Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Haunted New Orleans

Having done the Cemetery Tour in 2006, we opted to take a ghost tour on this trip. The Man did a lot of research before we left Alberta and he picked the company Haunted History Tours because of the number of positive comments he had read about the company. While I sat and sipped my cappuccino, he made the online booking.

We arrived at Rev. Zombies Voodoo Shop on Peter St. at 8 pm. The night was warm with an almost cloying feel to it and the feel of the impending fog just rolling in. A small crowd was gathering outside as we walked up and someone happily slapped a Haunted History Tour sticker on our shirt. We had opted for the New Orleans Ghost Tour. It was a walking tour of the French Quarter and its ghosts.

We had a quick peak around the voodoo shop as we waited for the tour to begin. In the backroom someone was getting a reading while we peered at masks and images that were a bit disturbing but interesting.

Back outside people tittered and looked nervous. Were we going to be running into ghosts? Would someone jump out of a darkened alley and yell boo? No one knew what to expect and a strange current was running through the crowd. Some of them fortified their nerves with a drink while they waited – alcohol in anything but a glass container is allowed on the streets of the French Quarter.

Suddenly our tour guide was among us and directing us to follow him! With tentative glances at one another we launched into our stride and the crowd of about 30 people trooped after him. We gathered under a balcony while our guide stood on the street and introduced himself. Unfortunately I forget his name but he left quite an impression. He told us he was a licensed tour guide and that he had done quite a bit of reading about ghosts and vampires in New Orleans. He admitted his skepticism on a few accounts – actually throwing some out of the window – but he impressed on us his absolute belief in others.

He also asked us not to put our feet up on the old buildings and scuff them up. It was a very nice way to ask us to respect the Vieux Carre. The bricks of the buildings are very soft and can be easily gouged with a finger. We heard this on another tour we took and immediately a man tried to see what damage he could do. We were disgusted – but more on that later.

Our guide had us captivated from the first story of the bachelor spikes right to the last one of the Capuchin Monk named Pere Dagobert. When he told us the story of the LaLaurie Mansion the whole crowd held its breath. Considered the most haunted building in New Orleans it is now owned by Nicholas Cage.

Our guide was nothing but fantastic. He put on such a performance for us that not only was it spooky but it was incredibly entertaining. I highly recommend this company for any ghost tours anyone wants to take in New Orleans. On our next visit we will be taking the ghost tour of the Garden District. I can hardly wait!

My only complaint was the smoking. Most of you have read my rants on smoking and cancer. Having already done my journey with cancer and come out the other side – I am totally against smoking.

Our guide smoked. He didn’t smoke while he talked to us but he did smoke while we were walking from one haunted site to the next (which is an odd thing to say because reports say that every building in the French Quarter is haunted). I felt that because he smoked the crowd then felt that they could smoke as well. When one girl lit up right beside me and blew the smoke in my direction – I almost gagged right then and there. And it made me cranky. The total lack of respect for nonsmokers amazed me. We had to move to the back of the crowd to get out of the smoke and then we missed a lot of what was being said.

I recently wrote to Haunted History Tours and voiced my complaint. My one and only complaint. I was surprised when I received an email back immediately from the owner Sidney Smith. He told me he would be talking to his guides about this. I was very pleased with that. His words “we take everything to heart” said it all!

By the time the tour ended the fog was rolling in once again. Holding hands we walked through the cobbled streets of the French Quarter looking for our own ghosts. Once in a while I could feel the goose bumps suddenly appear on my skin and we would glance at each other and smile and move on.

Haunted History Tours – an experience that is well worth taking. You never know – your hotel room might be on their tour!


Akelamalu said...

That sounds so exciting I would just love to do that tour!

Thalia's Child said...

Aims - I am absolutely loving this travelogue. I alternate between jealous and enthralled, but seriously? It's awesome.

Sounds like the tour was fantastic.

Dr.John said...

When it comes to ghost tours it's atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere and location, location, location. Some buildings just feel haunted and a little fog doesn't hurt either.
Thank you for sharing this adventure. With my lungs there is no way I could go on a tour where almost everybody smoked.

