Halloween in New Orleans Louisiana
When we think of Halloween we normally think along the lines of children tricks or treats. But the origins of Halloween are much older- a festival celebrating the border between the world of the living and the dead. There is no better place to celebrate this than New Orleans! Whether it’s swapping stories about girls freezing to death while waiting for their masters to fall in love with them, a walk through New Orleans’s many cemeteries with their mausoleums and broken statues, or a costume ball to Celebrate the Voodoo Queen, New Orleans is a city full of ghost stories and voodoo culture. And just the perfect place for the Halloween season.
Founded in 1718, New Orleans is one of America’s oldest cities, steeped in tragedy as well as rich history, and legend. Full of cemeteries and ghost stories, New Orleans evokes images of voodoo priestesses, vampires, pirates and blood. Thanks to the slave trade, an influx of Haitian culture merged with the European traditions, resulting in something uniquely New Orleans. The result was a mix of ritual, witchcraft, and pageantry unseen anywhere else.
It is the home of Delphine LaLaurie, a wealthy landlady whose attic torture chamber was revealed after a kitchen fire. The chamber was awash with ghostly pictures of children held in cages, dismembered body parts as well as men and women entangled in chains. Marie Laveau is the New Orleans’s Queen of Voodoo. She roams the grounds of the St. Louis cemetery and her stories are enough to send cold chills down the spine of anyone.
Nestled between Bourbon and the Royal Streets in the French Quarter, The Voodoo Museum (while small, only two rooms!) is one of the only museums in the world dedicated entirely to Voodoo art and history. Opened in 1972, they offer tours of the museum and its collection of voodoo relics and paintings, as well as cemetery tours. These will take you farther afield into the nearby St. Louis Cemetery to visit the tomb of Marie Laveau, Queen of Voodoo. They offer connections to psychic readings and consultations, as well as voodoo rituals and ceremonies for anyone wishing direct connection to this ancient practice. Another fascinating location dedicated to the practice of Voodoo is the Voodoo Spiritual-Temple. Down the road from Congo Square-Park, where African slaves practiced their rituals for two centuries, the temple was founded in 1990 by the Priestess Miriam Chamani. A native of Mississippi, Priestess Miriam had visions since childhood.
And even though she was raised a catholic, she left her Baptist faith and was ordained a bishop in the Angel Angel All-Nations Spiritual-Church. Since its founding, the Voodoo Spiritual temple remains the only church dedicated to traditional West African healing practices in New Orleans, striving to serve all guests, regardless of race or belief. A genuine New Orleans Halloween attraction not to be missed is the Garden District. Renowned for its mansions and ex-plantations, the Garden district goes all out for Halloween. Stroll through the streets and explore. See if you can find Louellen Berger-house that’s tucked between St. Charles Avenue and the State Street. Every year, more than fifty skeletons fill the lawn. You could also check out the hologram and projection display on the corner of Magazine and Second Streets. It’s a theatrical showstopper, with ghosts and lights.
If that’s not enough, enjoy a guided tour through one of the city’s many cemeteries. Attractions include sightseeing of the centuries-old mausoleums and crypts. Hear stories of murder and tragedy, as well as see the inspiration of Anne Rice’s iconic character, the Vampire Lestat. The most famous attraction is probably the crypt of Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen who doled out potions to patrons with an iron hand. Legend has it that if you put an X on her tomb, then turn around 3 times before knocking on the grave and making a wish, the Voodoo Queen will grant it. If she did, you are required to come back and leave an offering in thanks. Her tomb is surrounded by tribute.
If that’s not enough Halloween spirit, stop by the French Quarter for an unforgettable experience. Once hope to the Creole population of New Orleans, the French Quarter is home to the best Halloween events in the city. Voodoo Fest has been hosted for the past twenty years, and is full of information and entertainment. Priests on hand speak and teach Voodoo to interested spectators, as well as perform music associated with the Lwa, the spirits of the Voodoo pantheon. A market set up nearby sells everything from potions, voodoo dolls, and gris gris bags.