To ring in the new year in proper Jamie Davis fashion, Bob and I took off for Louisiana to investigate the famous Myrtles Plantation for our haunted hotel book. But first, I had to see New Orleans.
I went straight to the Garden District. I wanted to walk around and take in all the historic homes on foot. We had a completely random and fantastic lunch at Magazine Po-boy Shop. Muffaletta salad and Fried Shrimp Po-boys – tastes like happy. Café Au Lait purchased at a shop across from Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 so I could keep up the pace while strolling through one of the many cities of the dead. My phone went from 68% to being completely drained and turning off the instant I crossed through the entrance gates, by the way.
Once we began to get closer to our car, I reflected back on our walk through the Garden District. I told Bob it was like a snake wrapped up in baby’s clothes, hiding in a bassinet. That was my initial gut statement of the place. I thought it was beautiful, but I felt something lurking underneath, something that did not feel at all welcoming to me.
Even while shopping on Magazine Street, and going in and out of antique stores and galleries, and even sampling some gourmet chocolates (wedding cake truffle?), something was off.
By the time we walked into the Cole Pratt Gallery, and I laid my eyes upon an abstract painting by Mike Williams, I had been completely infected by the atmosphere. At first glance, the painting appeared to be a New Orleans swamp, with ruins of an old plantation rising out of it. We could make out the image of a waterfall, and a woman raising her hands up in the air. Bob saw all of that in the painting too. Then it got a little eerie. I began seeing some other images in the painting. A grim reaper holding a scythe. The devil himself. I should have kept that one to myself, or at least not said it within the range of the gallery owner. She immediately took a step back and gave me the eye. I recovered by smiling and quickly saying: “Look, there’s a kitty.”
Luckily, the New Orleans Museum of Art was open late that night, and we got to see some more art, this time without someone trying to sell us something (I’m not saying anything about Cole Pratt, that place was lovely. I’m just saying it gets exhausting interacting while shopping in general).
New Orleans is the only town I have ever been to where I’ve seen a vampire, a werewolf, and a zombie all on the same day.
The day began with us setting out from The Dauphine Orleans over to Decatur Street for some of Café du Monde’s famous coffee and beignets. It was probably about 8:30 a.m., and the French Quarter was still asleep. I loved exploring the city in the morning when it felt as though it was our own. It started getting crowded again though, once we made our way to the Café. We got our goods to go and set up shop on a bench right in front of the Mighty Mississippi. This is where the vampire comes in. There was (an assumingly) innocent man who was also relaxing on a bench near ours. Out of nowhere, the smallest and shortest vampire I have ever seen walked up in broad daylight out of nowhere and lured this man off the bench. The vampire was white as a sheet as you would expect, but he had also dyed his hair yellow and it was cropped very much in the style of a young Mr. Mathers. He appeared to me to be of Asian descent, and he wore a very smart and expensive looking 3/4 length black velvet coat. The innocent man followed a few feet behind the vampire, as he walked in his hypnotic state to his destiny.
Royal Street is a real riot. I saw some Picasso’s, Miro’s, a Dali, and some Chagall’s, plus an assortment of mysterious long lost family heirlooms. I also saw a real life transformer, a wedding parade, and a werewolf playing the violin. Sadly, I was not quick enough to capture the werewolf.
I was forewarned by a man trying to sell us a bus tour. He told me “Be careful out there. This city is the murder capital of the world. People look the same out here, but they’re not.” Within a few short hours, we met the zombie when fate crossed our paths upon exiting one of the galleries. I thought he was cursing and following some other tourist in front of us, but I think he was stuck on us the whole entire time. He was having a heated debate with someone we could not see. We dipped down a side street beside the Cathedral to avoid him. He followed just the same, but passed us by. He got about 50 yards ahead of us, when he suddenly turned around and locked eyes with me. His warning? “You staring, you’re next.” It was time to check in for the night. The Bourbon Orleans awaited us this time, and we were craving a quiet night in.
The next day would take us to St. Francisville, to the Myrtles Plantation, where we would be the only guests for the night. I could not know it at the time, but things were about to get even weirder.
As always, our travels are indexed inside our “Play” Journal, by Stealth Journals. A sample entry page is pictured below: