Dine With A Ghost

You know there are TONS of ghosts in NOLA. Ghosts, voodoo, spirits, you name it, they got it. Some stories are down right scary and some are a bit, hmmmmm, not so sure about that one – skinned rolled back to look like a caterpillar?? You can take the stories with a grain of salt or you can fully believe or you can relax enjoy the ride and who knows! Maybe you will feel a cold hand on your shoulder or take a picture and when you look at it later you do see some kind of apparition. I believe in ghosts. One day I will tell my ghost story.

I think the ghosts tours are pretty much the same no matter which company you choose. We saw people on other ghost tours and they were all stopping at the same places we did. Now you MUST read this in a spooky and sinister voice.

Here are the stops we made:

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum – In 1823, Louis Dufilho became America’s first licensed pharmacist and opened his apothecary shop on Royal St. But he is not the one haunting this place, that would be Dr. Dupas. The mysterious Dupas bought the pharmacy from Dufilho right before he died. According to legend, Dupas did many experiments on pregnant women and slaves. It was said, you would go in healthy, and never be seen again. It seems, he was conducting experiments on people upstairs, giving them large doses of his voodoo medicine. He is usually seen in a brown suit and likes to move potions around on the shelves and sometimes throws a book. I had a strange experience there while trying to take a picture of the inside. My phone did over 60 photo bursts, I’ve looked through them and maybe I see something near the back in the middle, but I’m not sure. What do you see?

pharmacy ghost

Zach Bowen/Omni Hotel – Zach Bowen joined the military to support his wife and two children. He did a tour in Kosovo and a tour in Iraq (parts of which were spent at Abu Ghraib), where friends say he changed. Upon return he became a bartender in the French Quarter of New Orleans and soon after he separated from his wife. He met Addie Hall, a fellow bartender and the two of them liked to party – drinking a lot and doing cocaine. Also, Hall was said to be a mean drunk and abusing Bowen. Hurricane Katrina hit and they were one of the few who stayed and weathered out the storm. Many people said that going back to “real life” after the tragedy of Katrina was their downfall. On Oct. 5, 2006, they got into a fight (Hall claimed he was cheating on her) and Bowen strangled Hall to death before cutting her up into pieces. He placed her head in a pot on the stove, her feet and legs were either in other pots or in the oven where he tried to cook the body parts. During the next two weeks he spray painted messages on the walls, wrote his five page suicide note and went out drinking, getting strippers and doing drugs with friends. Late October he went to the Omni Hotel, had a drink and then threw himself out of an upstairs window where he landed on the roof of a parking garage. Police found the suicide note and where to find Hall’s body. Some claimed he had been possessed by a demonic spirit that was terrorizing them from the voodoo shop that was below their home. Was it that? Was it PSTD from his two tours overseas? We will never know. But there are still claims that people see someone jump from the Omni Hotel window. The police will show up but there is never anyone there.

Muriel’s Restaurant – Here you can dine with a ghost. The restaurant that is now Muriel’s went through many changes, owners, etc. On March 21, 1788, the Great New Orleans Fire started on Good Friday and burned 856 of the 1,100 structures in the French Quarter, and one of these was a portion of Pierre Phillipe de Marigny’s mansion that was burnt. During the next decade the city was trying to rebuild and Mr. Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan purchased the property from Marigny. We will call him Antoine from now on (why did they all have such loooooong names back then). Antoine LOVED his home but he was a huge gambler. In 1814 he wagered his home in a poker game and lost. He was devastated and before vacating the premises he went up to the second floor and hung himself. Supposedly he haunts the second floor – he can be seen as a bright glimmering light. In the past he would throw wine glasses off tables, but ever since the restaurant set up his own table, leaving bread and a bottle of wine (he prefers Cabernet) every night the “tantrums” have diminished. You can have a private dinner with Antoine but you need to call Muriel’s to set it up. Whether or not Antoine will show up, it is still one helluva a good promotion.

