Liz & Terry Creel
Liz and Terry Creel are busy people. He is an emergency physician and she runs the historic Parkview Guest House as a side business while they raise four sons. Still, they find time to collect items in several interesting areas: antique plantation beds; antique clocks; and old Mardi Gras ephemera, including invitations, bulletins and krewe favors. When you visit Parkview Guest House you’ll not only enjoy the beauty of St. Charles Avenue adjacent to Audubon Park, but also the unique setting of the historic house.
The journey begins with beautiful Gothic, Dutch and French gilt clocks. On every trip abroad, the Creels try to enhance their clock collection. While most of their clocks are bought in perfect working condition, there are a few notable exceptions, which have required patience and a bit of good luck to restore. They scour local auction houses, internet sites and even antique markets abroad. They are also members of the National Watch and Clock Association, which enables them to stay abreast of trends in horological collecting.
There are many great stories about their clock adventures, but two are particularly special. Terry bought a large collection many years ago, but let one unique clock slip through his hands when he agreed to sell it to another collector. He regretted his decision but was unable to convince the buyer to sell it back to him. One Christmas Liz called the owner and explained that Terry really missed the clock. The Christmas spirit kicked in the generous collector agreed to the sale, and Liz was able to surprise Terry with it.
One memorable repair story involves an antique Sevres clock that had belonged to Liz’s great-grandparents. Tragically, it was badly damaged in a house fire and left in a storage area for more than 20 years. When the clock was discovered, it had vines growing through it and was charred beyond recognition. Terry had the clock restored, and miraculously the porcelain plaques and gilt were still intact, but the clock mechanism was irreparable. For years the clock sat on the mantel, pristine on the outside but unable to keep time. Then by a stroke of good luck, a clockmaker friend found the correct French mechanism at a clock show. Today Liz enjoys childhood memories as her great-grandparents’ clock is ticking perfectly!
Of the 10 or so antique plantation beds in their collection two stand out: a triple arched mahogany full tester bed by McKracken with matching washstand and armoire, and a half tester bed by French cabinet maker Prudent Mallard.
The downstairs of the Guest House features historic Mardi Gras bulletins as well as various favors ranging from historic to contemporary items. The Creels have been collecting Mardi Gras items for 25 years. It started with a gift to Terry from Liz’s mother – he was immediately intrigued by the invitation’s beauty. Over the years, sources have included garage sales, eBay and Neal Auction Company and New Orleans Auction Galleries. Along their collecting journey, the Creels became friends with a lady in New York City who had inherited her aunt’s Mardi Gras collection. Over time, the Creels have purchased more than 25 items from her.
Books by Arthur Hardy and Henri Schindler have been a great source of information along their collecting journey, as has the Historic New Orleans Collection. Arthur in particular has been the source for the majority of the antique bulletins in their Park View collection.
The Creels collect things they’re passionate about; some items are rare and valuable, others they hold dear for their associated memories. They enjoy sharing Park View with visitors to our city and educating them about the history of Carnival, New Orleans Victorian furniture and the pleasures of spending an afternoon sipping wine on the front porch as the streetcars roll slowly by.