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Best known for its food, music and Mardi Gras festival, New Orleans never disappoints tourists traveling from all over the world. Vieux Carre, better known as the French Quarter, was the original New Orleans and as the population expanded over time, the residents still held tight to the traditions of the original French, Spanish and Africans who had settled and worked the land before them. Over the years, the French Quarter has become the perfect backdrop for all things spooky in pop-culture. Today, travelers seeking a supernatural experience flock to the French Quarter for its unique attractions and mysticism every year. If you find yourself among them you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you left without doing at least one of these 3 things.
As the result of the African diaspora, Voodoo has been a large part of Louisiana’s culture. Voodoo shops and practitioners can be found all over the French Quarter and offer everything from readings to voodoo dolls. Although Hollywood has presented the religion as a sort of dark magic, the members of the voodoo community in New Orleans will disprove that within moments, reminding you that it is a religion rooted in positive energy and ancestral worship.
Its impossible to talk about New Orleans Voodoo without mentioning the legendary Voodoo Queen Marie Leveau. Marie was a free black woman and well known voodoo practitioner. Throughout her lifetime she provided notable community service such as nursing yellow fever patients, praying with condemned prisoners in their final hours, even providing legal advice. People from all over would come to her and seek her help and guidnce, even after her death in 1881. Today, an altar for her can be found in a number of voodoo shops and her picture hung in museums. Tobacco, bottles of rum and coins surround her tomb located in the St. Louis Cemetery No 1.
In the early 21st century, Voodoo became a major part of the tourist attractions in New Orleans. While you can find Voodoo shops selling charms, gris-gris, candles, and powders all over the quarter, these shops almost always offer spiritual readings from a voodoo practitioner as well. Voodoo practitioners and spiritual mediums can also be found along the streets of Jackson Square. If you’re interested in learning more about the religion, you should definitely stop by the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum located at 724 Dumaine St.
While in the French Quarter, do yourself a favor and toss your reservations aside. Check out the shops and speak to the practitioners. You never know what you’ll discover.
Travel Back to the Golden Years
From 1810 to the 1840’s, New Orleans is referred to as the “the golden years” of New Orleans. Homes constructed in the French Quarter during this time became a symbol of affluence, showcasing a family’s wealth and status. The Herman-Grimma House, Gallier House and 1850 House have all been restored to reflect the history of New Orleans prominent families. The antebellum houses are decorated with thousands of items including paintings, furniture, and other artifacts that are either original to the houses or representative of the period.
Take a flash back into time and walk through any of these historic houses to experience what it was like to live in during the most prosperous period in New Orleans’ history, including the lives of the slaves who both lived and worked in the houses.
New Orleans is believed to be the most haunted city in the United States, in fact, it is said that the souls of the cities long gone refuse to rest. Since there is no solid ground to hold them, the ghosts of the cities past roam the alleys and halls of the centuries old buildings along side of today’s tourists and locals. If you’re in the mood for a good spooking, there are plenty of haunted pubs and hotels you can slip into for a drink and a good ol’ fashioned ghost sighting. One of the oldest and most haunted pubs in the French Quarter is Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop and is said to be haunted by a number of ghosts, including Lafitte himself. From yellow fever victims to an attic filled with the souls of tortured slaves, traces of the city’s dark past can be uncovered during an easy stroll through the quarter. Book a tour to find out more about the known haunted locations or simply saunter through St Louis Cemetery No 1 to learn about the cities “other” residents.
If you are interested in reading more about our New Orleans trip, check out our other post “ Your Guide to a Desperately Needed Momcation.” Don’t forget to pin, share this post and subscribe to our page for updates and tips.