Last year New Orleans celebrated its Tri-Centennial. After 300 years had passed, this city has had its share of ghosts and witches to now be called, “the most haunted city in America.” These haunted tales have been passed along for generations and always seem to resurface around Halloween.
Like the infamous tale is of Madame Delphine LaLaurie, or the tragic story of Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan, and what other city in America has the First Lady of Vodoo – Marie Laveau!
I live near some of the older cemeteries in the city and often marvel at the beauty, peace and tranquility of these hallowed grounds. After researching history about these cemeteries, I came across an article about, “The Feast of All Souls,” or “All Souls’ Day.” In the early history of the city, this day was dedicated to celebrating the lives of family and friends who had passed-on. The day was spent in the cemeteries – cleaning tombs, manicuring lawns and placing flowers. The respect for those who passed is still apparent by the care of family tombs that now date back several centuries.
On a larger scale, Halloween takes on a more festive feel, similar to Mardi Gras Day. Frenchmen Street in the Marigny neighborhood is alive with spooky costume clad revelers as music blasts out from Jazz clubs and bars. A week earlier to get the haunted season rolling, the Krewe of Boo (a family friendly event) parades through the French Quarter and the CBD before ending in the Warehouse District (October 19th). A week later, Vodoo Fest is held (October 25th to 27th) in City Park, just to the south of Scout Island Scream Park that operates throughout the month until ending on November 2nd.
Getting back to our haunted past is like most things in New Orleans – a time to be festive and have fun! To learn more about the city’s haunted past, try a Ghost Tour with Legendary Walking Tours. Neworleanslegendarywalkingtours.com or call 504.503.0199. It will put all this haunted history into perspective with New Orleans’ Joie de Vivre.
– Peter A. Boese