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New Orleans' Best Home Decorator 

Roddis Finley isn't New Orleans' best-known decorator, but he still gets fan mail. His work is easy to spot and sometimes letters arrive simply addressed to "Decorated House."

  "My wife thinks I am crazy doing all this decorating," he says, sitting in his living room shrine to Las Vegas. "But the people love it."

  For nearly three decades, Finley has gone all out to decorate the inside and outside of his kelly green shotgun double at 4607 Tchoupitoulas St. He changes the exterior decorations seasonally, hitting all the major holidays and patriotic themes through the summer, complete with red, white and blue flags, bunting, lights and a bubble machine.

  When he first started, his neighbors were supportive, and now he is accustomed to getting cards and letters. One recent note reads: "Thank you so much for the smile you put on my face every time I pass your house."

  Finley's most recent additions outside include a couple of ironwork crosses. He's reined in some of his outdoor decorating since being laid off by the Fairmont Hotel when it changed hands two years ago, but he expects to resume decorating in the fall.

  Finley worked in banquet services and special events for two decades, starting when the hotel was still the Roosevelt Hotel. His specialty was creating ornate table decorations for convention group's coffee break-service.

  A few Roosevelt Hotel touches adorn his Las Vegas-themed room. Posters for Ray Charles and Tony Bennett concerts in the Blue Room face the Vegas skyline mural. Sin City souvenirs and small neon lights shaped like a palm tree and a pink martini glass fill the room. Finley is a big fan of Vegas, and he and his wife wedded there.

  "We flew in and got married on Valentine's Day," he says. "At the Candlelight Wedding Chapel, right across from Circus Circus."

  Different parts of the home follow different themes. The outside cycles through the holidays. His mother lives on one side of the double, and her rooms follow the seasons, with murals of snow-capped mountains for winter and sandy beaches and palm trees for summer. His side is geographical, with the Vegas shrine in the front. The kitchen is decorated like a French seaside cafe and another room follows a lush, jungle decor. He's planning a Chinese motif to decorate his daughter's room next.

  "It's a habit I've done for so long, I can't stop now," he says.

click to enlarge Roddis Finley decorates every square inch of his Uptown home. - PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
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