Leatherdykeuk said...

What a fabulous write-up, and I followed all the links. Thanks.

rosiero said...

So annoying when other people spoil it for you. Being married to a committed smoker, I sympathise!

Maggie May said...

Very spooky!
I should think the smoke would put off a sighting, though! How inconsiderate.
I love the sound of the French Quarter!

KatduGers said...

It sounds fantastic. I've done a couple of the tours in Edinburgh, and they do send shivers down your spine - even if you're a confirmed cynic like me!!

Brett said...

Great post and links, i wont sleep now.

Anonymous said...

I think a trip to NO is in order at some stage in my life.

Yes, definitely agree with you on the smoking, disgusting habit and esp when poluting someone's air.

Good on you for complaining.
CJ xx

lisaschaos said...

Sounds like a tour I want to take! I would love to get down there to tour the cemeteries. :) Why not search for ghosts while I'm there.

Daryl said...

I did this tour on my first trip to NO and it was worth the time and $$ .. you forgot the bar break where you can get a drink or use the loo ... I sent you a photo via email ..

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Well I don't believe in ghostie beggars as we called them in Glasgow when I was growing up so I woulodn't do the tour but the French quarter is just up my street. Great story.

Anonymous said...

I am so envious! I am going to take a tour of The Myrtle's Plantation someday.
How nice that you were taken seriously about your complaints! I feel the same way..I chose NOT to smoke and I resent the fact that so many smokers are not respectful enough to keep it to themselves! I am so tired of smelling like an ashtray when I don't even allow it in house..or anywhere near me...

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful thing to do. My daughter did a ghost tour of York and loved it.

Yes people smoking in a crowd is one of my pet peeves too. In the UK you aren't allowed to smoke inside a public building like a pub or shop, so they stand outside right by the door so often you have to hold your breath and hope it is enough to last you until you get inside. Like running a gauntlet. Often I keep walking instead of going in to avoid the smoke.

bermudabluez said...

Excellent post Aims!! I would love to do the ghost tour someday!! The Garden District one sounds fun too. In answer to your question about the cement pads on the site....we LOVE them!!! Keeps everything so much cleaner...especially with 12 paws coming in and out along with our feet!!

bermudabluez said...

Oh! The cement pads also make a huge difference in leveling!! We only had to pull in to the site and boom....we were level....no blocks needed!!

aims said...

I have forwarded on everyone's comments to the owner of Haunted History Tours - Sidney Smith. I'm sure he will be interested in them!

Salute said...

Sounds like an adventure and exciting tour.

david mcmahon said...

Here's a question for you, O Gifted One .....

Do voodoo dolls ever suffer from pins and needles?

I'm just sayin' .......

david mcmahon said...

In reply to your question - the objects in my photos are oil pastel crayons.

BT said...

Hi Aims, I'd lost the link to your blog and now it is rightfully reinstated. What a spooky tour, it sounded great fun, but I would have been just as cross about the smokers. I hate it.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Came over from David to congratulate you on POTD. Enjoyed the post very much but sorry nothing materialised before your eyes. To have a ghost of a chance you could have 'smoked them out'. I'll drop by again soon. Eddie

Janie said...

I love New Orleans, but I've never done this tour. It's now on my list! Great post.

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

I have been catching up with your travels, and they sound really great. You certainly did take in all the sights and sounds. The only part I wouldn't have liked is the smoking - as you didn't. Quite right to say something, I think.
M xx

Cheffie-Mom said...

What an exciting tour! Thank you for sharing. Congrats on the POTD mention from authorblog.

San said...

Now I want to visit New Orleans and take a haunted tour. Minus the cigarette smoke. I'm glad the company got back to you on that. Taking things to heart--a good policy.

Sam said...

I so want to go there! The company should pay you commission for attracting customers!

I'm with you about smoking - it was banned in all buildings here in UK a few years ago so I can enjoy a drink now without risking an asthma attack!

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