Halloween in New Orleans and The Anne Rice Ball
St. Louis cemetery, photo by Michael Morbius.
While the two aforementioned events are not to be missed, there are a number of other activities that bear mentioning. The New Orleans Witches Ball held its first event in a Garden District mansion. House Of Shock is one of the top-rated haunted houses in the world and is just outside of the city. Fear Fest music festival spans the weekend before Halloween while the massive three-day festival, Voodoo Music Fest, takes over City Park with national acts on Halloween weekend. The French Quarter is usually graced with a wonderful Halloween parade but was oddly canceled this year. Still there are many spectacles to be seen roaming around the Quarter by day or night.
But why bother with entertainment for the masses? The darker side of the city offers bars like the aptly named Dungeon, and Pravda, with its Russian décor and splendid selection of absinthe. Drinking is inexpensive in most bars in the Quarter so be careful not to get carried away. Horse drawn carriages and ghost tours are well worth the time and price (which is usually negotiable). And cemeteries; really, you cannot go to New Orleans without a visit to the legendary St. Louis #1 or Lafayette #1 in the Garden District.
For shopping, make sure to peruse the Boutique du Vampyre for creepy oddities, Wicked Orleans for off-the-rack goth brands, Road Kill for novelties and Fifi Mahoney’s for wild wigs and makeup. Antique shops and art galleries line Royal Street and original art vendors surrounding Jackson Square afford a unique shopping experience. The French Market will do for souvenirs but avoid crowded weekends. Make a trip to Magazine Street to shop Trashy Diva, Bootsy’s and Funky Monkey. And dare I begin with the food? Restaurants are too numerous to mention but I offer two words: Fried. Extraordinary.
Still, one of my favorite aspects of this annual foray is the auspicious opportunity to sport well planned outfits. I find myself shopping in February thinking, “These boots would be perfect for the ball.” And clearly, I am not the only one. The eye candy is plentiful. Halloween in New Orleans is a chance to expose our creative side through our unique sense of fashion. Our clothing and accessories serve as wonderful conversation pieces as we make new acquaintances.
The goth scene has all but faded from the once night-vibrant New Orleans. But Halloween still brings an influx of outsiders that are at once in tune with the low pulse that belies this ancient river town. Its spirit unchanged through centuries of strangers like us passing through it, seeking adventure and abandon, mystery and mischief. We darklings love this romantic stuff- it’s irresistibly fun. In all, the New Orleans Halloween experience is a debaucherous romp. I have made dear friends and drank 'til dawn with them. The weekend of Halloween brings us together as a community where our misfit natures reign supreme during this powerful time of year. I invite you to join us in New Orleans for Halloween 2012. Hope to meet you in the Quarter.