All About Elyse

After years of making Mayor Bob presentable, Houston's First Lady is ready to get serious. Seriously.

There's plenty more, of course. Bob's highly probable third (and term-limited last) mayoral campaign lies ahead. There's the post-political future to consider, too: Elyse, who once urged her husband to buy the Rockets, discloses that the couple's thinking even bigger. "There are several things I would love to own," she says, her eyes flashing as brightly as her earrings. "First and foremost would be a newspaper." That, she says, chuckling deeply, "would be so much fun." It would also move her to a formidable plane inhabited by the likes of Oveta Hobby and Katherine Graham.

And someone has to keep an eagle eye on those pots full of flowers around City Hall. The minute she sees something amiss she calls the parks department, she says with a mock growl, and asks, "Why is this wilting?" She's already consulting her frequent collaborators Danny Ward and Nancy Ames on next year's Christmas festivities. And she's mulling inviting the venerable Stanley Marcus -- the man whose sales talks she once crashed -- to address local civic leaders on how to better sell Houston. Sometimes life really does turn full circle.

As it has, in a way, when UH dropout Elyse Lanier emerges from a closed executive session of the regents after six straight hours worth of meeting. Her new peers file back into the ballroom at the University Hilton in preparation for the rest of the day's agenda. But some things don't change. Elyse excuses herself and rushes off to an open house at the HPD Family Violence Unit. Bob -- her first, second and third priority -- is waiting.

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