Written by 11:37 pm New York News

Julia Reed, Chronicler of Politics, Food and the South, Dies at 59

Mr. Meacham described her as a foreign correspondent in her own land, “filing dispatches about the sacred and the profane.”

Colleagues at Vogue recalled her as both larger than life and free from hubris — a rare combination at 350 Madison Avenue, Condé Nast’s old headquarters, where egos roamed free.

“We were both children of the South, but from opposite ends of the spectrum,” said André Leon Talley, the longtime Vogue editor. “She was like a brassy marquise at Versailles, and at the same time a big hunky dose of Babe Paley, Nancy Mitford, Rosalind Russell and Tallulah Bankhead, with that cognac whiskey voice.”

In the wake of her death, many tried to describe her distinctive baritone. “She sounded like Barbara Stanwyck in ‘Meet John Doe,’ if Stanwyck was from the Mississippi Delta,” Hilton Als of The New Yorker wrote on Instagram.

Mr. Talley also recounted the story of Ms. Reed’s aborted marriage to a charming Australian foreign correspondent. She canceled the wedding, a full-on Southern affair with nearly 1,000 guests, but the couple went on their honeymoon anyway — it was paid for, after all — ending up at the Ritz in Paris, where they met Mr. Talley, and holding court in the bar until the early hours of the morning, with characters as various as Madonna’s bodyguards, Kate Moss, Johnny Depp and Arlene Dahl.

“It was couture week, so everybody was there,” Mr. Talley explained.

Writing about that night six years later in Vogue, Ms. Reed called it “one of the most memorable evenings of my life.”

Ms. Reed’s marriage to John Pearce, a New Orleans lawyer with whom she renovated a house in the garden district there, ended in divorce in 2016. She is survived by her parents and a brother, Clarke Reed Jr. Another brother, Reynolds Crews Reed, died in 2019.

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