The Ursuline Convent – I thought this place was truly freaky. Here is where vampires arrived from the Old World to the New World. This three-story Colonial masterpiece (no nuns live here now) sits behind a high wall with gothic gates and a big courtyard. In 1727,  France sent young women (very poor and possibly homeless) to help populate the city of New Orleans. When the girls arrived they came with casket shaped boxes supposedly holding their belongings and both (the girls and the casket boxes) were placed at the Convent for the nuns to watch over them until they found a husband for them to marry. Thereby earning them the name of the Casket Girls. After they arrived the mortality rate skyrocketed – because what was in those caskets were vampires. Once the girls found suitors the caskets were opened and were found empty. Dum dum Duuummmmmm. Fear of what had escaped from those caskets brought the Archdiocese to the convent. He had them immediately moved to the third floor, where to this day unless you are from the Vatican you cannot go up there. Plus, the shutters are continuously closed. And on top of that they have closed them with 800 screws EACH, that supposedly the Pope blessed. That’s 8000 Pope blessed screws keeping whatever needs to be kept in there! But locals have witnessed the shutters fly open in the middle of the night. I could stop there, but there is one more story to this. Back in the 70s a group of paranormal researchers came to NOLA to check out the convent. Two stayed overnight, in front of the convent to finish their research. The next day they were found dead, and drained of their blood. Drained of their blood!! Now, nothing can be found on the news about this from the 70s but the people in New Orleans say it happened.

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Alright, finalizing things up. If you watch American Horror Story you might have heard about this last one, or at least about the lady – Madame Delphine Lalaurie.

The Lalaurie Mansion – This haunted history is perhaps New Orleans most famous ghostly tale. For more than 150 years, the Lalaurie House is said to be the most haunted location in NOLA. Delphine married her third husband, wealthy doctor Louis Lalaurie in 1832. They threw lavish parties and everyone wanted to be invited inside their gorgeous three story mansion. People started wondering about all the slaves that were being bought – they saw them go in but never saw any go out. Once in 1833, a neighbor saw Delphine chase her 12-year old slave around the roof with a whip. The child jumped to her death and was buried in the courtyard. Investigators came to the house and punished Delphine with a fine and making her sell all her slaves. Unbeknownst to authorities she had relatives buy them and she got them back. In 1834 the truth came out. A fire was started in the kitchen by her cook who was chained to the stove. When authorities came they found a very grisly scene in attic – slaves chained to the walls, badly scarred and starving. It gets worse. Reports say one man had a hole drilled into his head with a wooden spoon sticking out (to stir the brains), another woman had her arms amputated and her skin rolled down making her look like a caterpillar, a woman with her stomach cut open and her intestines wrapped around her body and another had her arms and legs broken and reset so she looked like a crab. Horrifying! Gives me the creeps. After finding this an angry mob grew outside the Lalaurie mansion, soon Delphine and her children came roaring out in a carriage and Delphine was never seen again. Some say she died in France, some say she is buried in a New Orleans cemetery. After we left, Jeannie told me she had felt a very cold breeze go by her. Here is where most people do feel something or see something.

Spoooky stuff right there. And even if you don’t believe, it is still some fascinating stories. Next time I think I will do the vampire tour. Do you have any ghost stories? I would love to hear them. BOO.

 

 

Minor Differences

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What a weekend! The Oscars (my favorite) and a crazy few days hearing from Charlie Sheen. What a difference these two make. Let’s compare a few quotes, shall we?

Natalie:

  • (In lieu of John Galliano’s anti-Semitic comments)  “I hope at the very least, these terrible comments remind us to reflect and act upon combating these still-existing prejudices that are the opposite of all that is beautiful.”
  • “Where I live, nobody who’s fourteen is having sex and doing major drugs. And I think if you see it in the movies, you may be influenced by it. I think it’s so important to preserve your innocence. “
  • “They tell me: ‘OK, this is where we’re going to push up your cleavage,’ and I’m like, ‘What cleavage?’ “
  • “I’m afraid of everything. But maybe when you’re afraid of everything, it sort of seems like you’re scared of nothing. “
  • “Smart women love smart men more than smart men love smart women.
  • “Breast implants gross me out. I don’t think they’re attractive at all. “

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And on the completely opposite side of the spectrum, the Charlie Sheenster.

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  • “I am on a drug, it’s called Charlie Sheen. It’s not available, because if you try it once, you will die – your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.”
  • “I’m sorry, man, but I’ve got magic. I’ve got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time — and this includes naps — I’m an F-18, bro. And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground.”
  • “I am battle-tested bayonets, bro.”
  • “It’s just strafing runs in my underwear before my first cup of coffee because I don’t have time for these clowns.”
  • “I’m tired of pretending like I’m not special. I’m tired of pretending like I’m not bitchin’, a total frickin’ rock star from Mars.”

And my personal favorite:

  • “Clearly I have defeated this earthworm with my words — Imagine what I would have done with my fire-breathing fists”

And while I love Natalie Portman and think she is the cow’s shibazz. I can’t help waiting to hear the latest C. Sheen quote of the day. He is a human train wreck. And has been drinking a whole lotta crazy.

Me Need Food.

 Have any of you done any detoxing? Not like Lindsey Lohan style, but the lemon cleanse or olive oil cleanse or vodka cleanse? Just kidding on the vodka cleanse. Cuz today was day one of detox.

I kinda made up my own program; lemon water with maple syrup and cayenne, some spoonfuls of olive oil, only eating veges and bananas, and the shocking salt water oral enema. I guess I have never had an enema because I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I put 3 teaspoons of sea salt into a QUART of lukewarm water and swallowed. It took me about 20 minutes to finish the entire thing but even before I emptied the cup I had been to the bathroom a few times. Holy crap! Pun intended …. wow, the stuff that comes out of you. Okay, I’m sorry, I will stop. But seriously, kind of amazing.

I had planned on doing this cleanse for about three days, with the last day rewarding myself with a 90 minute massage at Son Antem. CAN’T WAIT FOR THAT MASSAGE. And apparently I can’t wait for real food again either. But today I will prevail!! And only dream of cheeseburgers, shrimp pasta with lots of cream, egg sandwich, spaghetti. I could go on and on with the food I have been salivating for all night. Alas, my vegetable broth will have to do. With my never-ending glass of water. No wine tonight either. Why have I done this to myself?

Tomorrow is day two. Let’s see how long I last before I break out the cheese and crackers. I will try to make it as long as I can, but I know by dinner time it will have to be something of substance. Hopefully it will be a healthy slice of salmon and a salad. How the hell do people do this for two weeks?

Ooohh, I just remembered I have fresh doughnuts in the cupboard. WILL POWER. MUST …  NOT … EAT … DOUGHNUT.

Hopefully I will survive day one. Off to make my tea laxative for the evening and wash it all down with some olive oil. Cheers!

Sometimes the random is the highlight of the day.

Look! No pictures, no video, no “go/do/eat Mallorca” post.

Sometimes I wonder if my blog is too much silliness. Too many video clips. Too much of randomness.

I read blogs that have so much meaning with each one, some where they have lost someone precious in their life, some where they are struggling in this world to make ends meet, some where their children are so amazing and their life is so interesting that I want to always check in. And me? I write about whatever comes to mind for the day. I am not struggling to make ends meet, I have not lost someone so precious that I need to write about, so am I boring? Because if I AM please, do me a favor and tell me to shut up.

What do you need? What do you want? More seriousness? More focus on my internal strife…. cuz I can belt it out but I would think that could get uninspirational (which I don’t think is even a real word). But you catch my drift.

But I do enjoy my blog. My randomness. One day I will have the children I long for to write meaningful stories about. One day I will lose someone who is so close to me it breaks my heart (and I pray for that day to be a long time away). But until then, you just might have to deal with the quirkiness and take the time to look at my blog for a mental break from life.

For now, I can be here for you for that break. And even after when life gets too serious.

Auf Wiedersehen, thanks for the memories.

Hmfph. In a blog funk.

