What does Halloween mean anymore? When I was a kid it meant free candy, of course. As I got older it meant cool costumes. Oh, and free candy. As an adult, however, the purpose for the celebration has changed. Now, at least for me, it's a time to embrace the creepy, the spooky, and the gruesome, something I never, ever do! Halloween is my annual chance to scare and be scared.
Most of us do some kind of Halloween recognition. Some cities have turned their community centers into haunted houses. Some malls have “monster crawls” so toddler trick-or-treaters can show off their garb in an indoor environment. Some of us decorate our houses, and buy goodies for the visitors, and wear our own costumes to greet them. It's a time to relish the villainous pirates, the waiting cemeteries, and zombies created by dark voodoo.
It's different here, though, in New Orleans. We ARE pirates and cemeteries and voodoo. That's not Halloween. That's Tuesday.
So what does Halloween mean here? It means bigger. BIGGER. B I G G E R!
||Ice Bucket Challenge
||No longer "Stayin' Alive"|
|You can still recognize him!|
It's a bit unfair really. We don't have to try. Some of our houses already look like Disney's Haunted Mansion, so simply adding a jack-o-lantern immediately throws them into your nightmares.
|See? Scary, and not even trying!|
But many don't stop there. Many do BIGGER!
We can't help ourselves. Our cemeteries, for example, are above ground. They advertise themselves. Much like your reaction to walking in the French Quarter or the Garden District where you oogle and awe at the architecture, you'll pass a cemetery and gaze at grand mausoleums – with their symbolism and stained glass and sculptures – and speculate about the occupants. Visitors are dying (wink, wink) to walk among our “cities of the dead”. It's no wonder that as soon as your plane lands you're bombarded with adverts for cemetery tours.
|Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar|
One of our history's most famous pirate, Jean Lafitte, traded in his pirate life to own a blacksmith shop. It's a bar, of course. We use that more than a smithy these days.
And the world's foremost voodoo queen, Marie Laveau, lived, died, and was buried right here in the St. Louis Cemetery in the French Quarter. Her grave is among the most visited, with people leaving gifts for her constantly.
New Orleans is among America's most haunted city. It was established in 1714, which makes it older than our country. We are passionate about keeping our architecture as preserved as possible. As a result, we have haunted hotels, haunted restaurants, and haunted bars. From the street car to the oak trees, you walk the sidewalks of history here into the struggles and successes of the past.
|Marie Laveau's Tomb|
Walking in the past... what better way of seeing ghosts? Especially on Halloween.
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