The Photo on the Mantel: A Curious Postscript to the Mel Powers–Candy Mossler Affair

When he died last year, did Melvin Lane Powers really have a photo of his aunt and former lover, Candace Mossler, enshrined on his living room mantel? Or is this foreclosure listing photo just some agent’s idea of a real-estate insider’s awkward joke? A tipster who’s sure the 3-bedroom, 5-and-a-half-bathroom property near the corner of Caroline St. and Wentworth was the real-estate developer and true-crime celebrity’s home for the last several years (both he and his estate are listed as former owners on the property’s county tax records) believes the fireplace pic — possibly the only home-decor item left in the house — is a portrait of Mossler, who died of a prescription-drug overdose in 1976.


After the end of his affair with Mossler, Mel Powers became well known in Houston as the developer — and flamboyant former penthouse resident — of Sharpstown’s Arena Towers. He staked a claim as the owner of the largest yacht in the western hemisphere (he added a section with a Jacuzzi tub and mirrored ceilings) — shortly before losing it all in a 1986 bankruptcy. But Powers and Mossler had achieved a greater measure of worldwide fame 20 years earlier when the River Oaks socialite and her live-in nephew were acquitted in the gruesome 1964 Florida stabbing death of Mossler’s extremely wealthy husband, Jacques.

Below are a few more photos of the large and forlorn 1925-vintage foreclosed-on home listed for sale earlier this year — presumably the same property where Powers was found dead on October 8, 2010 — and which is listed for $395,000. It sits on a 9,375-sq.-ft. lot directly next door to the Houston Museum of African-American Culture.

5 Comment

  • RIP Candace! This house is going down.

  • The photo is not of Candace. It is of a lovely woman that was his last .

  • Whatever.
    That’s the fireplace in my bedroom at mels.
    Pathetic old real estate dealers.
    That isn’t Candice.

  • I was Mels girl friend for 8 years in the 80’s and 90’s and spent a lot of time with him in this house. I’ve seen lots of pictures of Candace and this is definitely not her-only similarity is the blonde hair.
    This a lovely house with lots of great character and custom features Mel did over the years. The pictures don’t do it any justice at all. Any one who took a tour of the property would be charmed and surprised. Mel’s room upstairs is huge (he knocked out walls and changed things all around the house) , a suite that has a large private bath that leads out back onto way cool , large and very private enclosed second floor deck. One of the other upstairs bedrooms has a neat loft with attached wooden ladder. The other upstairs bedroom has a private bath with stall shower and lots of gorgeous old tile in beautiful colors. The house has great screened front and back porches-we had lots of nice lunches and a cocktail or two out on them. You can turn on the automatic sprinkler system when it’s hot and the mist cools them down and they’re lovely places to be year-round. There’s a porte -cochere on the side and tall black wrought-iron fence withe remote controlled gate The garage apt. was a large mirrored gym down stairs with bath and shower, tanning bed, washing machine and dryer in separate room, some storage and french doors and windows for an outdoor feeling with a beautiful view. Upstairs is an apt. with large living room , bedroom and a kitchen and bath with more of that beautiful old tile Mel had the front yard contoured with berms – gives it a pretty, natural look- not just a flat yard like others in a flat area like this part of TX. Big old azaleas and other long- time plantings and the prettiest, tallest crepe myrtles I’ve ever seen- taller than the house. The place is fairy-like in the spring. The back yard(if it’s still the way it was when I was last there a few years ago- has a long and tall rock waterfall that spills salt water (like the gulf that Mel loved so much) into a lap pool that cuts over to an elevated shelf for lounging and tanning that leads to an in -ground jacuzzi and has an extra tall wooden privacy fence enclosing it. The salt water was a cool touch-refreshing and easy to just float and hang around in. The huge downstairs suite has bedroom area with french doors onto back porch that leads to kitchen area or back yard, and steps down into huge bathroom/dressing/lounging area with glass stall shower, double lavatories, lots of drawers and cabinets, large clothes closet, private room with commode and bidet, marble garden tub with water jets next to a big window with a super view and French doors out to the back . French doors between bedroom and bathroom area with motorized up- and -down screen for privacy when desired and concealed washer and dryer. Lots of mirrored walls thru the house- makes it all that much more interesting and lovely-they also reflect the views of the yard seen thru the many doors and windows and make the house airy and full of light Great kitchen with l-shaped marble bar leads to dining room with french doors..Beautiful hardwood floors thru the house. Mel told me how much he loved this old house- he would never have considered moving for anything- said it felt like a friend. It’s also in a beautiful garden district- just a hop and skip from Herman Park, downtown, Medical center Hwy 59, stores and restaurants and everything else a Houstonian could want or need. The times I spent with Mel in this house were the happiest in my life and with not much else but a little TLC it is an awesome place to live. Sure wish I could have and enjoy it! Maybe one day……..

  • Does anyone know what Mel passed away from and how his brother Garrett is doing? I worked for Mel in 1981 before trouble started. Thanks!