What to write about? Christmas? The climate change conference? This just in – U.S., China, India reportedly reach a “meaningful agreement”. It’s about time! Are you guys still doing your composting? Turning off lights when not in use? Walking to places instead of driving? Good.

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How about one of my favorite topics, DEATH.

evil cackling and wringing of hands

No idea why death intrigues me so much and if you are a celebrity and bite the bullet, well, I’m intrigued even more. 2009 was a ROUGH year for celebrities. Here are my top 10 people who died this year that I actually gave somewhat of a damn about:

1. Mary Travers (1936 – 2009) Member of folk group Peter, Paul and Mary. The group’s first album, Peter, Paul and Mary came out in 1962 and immediately scored hits with their versions of “If I Had a Hammer” (listen to it below, one of my favorites) and “Lemon Tree”. The former won them Grammys for best folk recording and best performance by a vocal group. Their song “Puff the Magic Dragon” brings back so many memories, and was actually sung during the recent road trip with my parents! (Dad sung in his heart).

2. Les Paul (1915 – 2009) A pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar. The godfather of rock. No more needs to be said.

3. Walter Cronkite (1916 – 2009) The most trusted man in America ……”And that’s the way it is.”

4. John Hughes (1950 – 2009) Where would I be without Pretty In Pink, Sixteen Candles, National Lampoon’s Vacation and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Certainly not the slightly off-kilter, movie quoting extraordinaire, sometimes cute dweeb that I am today. Thank you John Hughes for bringing Cousin Eddie, The Donger, “Eat My Shorts”, Simple Minds, “Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?”, “By night’s end, I predict me and her will interface”, into my life.

5. Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009) C’mon, you didn’t really think I would leave Jacko off the list. Thriller was one of my first MTV videos and Jeannie and I can do the Thriller dance for you …..er, after a few cocktails. So many great songs, “Beat It”, “Billie Jean”, “Ben”, “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough”, I could go on and on. Miss that moonwalking, one-gloved man.

6. Eunice Shriver (1921 – 2009) Thank you Ms. Shriver for founding the movement that became Special Olympics, the largest movement for acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities in the history of the world.

7. Oscar Mayer (1914 – 2009) My Bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R. My bologna has a second name, it’s M-A-Y-E-R. Oh I love to eat it everyday, and if you ask me why say….. Cause’ Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A!!!! I have friends who go freakin crazy when they see the Wienermobile. Thank you Mr. Mayer for your delicious bologna, bacon and hot dogs – still a staple in my lunchtime meals!

8. Patrick Swayze (1952 – 2009) “Nobody puts baby in a corner.” Need I say more?

9. Paul Harvey (1918 – 2009) Mr. Harvey reminds me of my days of high school in Oklahoma (btw, he was born in Tulsa). His The Rest of the Story series would always broadcast during the Sunday Top 40 on my car radio. And I did A LOT of driving around in my four door Buick Electra. That car rocked. It sat 27,000 comfortably and the horn sounded like a freight train.

10. Farrah Fawcett (1947 – 2009) Loved the hair, loved Charlie’s Angels, loved the red swimsuit, an iconic beauty.

Honorable mentions from the animal kingdom: Gidget the Taco Bell Dog – “Yo quiero Taco Bell”, Socks the Clinton cat and my beloved cat Good Morning.

May everyone rest in peace.

Those are my top ten. Why don’t you let me know if I missed a favorite of yours. To conclude, I give you “If I Had A Hammer” by Peter, Paul and Mary.

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school house rock coming home

Gosh golly gee HOW I HAVE MISSED YOU! I hope you missed me.

While I try to capture all my USA adventures to share with you, here is a little School House Rock for you. Did you know the PSA spot for the strange yellow dude from the Hanker for a Hunk of Cheese blog was called Time for Timer? I had no clue he had a name, thought you would like to know. But to be honest, SHR was always my favorite, I own a greatest hits CD! Not surprising actually if you know me.

I found No More Kings from SHR to be appropriate for my trip to the grand U.S. of A – this one is dedicated to the Causley girls: Susie, Barbie and Ellie, THIS ONE IS FOR YOU! Enjoy my friends.