NOLA Adventure Part One: Ghosts of New Orleans
A business trip last month brought me to Louisiana. It was my first trip out there and since I didn’t know when I’d get the chance to go again I decided to visit New Orleans. I only had a day to check out the city so after finishing my work near Alexandria and spending a night in Baton Rouge I headed down to the Big Easy. New Orleans has a very interesting history of voodoo, ghosts and haunted places. So as someone who is interested in all things creepy I tried to visit as many of these places I could in the French Quarter. The first place I decided to visit was St. Louis Cemetery #1. I wasn’t able to check into my my hotel until 3pm so I parked my at a 24 hour lot and I walked over to the cemetery. I got to the entrance to find that it was guarded and the guard told me the only ways to enter was with a tour guide.
I really didn’t want to visit the cemetery with a tour guide so I decided to walk around and explore the French Quarter. I went in some art galleries and checked out Bourbon Street and then I made my way down to the waterfront of the Mississippi river. The riverfront is very pretty I walked by the Audubon Aquarium of the Pacific and also saw the steamboat Natchez on the water. After taking my stroll along the water I decided I would really like to see the St. Louis #1 cemetery so I decided to book a tour through the Voodoo Lounge.
Before heading back to the cemetery for the tour I saw a mask shop that looked interesting so I stopped in to take a look. There were masks all over the walls, some of them were creepy and some were beautiful. I snapped a few pictures of them before reading a sign that said don’t take pictures of the masks..oopsy haha. I bought a mask as a souvenir from my trip and then I was getting thirsty so I went to a walk up window at a bar and ordered a Bloody Mary. Yess I love being able to walk around with a drink in hand!
After my quick shopping trip I started making my way back to the cemetery walking up St. Ann Street which is where I stayed at the Inn on St. Ann. New Orleans has a lot of really interesting Creole cottages and buildings that are a mixture of French and Spanish architecture. The cute and colorful Creole cottages below were right across the street from the Inn on St. Ann.
I still had a little time to kill before the tour so I went to check out Louis Armstrong park which is right at the end of St. Ann Street. Named after the famous jazz musician Louis Armstrong park has a lot of interesting statues including a marching jazz band and a four headed Louis Armstrong playing his trumpet.
After checking out the park I headed to the Voodoo Lounge for the tour. As we walked to the cemetery the guide explained that due to all the rainfall in New Orleans after a corpse would get buried underground it wouldn’t be long until bones and decaying corpses would be floating around town. Obviously it was disturbing having body parts popping out of graves so they started laying the departed to rest in above the ground tombs.
When we finally got inside the cemetery I ditched the tour to explore and take pictures. There were a lot of interesting graves and tombs including one marked in X’s. I figured this was most likely the grave of Marie Laveau. Marie Laveau is best known as the “queen of voodoo” in New Orleans. She was born around 1794 and apparently died around 1881 on St. Ann Street. She was known for having voodoo ceremonies and there is a ritual of making a wish at the tomb of Marie Laveau. In this ritual you draw three X’s on the tomb, knock three times on the slab and ask out loud for Marie to grant your wish. Then rub your foot three times against the bottom and leave an offering.
As I was exploring the cemetery the groundskeeper yelled at me. I ignored him, but he asked me where my tour was I said “oh they’re right over there” as I walked away. I can see that they may not want people to visit the cemetery alone due to vandalism, but touring the dead with a guide seems disrespectful to those resting there.
It was a very hot and humid day in ‘Nawlins, but there were some huge clouds forming in the sky. As I walked around the cemetery it became a bit ominous when the thunder and lightning started. There were a few sprinkles of rain and then it started pouring! I did not have an umbrella so I stashed my camera and fled the cemetery. By the time I made it several blocks to a CVS to buy an umbrella I was completely drenched. Luckily by that time it was time to check in to my hotel!
Thanks for reading Part One of my NOLA blog post please check out my photo gallery below and I look forward to sharing the next part of my adventure with you soon!