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.
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.