Friday, August 29, 2014

Down in Good Old New Orleans

"In the southland, there's a city, way down on the river..." (Princess and the Frog)

Last week I travelled to New Orleans, Louisiana with my family to celebrate my step-father's mother's 90th birthday. I have been to New Orleans a few times before for Christmas and Mardi Gras, but I have never gone in the summer. It gets unbearably hot and humid in July there and I was worried that the heat would affect me negatively, but we shifted some plans around and managed to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day. Our very first day we took a mid-morning flight and landed around noon with the hour time difference. My step-father and step-sister picked my mom and I up from the airport and we immediately headed to the French Quarter.

The French Quarter is the most famous and recognizable area of New Orleans, with the famous St. Louis Cathedral standing in the center. This neighborhood of the city features Cafe du Monde, home of delicious coffee and beignets, art galleries, amazing restaurants, historic buildings, and unique shops. Here you can enjoy a bowl of gumbo while listening to live jazz music before shopping for a voodoo doll and some alligator jerky. 

One of the more unique things about New Orleans is the music that bounces down every alley and into every open window. There are constantly musicians on the sidewalk sharing their gift with the city and it is strange to not hear it while walking through the Quarter. 

On this trip, my sister and I decided we wanted to go on a ghost tour to learn more about the town's haunted history. Our tour covered both ghosts and vampires and our tour guide was friendly and appreciative of questions.

This particularly foreboding green home was used in the film Interview with a Vampire, starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. Our guide told us there is a group of people residing in New Orleans who consider themselves to be vampires, drinking blood and dressing in vampiric garb. I had not previously associated vampires with New Orleans, but in addition to the ghosts and voodoo, it certainly makes for an eclectic and haunted city.