NEW ORLEANS …….
To some people, this place is all about roaming Bourbon Street, taking in the night life, savoring the Louisiana cuisine and maybe getting a handful of beads but to Harlow and I, New Orleans is home to a life that has long since passed. Our souls hearing the whispered call to return and walk aimlessly along the barren streets at daybreak while we run our hands across the stones that are laid upon the ground feeling the heart beat of a city rich in history, myth and magic.
As Harlow made the seven-hour trip (last Thursday) by car, I decided to forgo the nineteen hour drive and take a flight but as luck would have it, the universe was set on playing with my patience and kept delaying my departure time. I swear I would have had better luck getting into the Gates of Guinee (The Voodoo Underworld) then Southwest gate B8.
Many, many hours later…..
As the plane began its descent into New Orleans, I gave thanks to the powers at be for getting me there safely. “Welcome home sister,” a whispered greeting brushed my thoughts, making the hair on my arms stand at attention. A smile graced my face, “Blessed be my sister,” I whispered in return.
It wasn’t soon after we landed that I made my way to baggage claim to retrieve my luggage and then outside to catch a taxi.
Now, one would assume that a taxi driver would know his/her way around a very well-known city which he/she probably resided in and one would also hope that the taxi driver would be somewhat familiar with the hotels that are scattered across the French Quarter. That’s what I get for assuming.
Mine, was clueless.
Thankfully, I made it to Bourbon Orleans Hotel in one piece, although it took everything in me to keep my inner bitch from coming out once I arrived. The drive cost $36, the car had no A/C and the driver sat on his ass while my sweaty self removed my bags from his trunk.
But, there was Harlow full of smiles, awaiting me….but standing a few feet back gauging my now foul, exhausted mood.
“Come on, let’s get you a drink.” she said cautiously.
“Yeah, I need a good, hard, stiff one.”
A drink that is, get your minds out of the gutter!
It didn’t take us long after I arrived that we found ourselves wrapped up in the energetic arms of New Orleans. We headed down Bourbon street towards Pirate’s Alley and it was there that the energy pulsed through our veins, consuming every cell in our body which ignited our soul. We both let out a childlike giggle and continued on our way.
We roamed around a bit and then found ourselves in a cozy restaurant in the French Quarter.
“Harlow, I want some of those yummy meaty balls. I have no idea what they are called but they are delicious.”
I’m thankful that she speaks my language and could totally decipher what type of meaty balls that I was craving.
“Oh, you want Boudin balls. I will make sure we get you some “balls” before you leave.”
With our bellies now full and nerves settled we decided to head back to our hotel to take part in a little ghost adventure of our very own. See, our hotel is known for its ghostly history so first stop, the haunted ballroom. With luck on our side the doors were wide open and there was no staff in sight soooooo we made our way in to the room. I swear if you just closed your eyes and cleared your mind you could hear the sound of jazz music filling the room while beautiful woman dressed in their gorgeous gowns were led by dashing men onto the dance floor.
I wasn’t able to pick anything up on my camera, but Harlow did.
Exhausted from our travels we made our way back up to our room to take in the night life from the privacy of our balcony…..plus, we were in good company. We had two bottles of wine to enjoy!!
Now, most people while on vacation would sleep in ……well, we are not most people. By 5:00am we were sitting on the balcony with coffee in hand, watching the garbage trucks clean up the remnants of the night before.
By 6:00am we were on our way to the only place open in New Orleans, Cafe De Monde to indulge in their warm fluffy beignets and chicory coffee. Let me just say that these were powdery bits of heaven.
We had plenty of time prior to our scheduled 9am cemetery tour to explore the still sleeping city. I have to admit this was my favorite time of day; before all the people, before all the noise.
We made our way down Bourbon to the LaLaurie Mansion and over to the Ursuline convent before window shopping at the closed shops on Decatur and finally ending up at a small dive bar on Dauphine, where Harlow forced me to pop my Bloody Mary cherry.
Let me just say, I’m NOT a fan. That bloody mary should have been poured over some pasta, but anyways after a quick Mimosa…… we were off to the Deja vu Bar and Grill to wait for our tour guide to arrive, that’s when my attention was drawn to the abandoned building that sat across from us.
To any normal person it looked like your average vacant building, but to us ………TO US, we were sitting smack dab in front of a hidden vampire lair. All the windows were boarded up keeping the sunlight from seeping in to singe the skin of the vampires that resided within…..You Rise written in graffiti only to be deciphered to those who had the eyes to see through the jumbled letters and lounging right in front of the building posing as a homeless man was what we assumed was their guardian who stared at us with very curious eyes.
The cemetery that we toured was St. Louis No. 1 which was established in the late 1700’s and is the oldest cemetery in existence in New Orleans. To some, our fascination with cemeteries may seem a bit off-putting but it’s the history, architecture, the stone work and the energy that captivates us.
We did have a tomb that was a must see for us, and that was the tomb of Marie Laveau….the Voodoo queen of New Orleans. It is also said that her tomb is the first Gate of Guinee who is guarded by Baron LaCroix.
Guinee is a place where the souls of the dead spend their time.
A traditional rhyme states: “Seven nights, Seven moons, Seven gates, Seven Tombs.”
If you stumble across the gates and they’re already open, then cross yourself three times and walk away. those who enter can’t get back to the world of the living.
