I took a ghost tour when we were in New Orleans. But I didn’t book a reservation with any of the tour companies. My dead ancestors guided me around.
You see, with my heart of hearts I believe that when I went looking for the ghosts of my ancestors in New Orleans, I found them. Or, rather, they found me. It’s the only way I can explain what happened.
Wayne and I didn’t have much time to spend in the city. We were only there overnight. Wayne and I didn’t quite know where to start roaming the morning we disembarked from our ship and stowed our bags at the hotel. Even for all of the research I’d done pre-trip, I had failed to do one thing: map out a plan of attack for the day we’d be spending in New Orleans.
The only thing I for sure knew I wanted to do/see was the thing we crossed off first: take a picture of the St. Louis Cathedral.
I wanted to do it for sentimental reasons involving a picture I have with my grandma and grandpa standing in front of it. (She grew up in the French Quarter. The photo I have is when they returned many years later after having moved away.)
So there we were, standing across from the St. Louis Cathedral near Cafe du Monde, looking cluelessly at each other. I’d taken my pictures. Now what? That’s when a ghostly whisper tickled my ear:
Find Marie Leveau’s grave…
It seemed sort of cheesy and, well, paranormal touristy. Didn’t all ghosts enthusiasts rush to see the Voodoo Queen’s resting place? I didn’t want to be so…normal.
But my gut told me to go. So I dragged Wayne back to the tourist information center and we got directions to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.
Even though Marie Leveau’s tomb is near the entrance, we walked the entire cemetery before we found it. (There were people cleaning hers. I thought it was a family tending to a family plot. I hadn’t wanted to bother them. But then we found out they were tending hers. That’s a post for another day, though.)
After our trip to the cemetery we went to grab lunch. (At Acme Oyster House, which was the site of a Man vs. Food challenge.) Next, we briefly stopped back by the hotel (which was right around the corner from the restaurant) and asked which direction we’d head to find the Dauphine Orleans hotel. (I’d almost booked us there. I was curious to see what we may have missed out on, but also because of it’s history as a bordello.)
Anyway, that’s when our ghost tour of New Orleans really began. I was suddenly very much aware Wayne and I were not alone. And it had nothing to do with the crowds of other tourists clogging the sidewalks.
I felt the presence of my ancestors. I felt them excitedly pulling me as they lead the way through the streets of their city on a hurried paranormal scavenger hunt of sorts.
They took us from haunted theaters to marketplaces, and past spooky stays and eerie eateries and pubs.
Curiously, I never did get to see the one place I initially set out to find: the Dauphine Orleans. Maybe my ancestors remembered when it was a place no respectable lady would purposely go and therefore did not help me find it.
However, they did lead me to two haunts which surprised me. Well, I shoud say my reaction to them was surprising.
Kind of like Marie Leveau’s grave, the LaLaurie Mansion comes up so often as being one of the most haunted, scariest places, that’s it’s lost some of its allure. I had no interest in looking for it, but my ancestor’s led me there anyway. Kind of straight there, which was weird.
I had a very strong reaction upon seeing it. I was first startled, then I wanted to cry. I felt such an overwhelming sadness. After I took some pics I just wanted to escape from it. I’ve never had a reaction like that to just seeing a place, without even stepping foot inside.
Like St. Louis Cemetery No 1., another place my ancestors seemed to want me to see also had to do with Marie Leveau. This time it was the shop named after her.
I would’ve been very upset if we got home, I started thinking about all the places we should’ve seen, and I remembered this one. My ancestors were watching out for my peace of mind when they guided me here. Perhaps it was some kind of connection with my great, great grandma who shares a resting place with the Voodoo Queen?