. They waited outside the arts complex for hours.

“We love her. She’s classy. She and Venus. They never complain,” Riley told AFP.

“We’re so glad she found happiness. Little baby Alexis is so precious,” said Mary Huber, who was among a small group who took a break from work to observe the hectic scene.

Williams won this year’s Australian Open while pregnant, and is expected to defend her title in Melbourne in 2018 -- just four-and-a-half months after giving birth to her child.

The Contemporary Arts Center is a large, four-story, multi-disciplinary complex boasting approximately 10,000 square feet (929 square meters) of gallery space.

First Published: Nov 17, 2017 15:08 IST