My friend and I loved New Orleans so much, we decided to return the following year. This time with two more friends and at Halloween as I’d always wanted to celebrate Halloween in the US because I know they do it in style and make a huge festival out of it. And where better to celebrate than in the home town of the Queen of the Macabre, Anne Rice. I made sure that we all had tickets to her famous Vampire Lestat Ball, which was held in The Garden District and we all went to town with our outfits.
I have to say though the locals really know how to create realistic Vampire costumes. We even found a shop that fitted vampire veneers and contacts. I decided to go pre-vampire bite.
Other watering holes that deserve a mention was the Carousel Bar. Named so because if you didn’t sit in one place your stool would be on the other side of the bar as the whole bar rotated slowly around the room, whilst drinking Martini cocktails and listening to a live pianist and one of my friends singing with her amazing voice.
Another was the Pirates Bar by the Jackson Square church, where the psychics all sit out during the day under parasols and give you tarot readings. I wasn’t impressed by reading, so I won’t dwell on it. All the tour guides met at the Pirates Bar and we were very much made to feel welcome. I think they liked the English accent!
We went to a Jazz evening, which was very cultural and enjoyable. I even bought the bands CD, which was signed by the members and I’m very proud to say I own. I now play the CD whenever I want to return to NO in my head.
The two best places though was Prague, a very Gothic and atmospheric bar with a gorgeous courtyard out back filled with beautiful scented flowers. Inside the décor was dark, mysterious, with red velvet drapes Chaise lounges and chandeliers. Love it! And finally The Dungeon. Wow what a club. Dark, dingy and grungy. Naturally this place like so many other great places in New Orleans had to appear in My Fourth Book in the Beyond Series – Lycan Lamia for the final reveal scene.
We took our new travellers to a different Plantation this time and we entered the sanctity of a real voodoo temple and voodoo shop. Again I described all of these places in great detail in my last book, but in a nutshell the different alters to different deities had a plethora of offerings that made the temple and shop look like a cluttered brik-a-brac shop.
Fascinating places though. Here’s a typical alter to Papa Legba. Most people seem afraid of Voodoo, but it actually is like everything else that’s mysterious and mystical, some people (especially the film industry) take pagan rituals to a dark place!
I also had the opportunity to look around two of the houses used in the film Interview with a Vampire and a museum based in merchants old Spanish style house around Jackson Square, Anne Rice and Nicholas Cage’s House in the beautiful Garden District and the Cafe Du Monde in Jackson Square where they make the famous Beignets and coffee!
Oh and if you ever go to New Orleans, I thoroughly recommend a bowl of seafood gumbo, very special and all made a mention in my The Beyond Series of books, in Lycan Lamia my hero’s spend some time getting to grips with voodoo magic in the most haunted house of the French Quarter.