Immortal Monday ☆Anne Rice’s New Orleans

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.

In 1994 Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt brought Anne Rice’s characters to life in Interview with a Vampire… 

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About Debra Kristi

Debra Kristi is a mother, an author, a Pinterest addict, and sometimes DIY home decorator. Hang with her to organize your everyday and leave your mind open to the fantastical.
This entry was posted in Immortal Monday, Place & Objects and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Immortal Monday ☆Anne Rice’s New Orleans

  1. Elisa says:

    Cade worked in New Orleans for awhile. He said it was amazing 🙂 I hope I’ll get to go there someday.

  2. Great overview of New Orleans and its draw! I’ve never been there, but if I ever go, I’ll be sure to sign up for the Vampire and ghost tours!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      I haven’t been back there since Katrina, but the Vampire tour used to be hosted by this guy who would lead you to believe he was the real deal, a vampire himself. He was such a character. 😀 It was rated higher than the ghost tours and I think you saw pretty much the same stuff. It probably got better reviews because of its charismatic host! The tours always started at the old Black Smith’s, now a pub and the oldest building in town.

  3. I have never been to New Orleans but it has been on my list of places to visit for a long time. The history and architecture of this city is fascinating!

    I am not a huge fan of the vampire books and movies but Interview with a Vampire was well done. I also like Sookie Stackhouse series, although the HBO adaptation, True Blood, has disappointed me.

    Thank you for sharing such interesting facts about New Orleans. Anne Rice was a pure genius and will be never be forgotten!

    I’m off to check out Samantha’s blog scavenger hunt 🙂

  4. mgmillerbooks says:

    My favorite place on earth. I’m enamored of it too, and have set a couple novels in and around the area. I wouldn’t do Mardi Gras, though. That’s much too much for me. Out of all of Anne Rice’s books, though, I’d have to say my favorite is The Witching Hour. Great post, Debra!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Thank you Mike. I also fell in love with the city and the surrounding area. I have been back there a few times. It was one of the first places I had to take my husband. We went at Christmas. I have never been there for Mardi Gras, but have been there right up to the starting day. It can get pretty wild even then!

  5. Coleen Patrick says:

    I was lucky to live in New Orleans for a couple of years. You are so right that it is a place filled with myth and legend, perfect for the paranormal. I will never forget visiting a cemetery there and seeing everything above ground. Extra eerie!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Ooh! You are lucky indeed. The time we get there is never enough. My husband and I took a self-guided tour around a couple of the cemeteries the last time we were there. Very interesting. And yes, eerie.

  6. FAB post – loved it!!! I’ve been dying to visit New Orleans and definitely hope to go someday. I’ll do the vampire tour for sure.
    I am loving Samantha’s scavenger hunt – what FUN!!!

  7. Lesann says:

    I love love love New Orleans! My husband and I vacillated between New Orleans and Pacific Northwest when we decided to relocate…the PNW won out with a slight margin. A few months later Katrina blew through and we were grateful to have gone north. There are still days though when I think of the lovely narrow streets of the Vieux Carre, beignets at Cafe du Monde, and the waterfront promenade.

    There is no place like New Orleans. It helps that I ran into Anne Rice out in front of St. Louis #2 and we spoke briefly. My husband didn’t recognize her and couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me….lol.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Well I guess something was nudging you in the right direction then. But I am with you, LOVE New Orleans. There is just something magical about that city. I think I would gain several pounds living there though. I wouldn’t be able to stay away from Café du Monde. OMG! The beignets are sooo good!

      I can’t believe your luck! Running into Anne Rice in front of St. Louis #2. That is just beyond awesome! Doing a happy dance for you now. Woo Hoo!

  8. New Orleans is on my bucket list and I’ll forever be sad that I never went when Anne Rice lived there. I devoured her vampire books. Well, until Armand and those brigands started playing a staring role… anyway, also loved the Mayfair series. How cool that you got to visit the plantation so soon after filming!

    I have to say, I’m super jealous of you and Lesann ~ she got to meet Anne Rice. Super cool!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Could you imagine running into her like Lesann did? I’d probably lose my voice. LOL

      I also visited another planation used to film a party scene. They had plaques up about the filming of the movie. It amazed me that they made the small rooms look so much bigger on screen. It was also the yard where he grabbed and drained the little yapping dogs. I don’t know if you remember that scene in the movie or not. I don’t recall it being that far from Oak Alley.

  9. I have to confess, although I saw the movie Interview With A Vampire, I haven’t read any of Ann Rice’s books. I keep hearing they’re awesome, so I really should one day. 🙂

    Loved your overview of New Orleans, Debra. It’s on the top 10 list of places I’d like to visit.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Hi Shelia! If you like history then you will truly enjoy New Orleans. There is so much history to absorb. It was hard writing about it and not going long. As it is I went rather long, and I tried to keep it to the minimum and still make it interesting and informative.

