Desirée Rogers Doesn’t Have Time to Go to Parties Outside the White House

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

White House social secretary Desirée Rogers has spent most of the first weeks of her job inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but was lured to New York for the School of American Ballet's winter ball by her friend Pamela Joyner, who chaired the event. "I would say right now, you know, most of my time has been spent at events at the White House, so I haven't been out much," Rogers told us at the Lincoln Center gala last night. Settling into her new post with the Obama administration has not been easy for the Chicagoan. "Just getting settled, moving, doing 26 events in 5 weeks, and getting my staff together" is how she described the days following the January 20 inauguration. "It really has been a ball, though," she added. Rogers says she declines most of the many invitations she receives for herself for now, focusing instead on White House events. She receives hundreds of invitations for the Obamas each week. She answers every one, eventually. "If it goes through the White House mail, it takes about three weeks before it gets done," Rogers explained.

Rogers and her deputy, Ebs Burnough, who accompanied her to the SAB gala, both agreed on what out of all of the insanity has been the high point of their experience so far. "The most exciting thing was watching the governors in a conga line with Earth, Wind & Fire at the Governors' Ball we did, less than a month ago," Rogers said. "Yeah, the conga line," Burnough agreed. Rogers declined to specify how wild and crazy Governor Paterson was at the ball. "He was dancing," she told us. We bet he was. Rogers said she also enjoyed coming up to New York for Fashion Week, and told us she'd like to bring a bit of it back with her to Washington. "I met a great musician that we're going to have to the White House, and I also found out about a great foundation that we're going to have work with us on something we're doing for children this summer." Rogers wouldn't tell us which musician she was talking about, but our money is on Eric Lewis, the dazzling pianist who played during Donna Karan's show — where Rogers sat alongside her new bestie Anna Wintour, in the first row.