And so another work week begins, which means it’s Immortal Monday yet again. But before we begin I’d like to direct your attention to the big birthday bash Ms. Samantha Warren is holding in the form of a blog scavenger hunt. This blog is participating in the event all week-long. Please skip over here and find out what you need to do to play along and gain your chance at winning some really cool prizes. That’s right, I said prizes. There’s even a Kindle to be won!
In addition to this fun game there is a fantastic prize give away on this blog as well. One lucky person will win a new Skylander’s: Spyro’s Adventure game for the Wii. Slip over here to find out what you need to do to get your name in the hat. And now, without further ado, Immortal Monday…
This week I am making good on my original promise to talk about other aspects surrounding our immortals. Aspects such as their surroundings and their worlds. When you pick up a book, turn on the television or head off to the movies in order to immerse yourself in a story with your favorite immortals where do you see the story unfolding? I am sure many of us would have a different answer to that question. And we may have a different answer each time the question is asked. The world can be as different as the immortal we are currently pursuing. And please don’t tell me you screamed out Forks without thinking.
Many authors may jump from location to location within the slew of their different stories, but one notable author is highly recognized for her love of one particular area. It’s understandable. Anne Rice has not only created many memories in New Orleans growing up, she also moved back to live in the heart of the garden district in 1986 until 2005. She harbors a deep love for the city and its surrounding areas. So it’s no wonder that it would influence her work.
But Anne Rice is not the only author drawn to this location. So what makes New Orleans so inspiring? The better question would be – what’s not captivating and alluring about a city so rich with history and secrets like the port city of New Orleans? Well, it has long been called the most haunted city in all of the United States. A title I have no doubt it is well deserving of.
As legends would tell, the swampy land that would become the city of New Orleans was once a sacred place of burial for the local Indians. How many of you have seen the poltergeist movies? Living on a sacred Indian burial ground is never a good thing. Am I right or am I right? But because of its location in relations to the Mississippi River, France wanted to stake their claim. They wanted the river and all control over it. They were determined to have a city there.
And it would be so! New Orleans was to become a reality, but not before the king made the struggling little colony his dumping ground for all the unwanted convicts France had to offer. Yes, it was a cesspool of murderers, thieves, rapists and every kind or common criminal one could think of. I don’t think I need to tell you the crime rate was off the charts. Add that to the fact the location was in the middle of a swamp with deplorable living conditions, harsh elements, alligators, venomous snakes, quick sand, mosquitoes and all kinds of diseases running rampant and you have the makings for a perfect ghost infested town.
But it doesn’t stop there. After all that hard work to establish a settlement, fickle France decided they didn’t want New Orleans anymore and they hand it over to Spain. Only they neglect to tell anyone other than the Spanish Governor. So what do you think happened when Spain showed up to switch out the flag at the colony? You betcha! The people thought they were being invaded and fought back. It wasn’t pretty. They kicked the Spaniards out and won – that time around.
Only thing is, the Spanish weren’t going to give up that easy. They eventually came back and made an example of the men that led the resistance the previous time by putting a bullet in each of their heads and laying their bodies out in front of the church to rot. This drove the monk mad for he felt each man deserved a proper burial. The Spaniard Governor denied him each time he requested it.
Finally, not giving in, on a stormy night he decided to do it anyway. Moving in the rain the monk performed the last rights over the bodies and with the aid of the families moved the remains into caskets and carried the caskets to the graveyard. The monk sang the entire time he performed the ceremony. No Spaniard bothered them for they had no desire to come out into the pouring rain.
It is said that the monk can still be heard singing to this very day through the streets of New Orleans. Just one of the many ghosts that haunts the streets and buildings of the city rich with history.
Today there is no shortage of ghost stories in New Orleans. There are more than enough to go around. Some that will knock your socks off, others that will turn your stomach or drain you of blood. Let’s face it; a few should never have been made public because they are purely blood curdling. So horrid were some of these crimes that buildings were left empty for years afterwards as people found them unlivable.
