New Orleans, The South’s Haunted City
This article was featured on The Dedicated House on Make it Pretty Monday! Thanks, Kathryn!
I’m a bit spooked by New Orleans. Spirits loiter there. As a visitor strolling Royal, Bourbon or Decatur streets, I usually feel a bit uneasy in the Big Easy. I am not a fan of Bourbon Street and have had the impression that all New Orleans is like that one street. But, I was SO WRONG! Here’s the peaceful, serene side of the haunted city.
A Different View of the Haunted City
007 and I were recently invited to New Orleans to attend an art auction. Since it is only a 2 hour drive from home, we decided to go for a long weekend. We stayed in the Omni Royal Hotel on St. Louis Street and from there got to see a much more magical side of the haunted city.
Mississippi Riverboat Cruise
The only thing that might have made this cruise a bit more authentic to it’s era would be the costumes of the crew. Jazz filled the air. The bar was stocked and the water flowed over the paddle-wheel leaving a gentle wake. The captain told us about the port of New Orleans, life on the Mississippi and the history of the Natchez. The Jazz Punch made you want to hang out on the steamboat for hours.
A ceiling of lifejackets.
Bourbon Street During the Day
The first time I walked down Bourbon Street, I remember praying that Jesus wouldn’t come back yet. It was the most disgusting place I’d ever seen and that was 26 years ago. This time in 2016, I wasn’t prepared. We crossed Bourbon Street. If Bourbon Street were Sodom or Gomorrah, I would have turned into a pillar of salt. I had to look back.
A woman stood in the street almost nude. She wore only pasties to cover her drug-ravaged, skinny body. Vagrants sat on the sidewalks drinking from bottles in paper bags. I wondered when they had eaten their last real meal.
This time I was not so much disgusted as I felt pity for them. Foggy days and vulgar nights does not make a beautiful life. Tourist want to see this. So these people are deceived into thinking they are entertainment. Or worse, they’ve been there so long, they don’t see a way out. It is so sad to see.
There are good places to eat and some great jazz to tap your foot to on this street. We didn’t want to take the time to search for it. I also realize that there are good, honest, hard working people making a living there. But, the overwhelming darkness I felt while walking across the street was palpable.
My advice is if you visit New Orleans, cross over Bourbon Street and keep walking. Hold your nose (the street smells like urine) and don’t look back. The beings you see may not be poltergeist, but it will definitely haunt you.
Walking Tour through the Garden District
Canal Street Trolley
We scheduled a walking tour that included one of the historic cemeteries in the city. We took the trolley to get there. The trolley was an experience in itself. We rambled through parts of the city I’d never seen. Some updated, some not, with beautiful homes and streets lit with timeless lamp posts. It only cost $1.25 (exact cash only) and is a great way to get a glimpse of the city.
Running of the Bulls in New Orleans
We got off the train near the entrance to the Lafayette Cemetery where our guide was waiting. She was wearing her “Running of the Bulls” outfit from earlier that morning. New Orleans is unique with this annual event. It coincides with the festival in Spain and has become a wild and fun run for participants. “Rollergirls” chase the runners, “goring” them with plastic horns attached to their helmets. We’re putting this on the list for next year!
Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Karen, our tour guide did an excellent job on such a hot summer day. We took a break in the air conditioning of a local coffee shop after touring the Lafayette Cemetery. The gravesite is housed within walls. The air inside is stagnant, without so much as a gentle breeze. Karen was smart to schedule our break immediately following this part of the tour.
Gate to the Cemetery
A fedora casualty.
Fenced-in corpse? I thought people were dying to get in the cemetery.
A family corner.
After the cemetery, we headed to the Garden District and this was actually our favorite part of the trip. The history of the homes, not to mention the celebrities who live in them was fun to see. We saw the house where Sandra Bullock entertains people like Leonardo di Caprio. And 007’s favorite was the house where Eli and Peyton Manning grew up. Their parents, Archie and Olivia still live there! What a testament to their family traditions. They could live anywhere, yet choose to live where their kids grew up.
This vault is for sale and it just so happens that the area code is right here in lower Alabama.
Garden District Homes
Leonardo di Caprio once sat on this balcony. The home of Sandra Bullock.
Sandra Bullock’s Victorian Home.
Creole Style Home
The TV Show, American Horror: Coven was filmed in this house.
A beautiful mix of architecture.
We chose not to do the Voodoo Tours. But, as we were walking through the haunted city, we passed the infamous Voodoo Bone Lady. She was conducting one of her tours. Did you know that voodoo/hoodoo dolls with pins were not originally meant as a curse? Their purpose was to bring blessings to those who were stuck with the pins. It is a form of religion brought to New Orleans by slaves. I can’t imagine slaves pinning blessings to abusive masters though, can you? The religion was later mixed with Catholicism where saints were matched with the dolls. There were mediums and Tarot Card readers throughout the city. You see everything in New Orleans.
This was a fun and educational trip for us. It’s opened my eyes to a whole different side of the south’s haunted city. I can’t wait to go back. I want to tour more of the garden district. I want to walk Frenchmen Street and pop into some great jazz clubs. I can’t wait to shop in some of the great markets.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that the poltergeists are all toast! Ghostbusters may not have made it this far south, yet! But, in the words of ghostbuster, Dr. Peter Venkman:
“We came. We saw. We kicked its a..!”
Linking with these utterly fabulous parties: