Category Archives: Travel & Other Adventures

Con Men and Heart Break in NOLA

Another Tale of New Orleans

Desperation swims at people like waves. If you push too hard against something it typically makes it float away. This was part of a discussion I had with a young man named Nate I met today walking through the French Quarter.  After lunch with him I walked with him to my Saints and Sinners Tour. Which was a relief since the tour started from an area I didn’t know. He was nice company but he got too clingy and seemed to want a pretty deep connection for someone I just met.

My tour was cool I got to try absinthe for the first time. It tastes like black jelly beans or liquorish. And makes you feel a little relaxed like you are almost floating.

I went to meet Nate at Cafe Dumond at 3:30 pm for beignets against my better judgment, where he tried to get me to invest in his next movie project.  I told him I don’t give men money which startled him, that a single woman from San Francisco wasn’t an easy mark. When he went to the men’s room I jetted out of there and went back to the hotel to jump in the pool.

I had a nice dinner at Dicky Brennan’s restaurant called Tableau before my next tour, a haunted, vampire, voodoo, witch combo. The tour guide was very good but also a bit upset, he told us his girlfriend of 25 years had left him a month ago. Bad relationships seemed to be the theme of the day.

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Séance Rooms and Vampires

Day 5 New Orleans June 2015

Today, I followed the instructions of one of the locals I met yesterday and I went to Murial’s and had a light lunch then in the middle of lunch I asked about the Seance Lounge which most people don’t know about. After I was done eating the waiter led me upstairs and I got to see the outer and inner seance rooms. The inner seance room even had  two sarcophagus inside. Both rooms were decorated in 1920s decor and red light which many mediums use to develop physical phenomena mediumship.

I also got to see their upstairs dining rooms and go out on the balcony. It was pretty cool, especially since these private rooms seem to be well-kept secret here, even though they do talk about it on their website, no one on any of the haunted history tours have ever mentioned this. The only guy working at my hotel who knew about it used to be a bartender there. Even he seemed surprised that I was given access. He said normally that’s a place for private parties.

Next I headed to the Pharmacy Museum where in the 1820s a Dr. Dupas experimented on people trying to cure yellow fever. He killed a lot of people and later I read that he stacked some of the bodies in the lovely courtyard I took some pictures in. What a town!

Later on when I went back to the Boutique Du Vampyre shop for my tarot reading and Marita the owner told me Jonathan who is the best tour guide for the Vampire Tour is back from vacation.  I immediately booked the tour. I saw him last year and he was fantastic. I had already seen another vampire tour on this trip and it was pretty good, but after seeing him, no one can really compare. It was like having a movie star do a role meant for Meryl Streep. I went back for Meryl Streep and was not disappointed.

Napoleon and The Amazing Golden Coconut

Day 4 New Orleans June 2015

This morning I took a city tour where I got to see St. Louis Cemetery number 3, Lake Ponchitran which was beautiful and City Park. These were all places I didn’t get to see last time I was here. After the tour I ate at Napoleon House built in 1797. Napoleon was supposed to escape exile here in the 1820s but of course that didn’t happen. On one of the ghost tours I went on they talked about how the ghost of Napolean often shows up at dinner parties there.

After lunch I headed back to the hotel to get in the pool. It was really hot today. I almost didn’t go to the bar tour I  Had at 4pm but I’m glad I did, Joe our tour guide was excellent. He’s a local authority on cocktail and bar history he has even been on Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain on CNN. He told us a lot of great stories on the local places in NOLA.

The first bar he took us to was Tujagues established in 1856. It’s the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans. And its still a standing bar 200 years later. I had the best Pimms Cup there.

Joe next took us to Pirate’s Alley right next to St. Louis Cathedral. Their signature drink is 120 proof Absinthe from France by a company called Lucid. I had that the other day on another tour. Next we were onto the Court of Two Sisters a very popular restaurant and bar that has the only death mask of President Andrew Jackson in the world on the wall. One of their signature drinks, is the Golden Coconut which reminded me of a White Russian but seemed lighter. It felt like I was drinking a cloud. It was one of the best drinks I’ve ever had anywhere.

The last place we visited was Antoine’s where Joe got us access to some of the private dining rooms, like the room President Clinton dined in. Joe was the best tour guide, everybody knows him so we got easy access everywhere we went.

After the tour I walked into the Boutique Du  Vampyre in the French Quarter. And met the owner Marita who is going give me a Tarot reading tomorrow.  It is such a nice little shop with all things vampire.

Swamp Crack and Butchers – Day 3 New Orleans

Day 3 New Orleans June 2015

While I was waiting for the tour van to pick me up, one of the locals told me I could go on their porch if it started to rain. The locals treat the tourists very well here.

Did the swamp tour, got to see alligators up close because the tour guide throws marshmallows at them. They call the marshmallows, “Swamp Crack.” I also got to hold a baby alligator which was horrifying, but what are vacations for? It actually felt really smooth. It acted cute like a puppy which surprised me.

I liked how fast the boat swerved through the swampy waters. Next time I will take the smaller boat so I will get hit by the Southern air even harder.

When I got back to the Quarter I did some souvenir shopping, ate lunch and went to Cafe Dumond for the beignets. Then headed back to hotel to rest up before the Ghost and Vampire Tour at the Voodoo Lounge, which is a local dive bar.

This tour had some stories I had not heard before about more local residences where horrific murders took place. I learned two things on this tour, do a thorough history on whatever house I ever buy in NOLA to make sure no one was murdered there and never date a butcher who has a huge wooden trunk. We were told two stories of butchers who killed women on the same street and hid them in trunks.

98 Degrees and Still Twerking

Day 1 New Orleans June 2015

My first day of my New Orleans trip, went well. I lounged by the pool in the morning. Then went into the Quarter where I saw two jazz bands one on each corner trying to out do each other at Jackson Square. One of them was playing up on the balcony of Dickey Brennans’s Tableau Restaurant. As I walked past them I encountered a trio of mule drawn carriages full of tourists reveling in tales of the French Quarter. I found a restaurant New Orleans Creole Cookery which had good food and live music inside and a beautiful courtyard I had my picture taken in.

Next I grabbed a cab to Magazine Street to check out all the trendy shops, after a while I cabbed it to the Riverfront Outlet Mall near Harrah’s Casino. I got some good stuff there.  Apparently it was 98 degrees today which oddly didn’t bother me. I know it was in the 90s because a few locals told me so and that it was killing them. Don’t know why I was strangely immune to the heat  today.

I went to dinner at a restaurant called The Corner Oyster House as I was sitting at the window, a tour bus drove by with the doors open where a woman with a nice sized booty twerked for all of Decatur Street.

 

You Can Have That Daiquiri To Go While You Go Cemetery Hopping

Day 5 New Orleans June 2014

I just ordered a strawberry daiquiri at Landry’s and the bartender asked me is that for here or to go? That’s New Orleans, one of the few places in the country where you can walk in the street with an open alcoholic beverage as long as it’s in a plastic or paper container no glass.

This morning I finally took the trolley car all the way down Canal Street and back. It ended at three cemeteries, Cypress Grove, Greenwood and the Masonic Cemetery which I am kicking myself for not going through.

After my graveyard excursion I headed to Royal Street and Bienville to one of the only bank owned ATMs in the whole French Quarter, even the locals shake their heads over it.

Then I took a leisurely walk through the art and antique district of Royal Street, finally took a peek inside St. Louis Cathedral, which seems to have a perpetual mass that is constantly interrupted by the curious tourists.

There were a group of children, elementary to middle school age trying to pray and they were obviously annoyed by the constant opening and closing of the front doors to the Cathedral. It was actually refreshing to see young kids so into their faith, and I think it was the first time I have ever seen a look of disdain on the face of a six-year-old.