The sites are regular stops in the many ghost and vampire tours offered within the city. It is here you can be made privy to the stories first hand. Stories I don’t wish to share with the weak stomachs. But for those who want to know, Google Delphine LaLaurie and the Sultan’s massacre for a sample of the real ugliness that took place in the city.
Should you find yourself in the colorful city of New Orleans, I highly recommend the Vampire tour. There’s nothing better than a tour of the city by night when the things you are looking for come out to play. Plus it’s just down right spooky!
But these buildings, the ones left vacant – could these be some of the buildings Ann Rice passed by every morning on her way to school? If so, it would be no wonder that she was inspired to write with such dark under tones. New Orleans is steeped in dark mystery and flavor that is hard to miss. It’s a bucket of pure magic just waiting for you to dip your fingers in.
In fact, in 1990 the garden district (a neighborhood within New Orleans full of beautifully preserved mansions) played a huge role in Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches series. It’s her home at 1239 First Street that she so prominently features, using the porch in scenes with Deirdre Mayfair and the swimming pool in Stella Mayfair’s wild youth.
The outskirts of New Orleans became the inspiration for the now famous book and movie Interview with a Vampire. Lestat went on to make his fame in other books and movies as well. (Good or bad – he was working)
Ms. Rice has kept it no secret that the famous Oak Alley Plantation was a huge inspiration to her in a lot of her writing. She used parts of it in several of her books. They went on to use it in the filming of the movie Interview with a Vampire as well. I was lucky enough to visit Oak Alley shortly after the filming of the movie and view the guest book. Tom Cruise, funny guy that he is, signed the book, “Moving in tomorrow.” Ha ha. Okay Tommy boy. As it stood they filmed at Oak Alley for about a week using the area around the trees for some of the outdoor shoots in addition to the regular indoor scenes. All those beautiful oaks were planted before the plantation was ever built so they were well rooted and strong by the time the manor was constructed.
In plantation life as well as in the city you would find voodoo. The African-Americans brought it over with them when they were brought here in slave trade. Did anyone see The Skeleton Key? Freaky! Now there was a couple trying to achieve immortality through voodoo. But from what I can tell voodoo is primarily misunderstood and that’s what scares people so much. I’ll admit, they make it look pretty frightening in the movies. Maybe it is. But the religion is based on one deity with several demigods, much like Catholicism.
The practice evolved in New Orleans and became more indigenous to the city. It was only natural that the voodoo practiced in New Orleans would eventually differ immensely from the purer form practiced in Haiti. It spawned mystical tales of voodoo curses that shrouded the legends and folklore in a bit of voodoo hysteria for a few years. Just another piece in the unique puzzle that is New Orleans.
So what does New Orleans have? A high level of bad element (murderers, thugs, you-name-it), more ghosts per square inch than any other city, voodoo and… I forgot to mention the very unique and sometimes misunderstood cities of the dead.
Cities of the dead are the cemeteries. It was discovered very early that if you buried a body in a swamp region the body would float up to the surface. That quickly became a problem. That is why you see all the cemeteries above ground and looking like little cities throughout New Orleans and the Mississippi area.
With your newly armed information on the dark history of the city can you picture Anne Rice’s character’s stalking the streets of this diverse city at night? I believe I understand why Lestat found it so appealing.
Did you find this week’s Immortal Monday Cliff notes version informative? I’d like to hear from you what format you like best. I am planning on returning to an individual’s highlight next week.
- Immortal Monday ★ He Who Must Not Be Named ★ Guest Post by Jessica O’Neal
- Immortal Monday Fails the Holy Grail
- Immortal Monday ღ Angle vs. Spike: The Immortal Men of Buffy
- Immortal Monday ~ The God of Thunder * Badass Thor
- Immortal Monday ~ Seelie or Unseelie ღ Death-By-Sex Fae
- Immortal Monday ~ Edward Cullen * Sparkling Prince or Creepy Stalker?
- The Immortals are Coming!