Monday, May 25, 2015

... a different kind of haunt...

April’s New Orleans trip was a whirlwind with a conference, hooking up with a new research group, and meeting colleagues/bloggers/former students. When I arrived home, I was tuckered and suffering from a voodoo curse. Last year’s New Orleans conference left me with a plane voucher for any flight under $500. Because April’s trip was work related and I submitted a proposal and received a grant, the flight was already paid for. So here I was with mere weeks left for me to use or lose the voucher. I considered the places I could go but my thoughts kept returning to New Orleans and what felt like an unfinished visit.

When I finally settled on returning this month, I sent a message to The Curious Professor Z to see if she would be able to join me. I mean, what’s more fun than walking around a bunch of cemeteries? Walking around a bunch of cemeteries with a buddy! Plus, Professor Z is an Art Historian and well, there’s a bit of art in the cemeteries. I figured it was a long shot since she had just taken a trip and because she’s graduating with her Ph.D. in mere days. But, she said yes! Gwee! And so began our month of anticipation and concluding our semesters. I did some research on hotels and was very much interested in staying in a smaller less-chain-related establishment. I really, really, really wanted something with history as well. … and the more haunted, the better. Not that I can actually say that I believe in ghosts. I believe in the idea of spirits but I’ve never seen a ghost and if one were to wake me it wouldn’t be pretty (e.g. I’m not so pleasant to wake when I’m sleeping). After sending Professor Z a half dozen possibilities, we settled on The Hotel Provincial which sits on land that was a grant from King Louis XV.

In 1718, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville claimed the area as the original "La Nouvelle-Orléans.” After passing through different hands, a military hospital was constructed in 1722.

Anne Rice's old haunt
Ghosts of soldiers allegedly still haunt the buildings of the hotel. Some have reported seeing wounded soldiers crying out in pain and bloodstains that mysteriously appear on the bed covers only to be gone when one looks again. Umm, I have to say that THAT was my only hesitation with the hotel. I did not want blood on my sheets. Some have reported sightings of a young female ghost thought to be someone who cared for the ill in the hospital. Southern confederate ghosts and those who cared for them… how could this be a concern for me? After all, I’m a Southern girl. And during our trip, I dragged Professor Z to Jefferson Davis’ first burial plot before he was reinterred in Hollywood Cemetery… AND, we even visited the house where Davis died. I won’t post the picture because I think I looked a little too happy. And while I’m not necessarily pro-Southern Confederate pride (my dad’s a Yankee and I’m pretty darn glad the North won :p ), I do want to be respectful. Point being, with some many Southern roots, how could I be haunted?!? Read that as I’m a super heavy sleeper! Plus, I’ve never actually seen or heard a ghost before. I believe I’ve felt some of my past friends’ presences but other than that nothin’. Even my mother just had her non-fiction ghost story published in a magazine. I was there and I literally slept through it. Oh well.

Fortunately, Professor Z and I weren’t heading to New Orleans for the ghosts. Probably the closest we got to any ghosts is the old haunts… read that as we went to Anne Rice’s former residence (and a home where Trent Reznor once lived). What can I say; I’m easily amused.

Another haunt was the WWII museum shop and the soda shop where we had some amazing sundaes. On the way, we passed by The National WWII Museum’s Victory Garden which “is a recreation of a WWII Victory Garden using current sustainable techniques”. The Victory Garden is maintained by master gardeners and volunteers with its seasonal produce being used in the local food pantries and the restaurants at the museum.


I’ll write more tidbits about the trip later. One of the super fun suggestions I received from Professor Z was to carve watermelons as Jack-o-lanterns. Today I spent the afternoon carving a watermelon and a honeydew. I’m sure they’re rotting in the Virginia heat but it was fun and now we have tasty sweets in the refrigerator.


  1. I am dying to go to New Orleans, would love to see Anne Rice's house too! One day I will go, hopefully soon!

    I think it might actually be good not to be haunted by ghosts all the time, it would be a pain having to help them all!

    Love the carved watermelons! I did one as a kid once for Halloween!

    1. It's a great deal of fun so I hope you get to go! Maybe I could even tag along :D

  2. I'm eager to read more of your trip! :) So great you two had such great time there!

  3. Sounds like your trip was just what you needed to finish taking back New Orleans for yourself. Never seen a ghost myself either. Others in my family have seen stuff, in our own house no less, but na-da for me. There was a bat in one of the bedrooms one night, but I don't think that counts. The watermelon is cute, but the honeydew is beyond awesome!

    1. Screams maniacally, "It's mine now, former-husband-bitches!" :p

      I think I heard a dead friend once... or at least my friend and I both thought we heard our late friend right before we almost got hit by a car. We swear the other one said Stop! In the end, our teenage minds believed it was him. The brain is mysterious so who knows.

      Hmmm, were they ghost bats?

      I was pretty darn proud of the honeydew :D

  4. I love reading about yours and the Prof's adventures, you are so cute together!
    I love the idea of making jack-o-lanterns with melon during summer, I might have to steal that one :)

    1. She's so much fun. I wish we could have a blogger conference where we all get together in one place. Imagine the fun we'd have.

      The watermelon jack-o-lantern was the Prof's idea... and then I went down the Pinterest rabbit hole of ideas. The melon was more like, Why not!