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Halloween in New Orleans and The Anne Rice Ball

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The Anne Rice Halloween Ball was originally held at her mansion in 1988. The Anne Rice Halloween Ball was originally held at her mansion in 1988.

Steep yourself in spookiness with a divine cast of decadent ghouls that come from around the world to celebrate darkness for All Hallows weekend. New Orleans has largely recovered from Hurricane Katrina and is host to some of the best Halloween spectacles and events anywhere.

Goths and vampire fans in particular converge here annually for this ever-growing Bacchanalian series of parties. The lure of the sultry, dark city of New Orleans is legendary. Literature and movies have tried to capture the mystique but nothing compares to experiencing it in person.

As a fan of the Vampire Lestat book series, for years I dreamt of attending the famous Anne Rice Halloween Ball, originally held at her mansion in the Garden District in 1988. The story goes that the Anne Rice's costume ball (Le Temps du Vampire) eventually became an annual event with new themes each year. As its popularity grew, more parties started popping up. Finally in 2009, I had the opportunity to not only attend, but also perform with my band, Saints of Ruin. Immediately, we were hooked. This was our third consecutive year spending Halloween in the crescent city and it just keeps getting better. Hundreds of goths and fans of vampire lore find their way each year to see and be seen, drink and dance. At the risk of coming off like a travel article, there are many attractions that I feel compelled to list, to entice you to come and see for yourself. Beyond the usual activities of exploring the French Quarter, cemeteries, swamps and the cuisine, there are annual events that were developed for our sub-culture. Nowhere else will you be made to feel so at home with kindred spirits of darkness.

Friday night is home to the Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club’s main event. This year the theme was Theatre of the Vampires and featured performances by Voltaire, Paul Mercer, Curie, The Changelings, burlesque acts and even theatrical enactments of scenes from Interview with the Vampire. Anne herself did not attend but did address her fans via video to kick off the year’s festivities. Attendees wear Victorian gowns and frock coats among other classic ghoulish attire, sip wine and mingle in a dramatic setting created for the fans of the Vampire Lestat. Each year the organizers raise funds for local charities while steeping their fans in three days of Undead-Con: including the Ball itself, wine tasting and cocktail events, vampire films and authors forums.

The Anne Rice Ball

Voltaire and Burlesque troupe performing at The Anne Rice Ball, photos by Michael Morbius.

And if Lestat lords over Friday night, Endless Night dominates the Saturday that precedes All Hallows Eve. Starting in 1996, Endless Night brought its New York-based vampire gala to the city adding a new level of decadence and remarkably costumed, sexy vamps to the scene. Nowhere else can you schmooze with hot vampires of both sexes, gaze into their supernaturally lensed eyes, dance to industrial, EBM and darkwave and have custom fangs made by world renowned fangsmiths while sipping vodka blood shooters in test tubes. Bewitching bellydancers, fetish performers, velvet-voiced divas and cutting edge bands performed at the decked-out House Of Blues at this year’s Steampunk Soiree. Endless Night hosts pub-crawls, a meet-and-greet VIP reception with music, more fangsmithing, book signings and after-parties and are affiliated with Lord Chaz’s Street Theater tours in the French Quarter. The Endless Night organizers also throw parties in NYC, Chicago, Paris, and even Venice.

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Lenore Gwynn

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