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Marilyn Monroe makeover: a local landmark is back

By Ellen Bacca
Published On: Jul 14 2014 06:51:31 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 14 2014 07:01:51 PM CDT
NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY -

A Marilyn Monroe statue has stood in front of Ziegler Suites & Rivertowne Rentals on Trent Boulevard for almost a decade. But a few months ago, a winter wind did more than just blow up our flirty-girl's skirt, it knocked her over completely.

"For three days straight I feel like I did nothing more than answer the phones," says Ruthie Tyson of Ziegler Suits & Rivertowne Rentals, "everyone wanted to know, 'where's Marilyn?' 'Is she going to be put back up?'."

That's when Don Elsass of Taberna stepped in.

"I don't know what we would have done if it wasn't for him." says Tyson.

Elsass had never worked with fiberglass but he was happy to should the challenge of setting Marilyn right. In his garage, he sanded down the statue, filled her cracks, and repainted.

"I think I put in about 30 man-hours on it." says Elsass.

Elsass says he did the restoration for fun because he is always looking for a project.

"This was the project that put the most pressure on me because it was going to be in the public eye. So i had to make sure it was going to be acceptable," says Elsass.

Still, Elsass says the Marilyn makeover became a joking point with friends. He was, after all, spending hours alone in the garage with the Marilyn statue.

"I called it, my affair with Marilyn," Elsass joked.

Marylin was restored several weeks ago, but Ziegler Suites & Rivertowne Rentals wanted to spruce up her perch before she was installed. She now is back on her post overlooking Trent Boulevard.