During part of the tour we became a bit perplexed when the tour guide was trying to mislead us into thinking that the tomb that we were now standing in front of was that of Marie Laveau, deep in my gut I knew she was lying and so did Harlow. Our attention was no longer on the guide, we knew the real tomb laid somewhere by Nicholas Cage’s pyramid like tomb.
So our quest to find the real tomb began, Harlow went off to one side of a tomb and I slipped off weaving in between the labyrinth of tombs, finally feeling the buzz on my skin I knew I was close and that’s when I turned and saw the tomb of Marie Laveau.
“Harlow, over here…..HARLOW……Harrrrllow.” I whispered trying my best not to get the attention of the other tours in the area.
“I’m right here.” she said as she popped up out of nowhere.
We stood around admiring the tomb while also giving it the upmost respect. I laid my hand on a brick as Harlows hand laid on top of mine….I whispered a little incantation that will remain between us but in that moment our true sister bond was sealed and blessed by the very Queen herself. Energy buzzed all around us and if you were quiet enough you could hear the whispers of those that still lingered there.
It didn’t occur to me then, but maybe just maybe the voice that I heard of a very distinguished man whispering , “Hello ladies” in my ear was that of Baron LaCroix and not that of just another soul.
We decided not to stay for the whole tour, in our hearts we experienced enough and Ubered ourselves to a gem store, because ya know ….. a girl can always use a new crystal or stone.
After spending a good while wandering around the store we headed down Royal and that’s when a painting caught my eye from the other side of the street, I just HAD to check it out….so we dodged the oncoming traffic and headed to Gallerie Rue Royale.
The artist is Denis Lebecq.
Before heading back to the hotel we stopped into Harlow’s favorite bookstore, Arcadian books and let me just say that when I crossed the threshold I died and went to book heaven. Books stacked up to the ceiling, little nooks and crannies for one to tuck themselves into while getting lost in the words of Hemingway as time slowly slips on by.
The owner once told Harlow that he’s the collector of all the unwanted books…..but in my heart there is never an unwanted book. Words are to be appreciated and books are to be treasured.
Before leaving his store a book titled New Orleans Vampires caught my eye. The owner than informed me that the author owns a shop dedicated to vampires and was located just around the block.
Well, instead of resting at the hotel …. we headed to Boutique du Vampyre which was located on St. Ann street. I didn’t want to leave just in hopes that one of their Vamp friends would pop in. As we wandered around the shop we were then invited to a secret location vampire style party which one could only get in to if they knew the password. Which we will never repeat, so don’t ask. Yes, I have to admit I was totally 100% on top of the freakin world. I mean, come on …. mingling amongst supposed vampires, real or not…..at that moment I didn’t care. I was in New Orleans and was ready for anything……. and by anything I meant paranormal NOT monsoon like rain and running through the streets with water reaching our calves.
Which was the case a couple of hours later………
“I’m NOT staying in this hotel, we are going to have to HOOF it. It’s just a little rain.” Harlow said as she scanned the weather app to see when the storm would pass.
Walking up to the doors leading out to the balcony what I was witnessing was not some little rain storm. It was my version of some damn monsoon. The Gods were pissed, Hecate unleashed her hell hounds as Thor made sure we were aware of his presence, wielding his hammer and making us feel his strength behind the thunder.
“Come on, we will just get a little wet. We will stay under the awnings.” Harlow’s inner child was screaming to get out as I just kept getting a feeling that my spirit guides were sitting back shaking their head and saying, “Don’t do it……” but when in New Orleans, right?
Now, what I didn’t expect was how fast the streets flooded. Police cars blocked the streets preventing cars from moving, people took cover under any shelter they could find but NOT us, Harlow took off running down the sidewalk……shouting at me to follow. I needed a bit of encouragement as I watched her skip down Bourbon street while the water reached her calves.
Fucking A, shit, fuck…… taking a deep breath, I ran after her, stopping at the corner watching her wad through the water down Pirate’s Alley.
“Come on, there’s a bar open. We will get a drink.” she shouted.
“Harlow, come on…..we are going to get electrocuted, we are going to catch yellow fever…..OMG let’s just go back to the hotel. This isn’t safe.”
Do you think she listened to me? Hell no, her inner child took over plus she was in her element. We did stop in at a bar and while I rang out my socks she ordered me a stiff drink. Which loosened up my panties which were in a water logged bunch.
Needless, to say …… we continued to huff it through the French Quarter not giving a care that we were now drenched from head to toe.
By eight, we were exhausted. There was no way we were going to head into any secret vampire bar but we did head into Hex, because one can’t leave New Orleans without a new tarot deck. As we scoured the shelves allowing spirit to guide us to the deck that was calling to us, I squatted down to look at the cards that were on the bottom shelf. BAD IDEA. My muscles screamed at me, my legs refused to get up.
“Uhm, I need a little help here. My body has officially said fuck you, I’m not moving.” we busted out in a fit of delirious laughter as we tried to get me upright.
I don’t know exactly when we made it back to our room, but we crashed hard that night.
Our last day was bitter sweet, we woke up early once again but took our time before heading to a couple of cemeteries that I wanted to see before I left.
My advice, forgo the tours and explore the cemeteries on your own.
Then we went to Metarie Cemetery in search of the weeping angel…..
When I looked at my photos later on that day, I noticed that I did capture orbs at one of the spots.
This trip was not just a girls trip, it was closure and a celebration all rolled into one. In the last two years we have learned quite a bit about ourselves……what we will tolerate, what we deserve and a renewed faith in love.
Till next time,