Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living.
Like most in this town, I got my start in politics. One of my first jobs was as a Field Organizer on the Mondale for President campaign in Iowa. From there, I served a stint as a Capitol Hill staffer, got to be a part of the early years at the HRC when it was a new organization and even did one year at the State Department Office of Protocol. In 1994, I became Residence Manager and Social Secretary to Vice President and Mrs. Gore, a dream opportunity that brought together a background in politics with my interests in events, culture and protocol. In 2007, I founded the Dufour Collaborative, an events and experiential design firm where I remain the President & Creative Director. It was the two decades of various posts in and around the work of our federal government that ultimately positioned me to oversee an events firm that can create a beautiful event while effortlessly navigating the ever-mercurial political landscape of Washington, DC.
How long have you been living in DC?
I moved to D. in 1984 and one year later, became a press secretary on Capitol Hill. I met my husband Todd on July 4, 1999 in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware (which isn’t technically DC, but is the nearby, long-favored beach town getaway for the DC-area LGBTQ community).
If you moved from somewhere else, what influenced your decision to move here?
Everyone who has met me knows I’m quick to work my proud Louisiana roots into conversation. I was an intern on Capitol Hill between my junior and senior year in college, which is when I really fell in love with this city. After graduating from LSU, I hopped around the country for about a year, as young campaign workers do. It was the proximity to politics that ultimately brought me back here.
What are your favorite places to go for a cocktail and/or dinner?
My husband and I love to have both drinks and dinner at restaurant bars. Our favorite is Del Mar and close seconds are Blue Duck Tavern and BlackSalt. I’ll order anything with tequila, but occasionally an Old Fashioned as tribute to my father.
What cultural attractions are a must-see for visitors to DC?
Of course, we’re lucky to have the numerous Smithsonian museums in Washington, but art lovers visiting DC should also make a point of going to The Phillips Collection and Glenstone in neighboring Montgomery County, Md.
A friend is coming to DC for the first time… Please describe the perfect weekend.
The first thing I always tell people is to buy a ticket on one of the open-air tour buses. It may sound cheesy, but it is the best way to get the lay of the land before you really dive in. There are museums for everyone here and almost all are free to the public: art, space, science, history, whatever you fancy. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is must-see. For the outdoors types, the C&O Canal can lead you through beautifully historic portions of Georgetown, but its best views are further northwest at the Great Falls.
What are the best places to truly enjoy the natural beauty of the area?
Rock Creek Park is a 1,700-acre oasis hidden within NW DC Stretching from Georgetown several miles towards Maryland, it includes a creek and dozens of running/hiking paths winding their way around towering trees that are older than the columns that line the National Mall.
What is your favorite time of year in DC and why?
I actually love the fall. You really see the city’s color change. It also emphasizes how green this city is. It’s really one huge national park with the National Mall at its center.
What’s one souvenir to bring back for friends or family?
Each year the White House Historical Association releases an official Christmas ornament. They’re always beautiful and feel like such a special keepsake, especially for kids, and can be enjoyed year after year. It’s the quintessential “went to DC” souvenir”; that or a selfie with your House Representative.
Finish the sentence: Don’t leave DC without…
Don’t leave DC without visiting the monuments at night. Washingtonians affectionately call it “marble hunting.” After sunset is a perfect time to visit any DC monument because there are fewer crowds and temperatures have dropped. At night, under their spotlights, DC’s monuments glow against the backdrop of the night sky. It’s an objectively more beautiful experience than what you remember from field trips. An evening monument walk is the perfect end to date night.