Phantoms of the French Quarter

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The last thing my wife and I did before departing New Orleans for our home back in Arizona was take an evening walking tour around the French Quarter, during which we and our tour group were regaled with real stories of tragedy and hauntings. Our guide and raconteur, Libby, took us on a non-linear journey across time and space, where the day world is overcome by night, respectability hides degeneracy, reason turns into madness, and the living remember their abuses and betrayals when they’re gone. Along the way, we were introduced to a former Civil War era hospital, the saga of Zach and Addie, an insidious pharmacist, La Dame Bleu, and the “most haunted place in New Orleans.” The latter was once the home of a woman who brutally mistreated her “slaves,” which more recently was owned and abandoned by actor Nicholas Cage. Although I had some qualms about exploiting the stories of people who were suffering from severe cases of mental health problems, I was nonetheless enthralled by what I was hearing. Libby is a very impassioned storyteller, who clearly and abundantly loves her hometown. As corny and touristy as going on a Haunted History Tour may seem, it was undoubtedly a very fun way of concluding what was, indeed, a memorable trip.

[photo credit: David Martínez]

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