The Southern lady is busy. Katherine LaNasa, a New Orleans native and former ballet dancer (with the Salt Lake City Ballet and Karole Armitage company in New York) is one of those actresses you see in dozens of shows as a guest star or recurring character but you don’t realize just how many until you look at her bio page.
Although she lives in Venice and recently married the actor, Grant Show (Melrose Place), she never forgets where she came from and is more than willing to talk about her favorite places in her home state, the damage of Hurricane Katrina that still lingers and her bitchy role on NBC’s Deception.
ASWB: How would you describe New Orleans?
Earthy, fun, personable, just a great mix of cultures, ethnically diverse.
ASWB: Tell us about your character on the show.
She’s three-degrees below hell, half drunk and having a hot flash and something about that feels right. I think Sofia has a lot of integrity, actually, even though she’s an alcoholic. It’s a great mix of things. To me, she’s one of these great characters like the women from the 1940s, like Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis or Joan Crawford. I always get the snappy lines. There’s no apologies to the character, a lot of confidence, a lot of power.
ASWB: So you play her a little bit bigger than life?
Oh definitely, I’m having fun; a part of me is winking at the campyness of the soap that it is. I think it’s a good element for the show. I think that is why they wrote the character in.
The Natchez Steamboat cruise along the Mississippi River, is a popular attraction.
ASWB: I mean who doesn’t want to be the person saying fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.
I do a little bit of this almost phony, Madonna, British background in there because we’ll find that Sofia’s background might not be what you think and there’s a phoniness to her that I sort of added that little clue in there with that sort of like, `I’m more waspy than the wasp. And the people that I’ve known that have had that fake accent, other than Madonna, who’s from [Michigan], have all been from Kansas. It just seems to be something people put on if they are not blue blood in a blue blood situation.
Also, so many people have come up to me and said when their relative gets drunk, everyone has a drunk aunt who goes British and I’m like, `I love this, so I kind of tried to put a little bit of that in the voice.’
ASWB: On Deception, do you know the murderer?
No! But I don’t want to know. We do find out by the end of the season but I haven’t read (episode 11) yet.
ASWB: What was it like growing up in New Orleans?
I got such a great appreciation of music and culture and I have had a design business and my design style has really been influenced by growing up there. Just a sense of color and food and people and, I like that kind of rawness that New Orleans has. It’s not a very formal place.
ASWB: Did you go back during Hurricane Katrina?
I went back and went through the city. I have like, sixteen first cousins that were there so I have a big family there. A lot of them had to move.
“It is a brussel sprout and hazelnut salad that is to die for”.
ASWB: When you go back there now, do you have a favorite food or dish that you miss the most?
ASWB: Is there one place that holds special meaning for you?
You know Waveland, Mississippi, which got crushed by Katrina was where my grandmother had their beach home. We call it the “Redneck Riviera” and I had such a beautiful time growing up there and just walking down the ocean every day.
(Pictured right: Sylvain’s Restaurant in the French Quarter)
ASWB: What do you do when you go back to the New Orleans now?
I take my son (Henry Lee Hopper, is that Southern enough for you?) when we go back and we’ll visit with family or we’ll go listen to music. I love to go to The Preservation Hall and go to the Quarter,; just the usual stuff, eat some beignets at Café Du Monde.
“I Love to go to The Preservation Hall and go to the Quarter…”
ASWB: Now that you’re famous, have they built a shrine to you, lol?
A shrine! No there’s no shrine! I need to get on that. I shot the campaign in New Orleans too, I didn’t know they have a shrine! Where’s the Shrine Department?
To learn more about Katherine LaNasa’s hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana, visit our New Orleans Travel Tips section.
Photos courtesy of: Royal Sonesta Hotel, New Orleans.com, Preservation Hall , NBC-TV Publicity, flickr photo of Brussels Sprouts Salad by rdpeyton,