New Orleans is celebrating 300 this year, and what a past New Orleans has had during all those years. It was founded by a Frenchman, Robert Cavelier, in 1682. The Spanish ruled the city from 1763. The Great City burned down in 1788 on Good Friday. The Louisiana Purchase gave the Americans control in 1803. Its had a long and storied past. Privateers became pirates, more fires, freemen, segregation, Jazz, Mardi Gras, casinos, the endless party on Bourbon Street and of course Voodoo have made it a colorful city with a very colorful past.
One of the cities most famous inhabitants was Marie Laveau. Born in 1801 as a free woman in New Orleans. As a hairdresser to the rich and powerful in the city. She was also known as a healer and practiced Voodoo. Family members of her clients asked for many prayers and since she was able to assist them (maybe based on what she learned while doing her clients hair) she gained a reputation as a Voodoo queen.
Voodoo is big business in New Orleans and in the heart of the French Quarter you can take a self guided tour of the Voodoo Museum. Its a small museum with several rooms filled with Voodoo statues, artwork, sculptures and offerings, which I found more interesting than some of the entities. There are many deities you can ask for help if you leave a small token or offering.
Perhaps the reason why New Orleans is considered one of the most haunted cities in the US is because how the dead are treated to prepare them for the afterlife. Part of the haunted history of the city might have something to with the above ground cemeteries. Because city sits below sea level it became a necessity to bury the dead about ground in the many cemeteries thorough out the city.
I had some free time during my visit to the city and this trip and this time I didn’t want to miss out on a cemetery tour. How sad that due to vandalism to the mausoleums and a lot crime, you must go in a tour with a guide. Rest assured there are cameras everywhere. On my first visit to the city I didn’t have time go on the tour and didn’t want to miss it again. I braved August heat and humidity to go on the tour of St. louis Cemetery No. 1. I met up with the other participants and away we went. Our guide did tell us that is about 10 degrees hotter in the cemetery and she was’t kidding. There is so much history, many family crypts date back hundreds of years. The crypts can hold years of family members but if the family can’t maintain the crypt they are moved out and the crypt is sold and the new family moves in.
Marie Lavaeu is perhaps the most famous resident in the cemetery with Nicolas Cage’s Pyramid tomb coming in a close second,as yet unoccupied. As we walked the cemetery thelong storied history was obvious as many of the tombs were crumbling and there was plenty of decay ,but no bones in site, even for a cemetery.
Fires, wars, and hurricanes are all part of the history that make up the history of New Orleans and it’s not hard to see how this city has earned its haunted reputation.