If you want to party with ghosts, New Orleans is the place for you
Halloween sends some brave souls in search of haunted places, and New Orleans has so many, one might need a guide.
Just in time for the spooky holiday, Clerisy Press has published Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends, and Cities of the Dead ($15.95) as part of its America’s Haunted Road Trip series.
The soft-cover book is by Kala Ambrose, and its 25 chapters cover the same number of spirited spots in the Big Easy, where Halloween is but another big party. But what might lurk in Pirates Alley on this frightful foggy night?
The book tells readers that it could be any of a number of spirits: maybe of those imprisoned in the old Spanish jail which once stood at the end of the alley, maybe that of the pirate Jean Lafitte, who is said to have had secret meetings with the governor and Gen. Andrew Jackson there, negotiating deals to free his brother, Pierre.
Haunted hotels are also covered, including the Place d’Armes Hotel. Some friends celebrating their wedding anniversary recently booked this hotel for that very reason. So the story goes, the first school in Louisiana once stood there, until the Great Fire of New Orleans broke out on March 21, 1788. A brave monk risked his life to save several of the children. He died two days later, but his spirit remains there, and each year on March 21, witnesses claim the monk appears and can be seen running in and out of the building for about a minute, then disappearing.
Each chapter offers a detailed history of its alleged hauntedness, along with photos and travel tips from Ambrose, such as it’s safest to visit the cemeteries with a tour group during the day, what’s best at Antoine’s and Arnaud’s, and that Reverend Zombie’s House of Voodoo is a good place to have a reading. Ambrose is a psychic as well, and does include some of her eerie, extrasensory experiences at these locations.
New Orleans’ largest year round cruise ship, Carnival Conquest, has been docked for two weeks in Freeport, The Bahamas, where it underwent a major multi-million-dollar refurbishment, getting upgrades in dining, bar and entertainment. It’s scheduled to return to the Port of New Orleans Sunday, Oct. 28.
Among the highlights are Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with Food Network personality Guy Fieri, an EA SPORTS Bar, and the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar.
In celebration, Carnival is awarding one person a free Carnival Conquest seven-day cruise for two to the Caribbean.
Register by Sunday, Oct. 28 (yes, today) by completing an on-line registration form at http://www.carnival.com. When Carnival Conquest returns to service at the Port of New Orleans Sunday.
Other ship enhancements include:
- The Punchliner Comedy Club & The Punchliner Comedy Brunch presented by George Lopez brings comedic talent, curated by the popular comedian and TV personality, along with a humorous twist on brunch.
- Cherry on Top celebrates the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.
- By early December, the ship will also feature Hasbro, The Game Show and Playlist Productions. Hasbro, The Game Show makes guests the stars of the show through larger-than-life adaptations of the company’s iconic board games, while Playlist Productions is a dramatic retooling of Carnival’s legendary revues that combines live performances with high-tech LED staging and special effects.
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Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans invites guests to celebrate Halloween “infestivities” at Crawloween on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
Children are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes, learn about the myths behind some “scary” critters, make a bug craft and enjoy Halloween treats.
Staff entomologists will be on hand to talk about myths and legends behind some of the most misunderstood arthropods including roaches, spiders, and maggots.
Visitors can also enter the “Guess How Many Maggots are in the Jar” contest. The three closest guesses will receive gift certificates to Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium’s Flea Market.
The Halloween bug fun runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guests are encouraged to trick or treat at presentation stations for spider rings, Crawloween stickers and other fun treats. Children (ages 12 and younger) dressed in a bug-themed costume will receive a $3 discount off of admission. All Halloween activities are included in general admission cost.
Admission is $16, adults; $13, seniors; $11, children; and free, Audubon Nature Institute members. Advanced tickets are recommended.
Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium is located at 423 Canal St. in downtown New Orleans in the U.S. Custom House and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
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New rink at park
Equest Farms, the stables in City Park, and New Orleans City Park have broken ground on a new covered riding rink. The covered rink will allow Equest Farms to hold additional horse shows and continue to operate in inclement weather. It will also open the possibility of hosting other types of events such as dog agility competitions.
The new cover will measure 130 feet by 310 feet by 24 feet. The covered rink will cost $620,000; all of which was raised by private donations.
Other renovations include improved parking facilities and lighting, along with the construction of a permanent office building. Additionally, Equest Farm, in collaboration with the New Heights Foundation, is working to create the city’s first “Therapeutic Riding” program for handicapped and mentally challenged riders.
N.O. called top city
Condé Nast Traveler has announced that New Orleans placed in the Top 10 Cities in the United States in its 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards. More than 46,000 readers, mostly made up of frequent travelers and travel trend-setters, voted in this year’s poll.
Condé Nast Traveler readers also voted New Orleans hotels in their Best Hotel and Top 40 Hotels in the South category, including the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, The Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Soniat House Hotel, Windsor Court Hotel and Hotel Monteleone.
The readers were asked to rate candidate cities, and the cities with the highest scores top the list. Rankings are based on the following categories: Ambiance, friendliness, lodging, restaurants, culture/sites and shopping.
Carnival Cruise Lines, the Audubon Institute, New Orleans City Park and New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau provided items for this column. Louisiana Travels is a biweekly column about travel destinations and events in Louisiana. Email items for Louisiana Travels to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or fax to (225) 388-0351.