By STACEY PLAISANCE, Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — When comedian Joan Rivers thought her New York apartment was haunted about 15 years ago, she called on New Orleans voodoo priestess Sallie Ann Glassman to perform a "spiritual cleansing" of the brownstone.
Glassman said the pair became friends during that meeting, at which Glassman wore a flowing white gown and chased off the disturbing spirits in a night of rituals.
"Sallie Ann Glassman is my spiritual guide, my sounding board, my friend. Sallie arrived in New York — white garb and paraphernalia in tow — and after an unusual night, she not only cleaned out my apartment but all the apartments in my building," Rivers said. "It was unforgettable and extraordinary. Most importantly, it worked."
Next month, the comedian is heading to New Orleans to return the favor.
The sharp-tongued Rivers will host two stand-up shows benefiting Glassman's New Orleans Healing Center — an incubator for about two dozen businesses and organizations focused on what Glassman describes as the "environmental, spiritual, economic, cultural, emotional and physical healing of New Orleans" after Hurricane Katrina.
"Joan has been listening to me talk about the healing center and what it's all about," Glassman said. "It's a community center dedicated to healing and empowering New Orleans. Joan is the shot in the arm we needed. It's a beautiful thing."
Both performances are sold out.
"Joan is hilarious. She's intense. She says things that you can't believe, and that's what people love about her," Glassman said.
Rivers will perform at Cafe Istanbul, the 3,800-square-foot performance hall at the New Orleans Healing Center.
Other celebrities who've appeared at Cafe Istanbul include Grammy award-winning singer Chaka Khan and rapper Ludacris.
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