Ghost Hunt: New Orleans

First full day started off a lot later than expected, and by late I mean it was rolling toward noon before we even go out of bed! The jarring sounds of “Inna Gadda da Vida” woke us …I know, but I have a good explanation! It’s the crazy ring tone I’ve got set for my dad when he calls me, ya know, so I know it’s him calling before I answer.

I think we can partially blame the combination of the black out curtains in the hotel room, and being pretty beat from the festivities of New Years Eve.

Our first item on the list for the first full day in New Orleans is Café du Monde.

We walked up Royal St. and got in some really amazingly high priced window-shopping. Then, went down St. Anne St. Which found us right in the midst of Jackson Square, and standing in front of the monolithic St. Louis Cathedral. Unfortunately we didn’t actually go inside, that item has been put of the list as a definite for the next trip!

Jackson Square (and most of the French Quarter actually) was still decked out in its festive holiday garb, which was fantastic! We walked thru the courtyard, crossed Decatur St., several street artists, and finally arrived at the café.

The Café du Monde Order: Café au Lait & Beignets.

I’ve never had a beignet before, and if you haven’t either – there is a whole other side of heaven that you’re missing! It’s like… well; it’s like a plate of 3 luscious deep-fried donuts made from pancake-ish batter covered and piled high with confectioner’s sugar.

Yeah… I know… wipe your chin, close your mouth. lol.

(Side note: black coat/clothing = bad idea)

Walking inside the restaurant was a little disorienting, mostly because we had no idea where to go or what we should be doing – do we sit down? Wait to be seated? Do we order first & then sit? So we did what any self-respecting Californian’s would do, ask the strange ladies seated at the table we were standing closest to.

Here’s the skinny: If you want to be served, you sit and wait for a perky waitress. If you want take out, you order at the window. Easy.

The café itself was completely jam-packed, so was the outdoor seating, which was covered completely by green tarp. We did manage to find a table outdoors; we sat and ate beneath the forest green tarp. The pictures Id seen online showed an outdoor seating area that just had an awning, with this weather I’m thankful for the ugly green trap.

And since it was our first time, we had our Café au Laits served to us in full color souvenir mugs, which we took home with us!

After the sugar shock, we walked down the street, through the French Market, and along The Mississippi River.

The River is a brownish-gray color and I wonder if it’s always this color? Is it? We won’t be in town long enough for me to see it change. We passed the riverboat, the steamer Natchez, which is actually a restaurant that has a dinner & Jazz Cruise lasting 2 hours and is the only authentic steamboat in New Orleans. It wasn’t open at the time so we didn’t board, however, it is possible to go onboard and take a look without having dinner tour tickets.

While walking by The Mississippi River, we came upon a kiosk filled with brochures for every tour you can think of. Several catch my eye, Vampire, Cemetery, Plantation, but I already know the Ghost Tour is the one tour I won’t pass up!

We reserve our spot on the Haunted history tours – New Orleans Ghost Tour!

The tour departs from Reverend Zombies Voodoo Shop on St. Peters St. at 6 and 8 pm. We chose the 6pm tour, since tonight was supposed to be the coldest night so far this week, and planned to grab some dinner afterwards, to warm up again.

Since we were doing the ghost tour and not the cemetery tour, I thought we’d go check out St. Louis #1. For me, this is a big deal. I consider myself to be spiritual, but not necessarily religious. During my spiritual journey, I’ve read up on many different religions and belief systems – Voodoo is one of them. Anyone who knows anything about New Orleans knows who Marie La Veau is.

I know the stories of Marie, The Voodoo Queen, of New Orleans. I know of the ritual you can do ask her for favors – and her tomb shows the evidence of this practice with big red and black XXX’s and other markings all over it. Marie’s tomb is said to be the busiest spot for paranormal activity in the city of New Orleans. Unfortunately for us, when we got to St. Louis #1 we learned that the cemetery closed daily at 3pm. So, we would have to come back. I was disappointed, but refuse to leave New Orleans without visiting Marie La Veau.

Instead we walked back up St. Louis back to St. Peter St. and to Reverend Zombies. This city has that same buzz most big cities seem to have. It’s own energy and electricity. Everyone is pumped up and feeling good (The Saints are in the playoff’s) All the Saints banners, & “Who Dat” flags just seem to increase the feeling.

We arrived at the Reverend Zombies Voodoo Shop a half hour early, checked in with our tour guides, and then went inside the Shop to check out the goods. Probably the coolest shop I’ve been in! There’s an Alter with dozens of candles (Oops! Don’t touch!), a candle for everything you could pray for, Voodoo dolls, Voodoo books, Voodoo knick-knacks, gris-gris bags and the fixings to make your own bag, incense, displays, and a Tarot card reader/psychic in the back. As always in all the neatest places you go – no pictures allowed inside the shop. I would have gotten a reading, but we didn’t have enough time before the Ghost tour started.

