What were you doing August 31, 1997? I remember exactly where I was the day Princess Diana died. I was a bit obsessed with Diana. Guess I still am. My mom had this picture book of her in glorious outfits, meeting orphaned children and some of the princes, William and Harry. I must have looked through that book at least a hundred times.
Which is why I can picture myself exactly when I found out the news about her tragic death. I was on a vacation with my girlfriends (my Dallas roommate, Nancy and her friends) in San Diego, CA. God that was a fun trip. I remember beach and keg stands. Yeah, good times.
And then we came back to our hotel room, turned on the TV and heard the news. Princess Di killed in a high speed car crash in Paris, by the paparazzi that you knew would end her life in one way or another. And I took a picture of the TV –
That is how the picture came out with this freaky red all around it. It thought it was kinda weird. RIP Princess Di. You are missed but never forgotten.
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?
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.
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.
What is happening this year? So many of my favorite celeb peeps are dropping out. But this latest was a stab to my heart. Carrie Fisher was a true icon to me. As Princess Leia, she showed us that girls can be strong and sexy and smart. She was a bad ass and DID rule the galaxy. I tried to rock those braids many times but never rocked them like her.
She may have been the first feminist leader for me. She certainly was the first (for me) to wear and rule the white pantsuit. HRC would do that much later.
Later, she would be a mental health advocate. She didn’t hide the fact that she was bi-polar. And could be funny about it too. She gave her dueling dispositions the nicknames Roy (“the wild ride of a mood,” she said) and Pam (“who stands on the shore and sobs”). She channeled her struggles with depression and substance abuse into fiercely comic works – “Postcards From the Edge” (one of my favorite Meryl Streep movies), “Wishful Drinking,” and her latest “The Princess Diarist“. I haven’t read them but they are all now on my wish list to read.
She was witty and brilliant, ready with a sharp comment to an inane remark. One of my favorites, when someone criticized in the latest “Star Wars” series that she hadn’t aged well; she responded with the quote below and this beauty, “Men don’t age better than women. They’re just allowed to age.” I LOVE this woman.
Ms. Fisher, you will be sorely missed. Keep on shining as our bright star in that galaxy you ruled so well. I will be buying this shirt soon and will be rocking those braids for Halloween next year. And I will leave you with another great one from her on her death.
“I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”
RIP Carrie Fisher. May the force be with you.
I know it’s almost Christmas time. I know so many of you have hectic lives with a job, children, family and just life in general. But you also are excited for the holidays: the time to be with family, have a little downtime, to wrap presents you picked out especially for your son, your daughter, your best friend, just to see them smile.
But there are children, women, men in Aleppo who REALLY need your help. My heart breaks every time I see a video or read a story about children hurt, children dying, the atrocities that are happening. And I always wonder how can I help? What is the best way to help and see that it is happening. Because they need help NOW. And I have found The Compassion Collective to help with a lightning-fast emergency fund-raiser for immediate and effective on-the-ground assistance to Aleppo. As of Saturday morning they (YOU, WE) have raised $1,168,311.00 for our brothers, sisters and children and Aleppo and Syria. I love this. And my money is sent. Here is the link to help and contribute.
Thinking of Aleppo. Let’s hope war is over soon. Soon the John Lennon video.
RIP P Diddy. ❤
This sweet feline went to cat heaven today. And I know he is partying it up with his bro, Growler. But I sure am going to miss this sun-loving lover boy. He loved to eat shrimp, go on back-packing adventures with his girlfriend Good Morning and hang out with his brothers and sisters. Light a candle for the P-ster tonight.
I already miss this sweet face so much. Hugs and kisses to you P.
The summer weather has officially come to an end. WAAHHHHH. I was so enjoying going on a bike ride in shorts and a t-shirt, really gonna miss that. And while I loathe speaking about the weather I make exceptions for awesome storms. Coming from Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping down the plains) where practically EVERY thunderstorm was amazing and then moving to Spain (where the rain stays mainly on the plain), I miss my storms.
October seems to be the month when a good one hits every few years or so. The last one I remember was about four or five years ago, which even resulted in a small tornado and sadly one death. I was home when the sky went black and the wind picked up and my plants sitting on the second floor balcony blew to the ground and the pots broke into tons of pieces. The storm that hit yesterday was expected but many people still seemed to be caught off guard. I was in Palma teaching when 50 litres of water per square meter fell in fifteen minutes. When I left I had to turn my car around twice from the road being too flooded to cross (while at each one there was at least one car that had tried to pass through the water and failed).
The lightning flashed while I drove to my next class, water was pouring down the streets with nowhere for it to go, cars were stranded in deep water and traffic jams were everywhere. Thank goodness there weren’t any deaths but the ambulances and firetrucks were busy. My boyfriend was at the dentist (yuck) when the storm hit and when he came home the house was a bit flooded but all the cats were there! YAY!
But the pool looked like this. Yikes. Hope the landlord has insurance.