  10. Emma says:

    I want to get there one day! My characters have visited New Orleans and I’d like to walk through the French Quarter like they did.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Hi Emma! I like to do that too – -walk where my characters have or will. I feel I can write them better if I understand them and share the same experiences.

      I adore the French Quarter. I don’t know when your characters are there or if they experience Mardi Gras (which is absolutely insane and also rather filthy), but a pretty cool thing to take in without being in the heart of the craziness is to head over to Mardi Gras World. You can see all the floats and costumes when the parades aren’t going on.

  11. OK….now I have to visit New Orleans!

  12. Lynn Kelley says:

    Fascinating history of New Orleans. I didn’t know much of it. Wow! Nice job, Debra. And what a cool prize you’re offering for Samantha’s scavenger hunt!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Thank you Lynn. New Orleans does have a more interesting history than most in my opinion. Glad you like the prize offered. How old is your little grand-daughter? My five-year-old going on six has already mastered it and loves the game. She’s better at it than mommy. LOL 🙂

  13. gingercalem says:

    Your blog always has such fab eye-candy. I was stuck on the photos of Tom and Brad (yes, in my mind we’re on a first name basis!) for a good while. I read the Mayfair Witches so long ago and LOVED it. Story is seeped in richness and lure, very much because of the location!

    This was great reading, thanks!

    • Debra Kristi says:

      😀 First name huh? If Tom met you he’d dump Katie in a heartbeat. My husband met him when he still worked at Paramount, back when Tom was filming Days of Thunder. I have to admit to never reading the third book in the Mayfair Witches series. I’m not sure why I never finish. I think I’m overdue. Don’t you?

  14. Hmm. Haunted city + me = not happening. LOL…I’m a coward through and through. In fact, Supernatural is the only scary thing I watch (because Sam and Dean are too cute-and Jeffrey Dean Morgan was in it for awhile). Some weeks I can’t even turn it on because the nightmare potential is too high.

    But I loved your article. Very informative and interesting. I thank you very much for not elaborating on some of the worst things though. I need to know something though. Am I the only one who sees a kind of funny face (worthy of a PBS kids show) when looking at the picture of the abandoned house? 🙂

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Kristy, you only need to see the spooky side of the city if you want to. If that doesn’t interest you than stay in a newer hotel just outside of the gas light district and take in the beauty and culture. I don’t think you’ll see ghosts unless you go looking to scare yourself. But don’t go unless you want to either. People should only go because it’s something they want to see.

      Where are you seeing the funny face in the house? I think things can be misleading in that photo because of the treatment used.

      • Oh, that wouldn’t really keep me away from the city itself, though I would likely avoid nightmare-inducing attractions. But my bucket list of places I want to visit tend to be more along the lines of Montana, Maine and Alaska. Not your typical tourist destinations.

        As for the house, I guess I spend too much time cloud gazing. But when I saw this, it reminded me of Donald Duck. A square one, but it was the way the brick looks under the windows that reminded me of a mouth…still does, actually. Then I thought, hmm. The roof could be the hat.

        Yes, I am weird. 🙂

  15. I have never been to New Orleans but I really want to go now! If for nothing else than to sit on one of those patios sipping a Hurricane and marveling at the world passing by. I enjoyed this, thanks!

  16. “And please don’t tell me you screamed out Forks without thinking” Hahahaha…best line I’ve read all day. This was a great post with so much history I didn’t know about. And now, I’m off to google Delphine Lalaurie….lol.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Hehehe – She was a very bad lady. Did you find her and get yourself an informative read Paige? The Sultan’s massacre was also very vivid in discription. It is now thought he was the brother of the true Sultan and he was hiding out in New Orleans. It didn’t end well.

  17. timlobrien says:

    I have only been to New Orleans one time and that was many, many years ago. Not much to remember, but there was a lot of drinking going on in the group I was with. Would love to go back for different reasons this time. James Lee Burke’s novels also makes Louisiana home. He can make the setting seem like a character in the book. Really makes you want to go and visit some of the spots he writes about.

    • Debra Kristi says:

      Yes, they make it easy to drink non-stop in the gas lamp district. It can be a serious swinging party. My first visit was in college the week prior to Mardi Gras so you can imagine. LOL But there is so much history and beauty in the architecture that even then it wasn’t lost on me. I hope you get to go back Tim and take it in with a different perspective.

  18. I’ve never been to New Orleans, but the pictures you posted look lovely, and if I ever go, I’ll definitely go on one of the tours you suggested. I love finding something unique like that in each city I visit.

  19. Fabio Bueno says:

    I’d love to go to New Orleans someday. You did an awesome job of making it come alive, Debra. I’m not into books about vampires, but I liked “Interview With The Vampire” a lot.

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