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Famous Durhamites you'll rarely see in public 

Michael Peterson; Branford Marsalis; Coach K

Illustrations by V.C. Rogers

Michael Peterson; Branford Marsalis; Coach K

Michael Peterson

From 2003 to Dec. 16, 2011, novelist/former mayoral candidate/accused murderer Michael Peterson was easy to find: in Butner Correctional Center, where he had been serving life in prison since his conviction for the 2001 slaying of his wife, Kathleen. Peterson claimed she fell down the stairs of their Forest Hills mansion after being attacked by a wayward owl. (Coincidentally, in 1985, a close family friend of Peterson also died from a tumble down a stairway.)

Since being granted a new trial—questions arose about the evidence in his original proceedings—Peterson has been lying low on house arrest. Where is he? Since he's been outfitted with an ankle bracelet, only his parole officers know for sure. He's definitely not in the 9,000-square-foot mansion; it was sold to a New York psychic, who, creeped out by dark energy in the place, is trying to unload it as well. If you're house hunting, the five-bedroom, six-bathroom manse is on Cedar Street. Look for the iron gate to the estate emblazoned with the words "Wonderland"—as in I wonder what happened in there.

Branford Marsalis

Named after the historic northeast Durham neighborhood, Braggtown, Branford Marsalis' 2006 CD, also features a photo of his band in the locker room of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. A Grammy Award-winning saxophonist, Marsalis has performed with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins. Although Marsalis has an extended residency at N.C. Central University, he's busy—very busy—globetrotting to perform with orchestras worldwide. However, he continues to show Durham some love. He and his band recorded Four MFs Playin' Tunes at the Hayti Heritage Center in 2011. Where does he live? Go north and listen for the sound of a saxophone floating from a very large house.

Coach K

Besides Cameron Indoor Stadium, where he holds court six months of the year, Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski can be spotted at morning Mass at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

He's been a consistent fundraiser for Immaculate Conception, which, as Catholic churches go, is politically left of center. Its Emily K Center, a nonprofit geared toward helping academically focused kids, is named after Coach K's mother.

Krzyzewski sits alone and usually splits before the Recessional but after Communion, probably to avoid autograph seekers. And we would advise you to give the coach some spiritual space; it's not like he's God.

  • If you're determined to spot a local star, here's where you might (or might not) find a few.


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