Next I had lunch at my favorite lunch spot, the Corner, their pizza is amazing as is the service. On my way back to my hotel I had a foot massage, which I think helped a great deal, when I tried to tip the Asian immigrant gentlemen who rubbed my feet for ten minutes he didn’t know what to do with the extra money and just put it in the cash register. I thought to myself I hope this guy is getting paid.

I was able to walk back to my hotel pain-free, took a swim and fell asleep in one of the lawn chairs.

White Powder, Bricks and Nicholas Cage Day 3 NOLA

Third day in New Orleans  1st trip June 2014

This morning I went on the Cemetery Tour of the oldest cemetery in New Orleans,  Louis no. 1.  I got to see up close the graves of Marie Laveau the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans and the actor Nicholas Cage. Yes Nicholas is still alive but he purchased his grave already and since he went bankrupt they say it is now the only property he owns in NOLA as they call it.

Next I headed to the Cafe Dumond and finally had those amazing beignets. It was amusing looking around the cafe at everyone from every walk of life covered in the thick white powdery sugar they smother these fabulous doughnuts in.

From there I went to the National World War II museum, where I sat through an emotionally overwhelming interactive film narrated by Tom Hanks. The special effects were beyond 3D, it must have been 4D if that exists. At one point it actually snowed real snow on us all in the theater.

After that I started exploring the museum and noticed the brick floor right away. It had the names and military titles of many that have served. I inquired about how to get my grandfather on one of those bricks, he served in the South Pacific. Apparently you can donate as little at $200 to make it happen on the sidewalk outside  On Magazine Street and $500 for the floor on the inside of the museum. So I will find out his rank, title etc. and handle that when I get home.

As I was starting to leave it began to pour a beautiful cooling rain, which was much-needed. I had a good dinner at Cafe Maximo on Ducater near the French Market. I am debating getting more beignets, is that wrong to want more world-famous French Doughnuts, it feels oh so right!

Day 2 New Orleans Adventure, The LaLaurie Mansion and why is Nicholas Cage a part of every tour I go on?

Day 2 New Orleans June 2014

This morning I went on the Garden District tour where my group saw the homes of Sondra Bullock, John Goodman, former homes of Anne Rice and Nicholas Cage, who already purchased his burial plot in NOLA and a large pyramid-shaped grave at St Louis Cemetery no. 1.  One of my tour guides the day before joked that the grave is the only real estate Cage still owns in New Orleans. Ouch!

My next excursion was to Mardi Gras World where they build and design a large number of the floats in the multiple Mardi Gras parades. Apparently there are several groups or krewes “crews” as they call them here that put on parades and parties, such as Rex the King, Zulu and Orpheus. It was interesting to learn so much about what is behind one of the biggest parties in the world.

After a quick dip in the hotel pool I headed to the Haunted History Tour in the French Quarter.  The tour once again stopped at Lafitte’s Black Smith shop, one of the oldest bars in America for drinks, they like to keep the tourists liquered up. Get a “Hurricane” if you stop by there.

The ghost stories were interesting but nothing exceptional, until we got to the LaLaurie Mansion at 1140 Royal Street. I knew of the horror that occurred there since I had watched Coven on FX this past year where Kathy Bates did a great job, playing the evil Delphine LaLaurie who tortured her slaves in the attic of the mansion while sneaking out of her famous society dinner parties.

I thought the show over exaggerated for gruesome effect and ratings until our tour guide told us the true story of Madame LaLaurie which was in some cases more ghastly than what the show even portrayed. The creepiest part is that her and her husband Dr. Leonard Louis Nicholas LaLaurie escaped and were never found! Many others have tried to own the property and left claiming it was haunted by the poor tortured souls who perished there. Even Nicholas Cage owned the house for a time but lost it to foreclosure in 2009. Many say that many of the owners had fallen into great misfortunes, how ironic that Cage went bankrupt while owning it.