The Ghost Tour:

The tour departs from the shop, our guide Jennifer, leads us off behind St. Louis Cathedral and down Pere Antoine Aly.

I have to say, this is the best Ghost Tour I’ve been on, so far!

I’m sharing the pictures from the tour and brief captions from the story, so the pictures will actually make sense. But, if you want to know about the ghosts you really have to take the tour! I can’t say for sure what I’ve captured in these photos, but I will note, at no other time during our trip did I have orbs, or dots, or specks of dust or anything of the sort, present on my pictures (and most of the 800+ pictures I took were taken at night!)

The 1st Ghost – Julie:

Julie was a young mistress who wanted her master to marry her, and would do anything to make that happen. Apparently, to get Julie to drop the marriage talk he asked her to do something outrageous, something he thought for sure she would never do – and, of course, she did it. Julie died on the roof of this building…

The 2nd Ghost(s) – The Andrew Jackson Hotel:

These pictures are in succession, so you can see one picture has one orb on it, and the next picture shows orbs/dust/spots all over it.

The story from the Andrew Jackson hotel involves children and several fires. Being that these are children, they are very active and playful. Apparently, ghosts of this hotel are known to take photos of the room occupants with their own digital camera, while they sleep. Seems like an easy set up, except that the pictures are taken from above, so to manage the picture – the camera would be on the ceiling!

And, since the guests claim to be asleep, one can only wonder who’s taking these photos? Also, a word of advice if you plan on staying here – don’t sleep naked!

The 3rd Ghost – The haunted bar: Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop

I didn’t get anything from the bar except a fabulous Irish coffee!

But, I did take some shots out front. There was a mighty duel, (this is also the spot where mom felt someone/something poke her lightly in the back – twice. She thought it might be one of our tour mates, but when she looked no one stood behind her).

The 4th Ghost – LaLaurie House: (This one’s a doosey!!)

The tale of Madame Delphine La Laurie is probably the most gruesome story I’ve heard in a long while.

She loved to entertain and have parties. During the party she would disappear & return several hours later wearing a different outfit. Apparently this didn’t raise suspicions because she was never seen in the same outfit twice, it was taken as a sign of wealth and chalked up to snobbery. But, what she was really up to in her funhouse would make Leatherface jealous!
(No – seriously – take the tour!)

The experts say the way you can tell if you really have some paranormal activity on your photographs & it’s not just a speck of lint on your camera or dust – is shape and movement. As you can see, these are clear, bright orb shapes and they are in different positions with each picture.

We got a special treat on this tour due to the obscenely cold weather; the last haunt we went to is something that is usually saved for the 8pm Tour only.

The 5th Ghost – Marie:

The bar used to be a brothel-house and Marie was a girl there. She fell in love with one of her men, a sailor, who was meant to leave within days of their meeting. Before he left, he promised Marie he would come back for her. Marie is what you could call a “nice” ghost, except for locking people in the left stall in the powder room; she’s very kind and considerate.

After the tour, we went in search of some much needed grub.

We stumble upon “Boudreaux’s Backyard” the décor was a very fun underwater theme, complete with neon, a boat on the ceiling, nets, starfish, and oyster shells plastered onto the walls. We ordered this wonderful stuffed Portobello mushroom appetizer, which was beautiful and delicious! And for a beverage I chose a green gator, which I’ve had before – but as I said, I want to try everything authentic!

I’m not a big seafood eater, so before our trip I promised dad I would at least try the Jambalaya and Gumbo. My entrée tonight is a bowl of Gumbo w/ rice, and Jambalaya Pasta. It’s a texture, and occasionally, a flavor thing with seafood and me. But, I have to say; being here in New Orleans could completely change my mind.

The Gumbo was so creamy and hearty good, and the Jambalaya Pasta was served w/ penne pasta (my fav!), and had such a rich wonderful flavor, I didn’t even notice I was eating shrimp or crawfish! Still a bit on the pricey side (it’s Bourbon St. after all), but Boudreaux’s Backyard was well worth it! This is our first time here – so why not splurge?

We leave the restaurant and continued down Bourbon St. All day we’ve been seeing folks carrying around these funky, lime green, plastic containers. We learn these are the infamous Hand Grenade, so of course, have to try one!

We go into (one of the 3) Tropical Isle bars on Bourbon St. and have a seat, there’s a one-man band musician playing what looks like a drum kit-accordion-harmonica-guitar instrument, and he’s taking requests. This place is interesting; the décor is all red walls, Tiki gods, Mardi Gras masques, and twinkle Christmas lights. And It’s warm, thank god, while we enjoy our beverages, mom asks the dude to play her a song, and he obliges.

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