When you are walking down the quiet streets of New Orleans at night (keeping clear off always-crowded Bourbon Street), the first thing that you will think of is how old it is. Then you see the flickering fire in the lanterns above your head and you feel as though you have been transported back in time. Then you start imagining the people that used to walk the streets hundreds of years ago; pirates, slaves, rich men, mistresses, sailors, voodoo queens…you name it.
This is what makes New Orleans so mystical. Every house, every corner of the street has a story. Most of the time, it’s a little bit scary…but then again, that’s what makes New Orleans enticing
As we said in a previous post, while we came across the Old Ursulines Convent by accident. It was a beautiful place with lovely people who told us a lot of things about the city. It is the oldest French Colonial building along the Mississippi. The staff there told us that on the second floor, there were rumors of spirits haunting that place.
As we’ve said in a previous post, the Garden District boasts a huge array of beautiful houses, plantations, and a cemetery that you can visit, either to take pictures or to test your courage. Within walking distance to the French Quarter, there is the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, which is the burial place for Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. When I asked a local why the tombs were raised, she told me that it’s because of New Orleans’ periodical flood and, laughing, said, “After all, we don’t want them to drown, do we?”
We went on the Haunted Houses and Ghosts Walking Tour and it was an amazing experience (remember that you have to walk a lot and it’s mostly listening to stories). Bea, our tour guide, had a knack of telling scary stories. I love how she tied the tales in New Orleans to ones in American Horror Story (such as the story of Madame Lalaurie). We went inside some of the buildings, including a brothel for sailors. The stories Bea told us were horrifying. She also explained some of the social norms in colonial New Orleans…about quadroon balls, plaçage, and what life was like back then. As I walked home that night, I truly felt as though I was back in time. New Orleans has that effect.
Madame John’s Legacy
Bea also told us to go to Madame John’s Legacy, which is rumored to be haunted. We went there in the morning and saw that it is a museum for pottery. Some movie scenes were shot at this house, including those from Interview with a Vampire and Twelve Years a Slave. It is one of the oldest building in New Orleans, built after the fire that destroyed much of the city in the late 1700s. It is free to go inside, so definitely take a look at it!
Voodoo in New Orleans developed from Western African culture, mixed with French and Spanish influences. There are many voodoo shops scattered all over the French Quarter with dolls hanging from the ceiling, herb bags, shrines, and a back room where you can get your reading. These shops prohibit photography, except for one place called Voodoo Authentica of New Orleans Cultural Center and Collection, and that is the photo you see here. Please, everyone, when you are in a voodoo shop, respect them.