When it comes to a ghastly good time on Halloween, New Orleans offers visitors a triple whammy.
In the Big N.O., spine-tingling encounters with the undead and other creatures of the night are by no means exclusive to Halloween. The city is so steeped in tales of ghostly apparitions, vampire lairs and voodoo magic, that it’s often hard to separate fact from fiction. To do so would be to defy the very spirit of New Orleans. For a real taste of the Big Easy, you’ve got to sink your teeth into it.
Tales of the Undead
Legend has it that in the 1800s, French families were enticed to send their daughters to New Orleans to marry. The nuns of the Ursuline convent intercepted the girls – misled to believe well-to-do suitors would greet them when they arrived – and put them up at the convent. The girls had come with their trousseaux – shaped very much like traditional coffins – which were then placed in the attic, and not retrieved until a proper suitor was found for them. When they were finally brought down from storage, the nuns discovered that there was nothing inside. Some claim that the girls smuggled vampires from France to New Orleans, where they prey upon unsuspecting partygoers to this day. Just as chilling as New Orlean’s dark history is the famous New Orleans Vampire tour (we cannot be held responsible for
The Voodoo that You Do
Voodoo is often associated with stories of bloodthirsty revenge and transmogrification. Though there is this aspect to it, keep in mind that Voodoo is also a widely practiced religion and as such should be approached in the same way as you would, say, the holy Eucharist in a Catholic church. Of course if you’re going to New Orleans for the chills and thrills of Halloween, a few stories of evil magic may be just what the high priestess ordered. All tales of voodoo magic ultimately lead to Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, who is said to roam St. Louis Cemetery #1, putting a curse on all those who dare disrespect her. Locals still leave offerings at her grave in the hopes that she will give them her blessing. If you dare to visit her on a New Orelans voodoo tour, you’d best have something prepared, or else…
Once you gain a little perspective, it’s easy to see how a ghost or two – or three – might take a liking to the dark recesses of New Orleans. It seems that every hotel in the French Quarter has a ghost story to tell, and several have now capitalized on their own paranormal activity. After all, no trip to New Orleans is complete without a close encounter of the ghoulish kind. The most haunted hotel of all? The Bourbon Orleans, which provides a list of in-house apparitions on its official website: the Confederate soldier that haunts the third and sixth floors, the ghosts of the Sisters of the Holy Family convent, and the lone dancer under the crystal chandelier in the Orleans Ballroom. Meet them all on the Nightmare Walking Tour of New Orleans.
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