The tour ended in the back of St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square. We were all a bit startled and amused by the huge shadow of Jesus bigger than King Kong reflecting on the building from the small statue in the courtyard.  I headed back down Pirates Alley which is also haunted and ended up with a weird photo probably of a ghost pirate that I cannot explain on my camera. I think I will tell people it’s Nicholas Cage, since so far he has been mentioned in every tour I have been on.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1 of New Orleans Adventure: I cannot keep my pants on and I met a psychic!

Day 1 New Orleans June 2014

My day started off with a beautiful walk down Esplanade Avenue to the French Market area where I had breakfast. Next I rush off to hit my 10am tour of the French Quarter, which I booked two months ago. The lady at the Blue Line Lighthouse told me she couldn’t find my reservation because the tour was cancelled since I was the only one who booked it. And I need to call Viator to get a refund.  Thanks Blue Line and Viator for not notifying me of the cancelled tour!

So I head to the Hop on Hop Off Tour Instead, I booked that all week, it stops at all major attractions for $39 for the whole week. This tour was fabulous. The tour guide was a native who knew everything about the city.

After that awesome ninety minutes, I am back in the French Quarter sweating my ass off, trying to keep my jean shorts from falling off.  I think they are so God awful low rise  type. They just wouldn’t stay on my hips, of course I had no belts with me.

Next I had my fortune read by a “psychic” at Jackson Square right outside the St. Louis Cathedral. She told me how stressed out I am all the time, I need to take better care of myself and I am afraid to have a relationship and this is why I am still single. She was correct on all counts so I got my $40 bucks worth.  Then she tried to convince me I needed to have my aura cleansed, that cost extra of course. I took a pass on that one, the psychics in San Francisco play the same game. It often shocks me that they do not get that I will not fall for that nonsense, since I am always upfront about the fact that I myself am I medium!

I took the long steamy walk back to my hotel holding up my shorts the whole way. I took the psychics advice, decided to relax and jumped into the pool.  Then headed back to the Quarter to Landrys where I had an awesome shrimp platter.  After this I was off to the Vampire Tour which I called to confirm was actually happening. The Vampire Tour was amazing. I will discuss that more in a future post.
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What the Hell is in the Attic at Ursuline Convent?

Day 1 New Orleans June 2014

My first night in New Orleans I took the Vampire Tour, since I mainly write about vampires I thought it would be interesting to hear the stories they tell in NOLA. Our  hot male tour guide told the most fascinating story about the Ursuline Convent on Chartres and Ursuline Streets built in 1752. Today, it houses the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Anyway the real story is about what the hell they keep in that attic which has five windows covered by wooden shutters. It all started with what they call the “casket girls” young women whose families were tricked into sending their daughters to New Orleans by a propaganda campaign claiming  wealthy husbands awaited in this new, safe, just like Paris colony.  These women mainly ended up in prostitution or were assaulted by the men who were not wealthy landowners, but criminals released from prison in France to come and build the colony on top of a swamp. Well one of the ships bringing these women got diverted and landed in Mobile, Alabama.  But some of their crates that looked like caskets landed at New Orleans.

When the men waiting for wives saw the caskets they started a riot, and began beating up the priests.  The men thought that  the Church had brought vampires to kill them. Other legends say that some of the women did arrive but they looked so bad after the five month journey that the men thought they were vampires or brought vampires in their caskets. Anyway one of the head priests calmed down the men by placing the caskets on the third floor attic at Ursuline Convent.

After this the shutters were put on. People claim that the screws that hold the closed shutters must be blessed by the Pope. And that sometimes at night the shutters which are closed all day, open so the vampires can come out. Most of the locals believe there is some kind of evil in that attic. To this day locals do not know what is really in the attic, as the archdiocese will not allow anyone into the attic. However a few years back the caskets were opened and found to be empty, which did not quell anyone’s curiosity.

Our guide said that 13 days before Katrina he was doing a tour and saw that one of the shutters had fallen off. What was so weird was that a strobe light was hitting the area where the shutter fell off. All he could see inside was black as if the darkness in the room stopped the light! He believes some kind of evil or darkness escaped that night.