St. Elizabeth’s Orphanage. Image Credit: nola.com
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New Orleans native Anne Rice has left her mark upon New Orleans culture, almost shifting the attraction of the city to that of a darkened and romanticized city existing within the pages of her books since 1976. Her indelible impression upon New Orleans cannot be ignored, from the pages of her books to the scenes of major motion pictures, as evidence remains of her vampire and witch world on the streets of a city that time forgot. Here is a list of fan-favorite landmarks from the Anne Rice books and movies that were set and filmed in the city she so dearly loved.
5. Oak Alley Plantation & Destrehan Plantation
Both the Oak Alley and Destrehan plantations appear in the 1995 film “Interview With The Vampire”. Interior shooting was done inside the Destrehan plantation, and exterior shots are from Oak Alley. While both plantations are nearly an hour or more outside of New Orleans, Anne Rice made no specific name for the plantation in her books.
Louis (Brad Pitt’s character in the film) is the protagonist of the story and, in fact, THE vampire granting the interview in the book. He started out his mortal life as a plantation owner who had only recently dealt with the loss of his wife and family. The Destrehan plantation was the site of an actual slave uprising — the German Coast Uprising of 1811 — which Anne Rice makes a nod to, supposing that the plantation masters might have been creatures of the night.
4. The French Quarter
Madame John’s Legacy, which is a historic home and museum, is featured in the film “Interview With The Vampire”. The shooting location at 632 Dumaine is a sight to behold as fans of the movie will note the scene where coffins are being carried outside, with a voice-over from Brad Pitt describing the amount of death in the city brought on by Lestat and Claudia, the child vampire prodigy. Claudia also kills for a doll at the site of Boyer Antiques Doll and Toy Museum at 241 Chartres Street.
The Presbytere in Jackson Square was where Claudia ensnared a wealthy French woman into believing that she was an orphan and then fed upon her. In the book, The Tale Of The Body Thief, Lestat visits Café Du Monde on Decatur and meets the protagonist of the novel in Jackson Square. Various locations of the French Quarter are mentioned in the Mayfair Witches novels by Anne Rice, The Witching Hour and Lasher, including Café Du Monde, Court Of Two Sisters and Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street.
3. The Garden District, 1239 First Street
One of a few homes that Anne Rice lived in and owned in New Orleans. This is also considered by fans to be “The Mayfair Witch House”, as it was the inspiration for a location in The Witching Hour, Taltos and Lasher novels. Built in 1857, the added swimming pool is the site that fans of the books will recall being the location where Michael Curry was found dead floating in the pool on Christmas Day in the story’s 1989 setting. Known for its double gallery, the home was purchased by Anne and her husband in 1989 and remained her home until 2004.
2. Lafayette Cemetery No. 1: “Lestat’s Tomb”
A gothic architectural marvel in the cemetery now closed to the public, Anne Rice was inspired by the actual tomb and housed in it the waiting vampire to be restored to his afterlife of the undead in the book The Vampire Lestat and the film version of The Queen Of The Damned. The tomb was the ideal tomb for her lead character, Lestat De Lioncourt. Anne Rice was familiar with said tomb from her childhood days of exploring the old Lafayette Cemetery Number One on Washington, just across the street from Commander’s Palace, which was featured in Rice’s Mayfair Witches books as the favorite restaurant of the Mayfair family. These locations mark a line where the world of New Orleans vampires and the world of New Orleans witches come closest to one another in The Anne Rice Universe.
1. St. Elizabeth’s Orphanage Asylum, 1314 Napoleon
The last known New Orleans home of the author. Once asylum, once orphanage, and one-time tourist attraction and museum for diehard Anne Rice fans. According to the official website of Anne Rice, St. Elizabeth’s is a three story red brick 19th-century building, encompassing some 47,000 square feet. The property was restored by Anne Rice, who hosted many vampire balls and tourists before it became developed into what is now luxury condominiums.
Many of these locations can be seen on our walking tours of the French Quarter and Garden District via New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours. While we also offer Plantation tours for a more historical perspective, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Rice family for the recent passing of The Vampire Queen of New Orleans.