Louisiana True Blood Style
While Bon Temps, Louisiana is the fictional backdrop for True Blood characters that ain’t no reason you can’t find slices of fiction throughout the great state of Louisiana. Wether you’re a brujo, of fairy blood lines, a shapeshifter, part of an unruly woolfpack or vampyr or just a plain human being this list will help you find the supernatural.
1400 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
New Orleans’ cemeteries are part of the city’s culture as well as its landscape—and St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest and most famous. Opened in 1789 on the edge of the French Quarter, the cemetery is home to the tomb of Marie Laveau, a free woman of color who earned a reputation as the city’s most powerful voodoo queen in the 1800s. Her tomb is littered with tributes (money, alcohol, candy, trinkets) left by those who hope the queen will grant their desires from beyond the grave. In the Garden District, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 made a cameo in several movies, including Interview with a Vampire and Double Jeopardy. Save Our Cemeteries, a non-profit dedicated to cemetery restoration and preservation, runs tours of both St. Louis No. 1 and Lafayette No. 1.
1000 Howard Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113, USA
Discover a history that can be felt and a little local flavor with one of the many tours available or explore it all on your own. The beauty of this cemetery is a reflection of it’s location. Worn and unkempt, its air of mysterious romanticism can only be felt and explained with a visit. Although, it is rumored that the above-ground tombs are due to the water levels, it is in fact, mainly Spanish influence that dictated the above-ground practice. Here, you’ll find the reputed resting place of Marie Laveau and a little farther into the city of the dead, her daughter. Both are easily recognized by the offerings left. Here’s a little bit of lagniappe: Many years ago, the groundskeeper started a myth that is still perpetuated by many today. Although the offerings left at the base of the tomb are mainly authentic, the ritual of the 3 x’s are not. Recounted by the misguided groundskeeper to rich white folks after Marie Laveau’s death, the groundskeeper hoped that they would leave money as an offering for the sorely needed repairs of the grounds. It is said that the more gullible the tourists appeared, the sillier the ritual became. It is speculated that the origins of the 3 x’s in fact come from the tomb maker’s signature who mostly poor men of color, could neither read nor write. Be sure you spread the word if you go for a visit and be warned that if perpetuated, you risk a hefty fine.
3645 LA-18, Vacherie, LA 70090, USA
Standing on the porch of Oak Alley Plantation and looking out at the hundred-year-old oaks, I imagined I saw into the past.
820 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA
Tucked away on Rampart Street on the sliver between the French Quarter and the Treme enclave, this cool bar balances neighborhood dive-iness and of-the-moment popularity. Find yourself a cozy corner and order up an updated version of a Big Easy classic or something fantastic hatched from the mind of one of the skilled cocktail craftspeople behind the bar.
Edgard, LA 70049, USA
We rented a car and drove out of New Orleans for a day to see some of the plantation Homes. Not being from the South, we wanted to take the opportunity to see a piece of our country’s history even with the gloomy knowledge of slavery as part of it. Laura Plantation was by far the best place we visited that day. Not only did we learn about Creole history and culture, but the tour and plantation show the past in a very inclusive and holistic way. In comparison, Oak Alley Plantation down the road showed all the grandness of wealth in the plantation home and architecture but never addressed what built that wealth. At Laura Plantation the Creole culture is shown in the plantation home, the slaves are remembered in their homes and stories, and the garden crops tower in the field as part of the tour. History also become personal as we learned about memorable characters from the plantation family, the workers of their fields, their interactions, and the interaction with the growing non-Creole community.
City Park, New Orleans, LA, USA
New Orleans’ green spaces run the gamut from City Park, which spans 1,300 acres and is the 6th largest urban park in the United States, to the city block-sized Jackson Square, a French Quarter gathering point for artists, musicians, and street performers. The former has walking trails, botanical gardens, and an open-air sculpture garden, plus tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course, and a mini-golf course, but most come to see the world’s oldest grove of mature live oaks. Uptown’s Audubon Park is frequented by walkers, joggers, and cyclists who make their way around the park’s 1.8 mile loop—and it’s also home to the Audubon Zoo.
1 Collins Diboll Cir, New Orleans, LA 70124, USA
This is the oldest and grandest art institute in a city that’s long captivated artists. The Neoclassical building sits amid the greenery of massive City Park (conveniently at the end of the Canal Streetcar Line). It’s an especially good destination for admirers of Edgar Degas, who spent an extended vacation in New Orleans visiting relatives in 1872; a number of his works are displayed here. Just outside the museum is the beautifully landscaped and well-curated five-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which perfectly melds the old and new. Some 60 sculptures are arrayed amid reflecting lagoons and 200-year-old live oaks.
1109 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA
You’ll see hand painted signs saying “Be Nice or Leave” in restaurants and bars all over New Orleans. At Coop’s Place, a dive in the French Quarter that happens to also serve great food, and where you’ll see people from all strata of society lunching there from Central Business District businessmen to “French Quarter rats”, the vibe tends to be a bit more “snarky” as their website states, but in the nicest possible way, if you know what I mean. Hence their “Be Nice or Starve” sign.
6500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
Audubon Park sits on the site of a former sugar plantation—the only plantation in the city that wasn’t subsequently developed for homes or businesses. It’s about 25 minutes via streetcar from downtown, but feels a world apart, with its spreading live oaks hung with Spanish moss and its lagoons that serve as sanctuary—appropriate given the park’s name—to egrets (great, cattle, snowy), herons (green, blue, night), ibises, and the black-bellied whistling ducks. A loop around the paved walkway/bikeway, which boasts a public golf course at its center, runs 1.75 miles; alternatively, trek to Magazine Street for a visit to the Audubon Zoo, then catch a bus downtown along the city’s best shopping thoroughfare.
514 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
Little-known fact: New Orleans was the first place in North America to license pharmacists (starting in 1769, when the city was still under Spanish rule). After Louisiana became a territory, the U.S. governor extended the requirement, also decreeing that pharmacists take a three-hour licensing exam in order to practice. And no wonder illness got such attention—the city was arguably the least healthy place to live on the continent; it was riddled with yellow fever, malaria, and dysentery. This dark but fascinating history is explored in this atmospheric 1822 town house, which was once the home and shop of Louis J. Dufilho, the first licensed pharmacist in the city—and hence in the country. Exhibits include apothecary jars, tools of the trade, and leeches. (Yes. Leeches.)
French Quarter, New Orleans, LA, USA
You don’t need to work hard to explore New Orleans’ diverse architecture. Take a walk around the French Quarter and you’ll see Creole cottages and pre-Civil War townhouses with wrought-iron balconies. Hop on a street car and take in the antebellum mansions that line St. Charles Avenue, then wander along the side streets to catch examples of shotgun homes that can be found throughout the city. In the Garden District, you can find urban versions of French Colonial plantations (known as Centerhall houses) and double gallery homes (similar to townhouses, but with deeper porches and more space between the house and the sidewalk). Lace up your most comfortable shoes and get walking...