It’s the Spookiest Time of the Year
The heat and humidity of summer is finally beginning to give way to the cooler, crisper air of fall. We get to dust off our skeletons, pumpkins and cauldrons; all while we get ready for the thrills and chills of the Halloween season. I in particular love to curl up with a bowl of popcorn and a scary movie. But sometimes I am interested in more interactive activities for Halloween. Haunted houses, corn mazes and the like are great activities to try but last year I found a new way to enjoy the spooky season. A haunted tour of one of my favorite cities.
New Orleans, Louisiana is just a short hop down the highway from me and it never fails to be a great experience whether on my own or with a group of friends. And for Halloween, it doesn’t fail to embrace its colorful history.
Take a Haunted Tour among the things that go bump in the night
New Orleans offers a variety of different ways to explore the city and its haunted history. Walking tours are in my humble opinion the best way to experience these places. Most of the hotels in the city center offer information on the various tours offered around the city. There are options for a Haunted Pub Crawl, Haunted Cemetery tours, Voodoo Tours, and Haunted Plantations Tours outside of the city proper.
If you are looking to sample a bit of all New Orleans has to offer you can try Ghosts of New Orleans: Self-Guided Haunted Walking Tour. With this tour you purchase your ticket, download the app, head to the appointed starting location and tap “Start Experience”. This particular tour begins at one of the most haunted locations in all of New Orleans, the LaLaurie Mansion and takes you through ten spooky stops before ending in a Jazz club that hides a Vampire Speak Easy for those that were able to find the password along the tour. This self guided tour is great for those that don’t know a lot about the spooky side of New Orleans by selecting great locations with just the right amount of colorful history to make a great Halloween experience and the app gives detailed information on each location along the way. The one drawback is that aside from the Jazz club at the end all of the locations are explored only from the outside.
If you want a bit more control over your spooky exploration of the Big Easy, try GPSMYCITY. This app gives you a similar experience but you can pick and choose your stops. Actually you can pick and choose your city too! GPSMYCITY has more than 1000 cities worldwide to choose from. So it is not just for a spooky New Orleans stroll. With GPSMYCITY, I can create my ideal haunted exploration in just a few easy steps. After selecting your city of choice, you start by selecting the places that interest you. Each location thumbnail includes a link to a description to give you an idea of what the site has to offer. You can choose up to 15 locations per walk.
For my walk I am going to pick Saint Louis Cemetery Number One. It is one of the two most famous cemeteries in the city. Saint Louis Cemetery Number One is the final resting place of renowned Voodoo Priestess Marie LaVeau. Due to a history of unwanted night time ceremonies and vandalism the cemetery closed is for solo ventures but you can plan to meet with a licensed tour guide if you want to enter the cemetery. Otherwise you have to be content to look at the above ground crypts and mausoleums from outside the cemetery gates. After the cemetery the next stop is Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar. Lafitte’s is located on Bourbon Street, has great drinks and a colorful history. And a pretty colorful present for that matter. Grab a Voodoo Daiquiri and soak up the atmosphere of the historic 1720s Creole cottage turned bar. While you are there, be sure to keep a keen eye out because you just might see the ghost of Jean Lafitte, the city’s most famous pirate who is said to still haunt the cottage. He has a tendency to keep a watchful eye on the bar patrons and if spotted will disappear into the shadows. After refreshments and (hopefully) a ghostly encounter, it is on to the Voodoo Museum. It’s a small museum but it is packed with relics and artifacts about New Orleans Voodoo. You can also have a psychic reading from a practicing priestess. Once you have explored the small museum it is over to the Old Absinthe House. Which is another of New Orleans’ haunted bars. It is said that many of its original patrons still frequented the bar from Jean Lafitte and his pirates, to Andrew Jackson, Marie Leveau and Benjamin Butler just to name a few. On any given night there are said to be multiple sightings of the dearly departed patrons. And last but not least I’ll finish out this spooky little stroll with a visit to the LaLaurie Mansion. Whether you are a history buff and acquainted with its sordid history of pain and murder or a horror fan and have seen the building on “American Horror Story” this a definite must for any spooky tour. Even though this location is not open to the public, there is just something supremely eerie about standing in a darkened street watching shadows play on the building’s facade.