• Tag Archives New Orleans
  • Grave Discoveries: St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans – Part Three

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    This is the final St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 post. I didn’t even make it to the St. Louis Nos. 2 and 3 let alone the other 39 cemeteries in New Orleans. All the more reason for a return trip.

    This post is all about the finer details of some of the graves in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.

    There were few remaining statues on top of tombs but theft through the years has eliminated many of them. In fact, only a month prior to my visit, an unlicensed tour guide was spotted desecrating tombs and removing bones. Someone even painted Marie Lavaeu’s tomb pink. Seriously people. Not. cool.

    There are still some fantastic wrought iron, statuary and vault details that I found amazing.

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    Here is a great video of more tombs in the cemetery…complete with catchy NOLA tunage.

     

    There is more great history on St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 from the Save Our Cemeteries site. It’s worth the read.

    Speaking of graves…and reading…have you read Reap & Repent?

    What are you waiting for?

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    Reap & Repent blurb

    Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)They see death. Can they share a life?

    Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

    Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

    A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

     

     


  • Grave Discoveries: St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans – Part Two

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    Last week I showed you a few of the highlights from St. Louis Cemetery, No. 1 in New Orleans. NOLA is my sort of town and this cemetery was a real gem.

    First off, all of the tombs are above ground due to extensive flooding through the years. You can read some great history on that here. Yellow fever was a real problem in south and thousands succumbed to it before officials realized parading dead bodies through town before going to their resting place wasn’t the greatest idea.

    The cemetery was moved back away from the city two or three times before it became what it is today. It takes up one square block but is the resting place of thousands thanks to a ruling that by tradition you can, after one year and one day, put another loved one in the same space. 

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    These tombs are basically condos in the City of the Dead. Stuff one in, seal it over and a year and a day later you can add the next. Mostly the bodies go in pine or cardboard boxes and with the NOLA heat and humidity the bodies decompose to bones and ash pretty quickly. When it’s time to add another, they sweep the bodies to the back and in it goes. I admire the efficiency. I’ve never understood spending thousands of dollars on a metal box and trying to keep your corpse fine.

    You’re dead.

    Go with it.

    Following are some of the more interesting tombs. I don’t know who’s buried in any of these but you can do some sleuthing of your own here if you are so inclined.

    I am, however, fairly certain these are some long lost relatives of my own.

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    Come back next week for one more St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 post. More grave goodness than can fit into two posts.

    Speaking of graves…Have you read Reap & Repent?

    Find it here:  AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO 

    Reap & Repent blurb

    Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)They see death. Can they share a life?

    Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

    Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

    A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

     

     

     

     


  • Grave Discoveries: St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans – Part 1

    IMG_5949 (800x271) One of the highlights of visiting New Orleans for the RT Booklovers Convention was the opportunity to visit a very historic cemetery, the oldest in Louisiana, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.

    Of course the main draw, after watching Season 3 of American Horror Story-Coven, was the grave of Marie Laveau. Marie Laveau was the voodoo priestess of New Orleans and wielded what many considered otherworldly powers. The more likely truth was that as hairdresser to the rich and prominent, she had her finger on the pulse of the community and leveraged her knowledge in all sorts of interesting ways to her ultimate benefit.

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    Voodoo networking if you will.

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    You’ll notice lots of little Xs on her grave. Supposedly, by marking three Xs on her stone and performing a very specific ritual complete with spins and an offering of gifts as homage, you could invoke Marie’s spirit to do favors for you from the great beyond. Or if you can’t be bothered to visit the actual grave, you can purchase a few spells from this voodoo entrepreneur. Seriously. Google it. You’ll be amazed.

    The fact American Horror Story – Coven was set in New Orleans and that the RT Booklovers Convention was being held in NOLA this year was a happy coincidence for me. Marie Laveau and her nemesis Madame LaLaurie were the main characters. The urban legend is that Marie Laveau is immortal and still alive in NOLA. Each of her daughters was also named Marie and apparently held a striking resemblance to their mother, which fueled that myth and made for a ripe and luscious storyline for Coven. So you can imagine I was even more excited to get to see Madame LaLaurie’s grave in the same cemetery.

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    Madame LaLaurie was not a nice woman. She tortured and murdered slaves while her husband held cocktail parties in the French Quarter…at this house.

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    Notice the Xs on Madame LaLaurie’s grave too. Like we need that maniac back and on the loose.

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    A few of the other graves had X’s and offerings as well. This was for some other voodoo priest. Our guide said that if people really understood who he had been they wouldn’t be trying to invoke him, which of course made us all the more curious. Well played, tour guide. Well played.

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    You can see people left what they had on them or could find lying around. Lipstick, seashells, beads, gum. If I were a powerful voodoo deity, I’d be a little pissed about the gum.

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    Other graves had stones or coins on them as a tribute to their visit and not an offering in hopes of returned favors. I see this in cemeteries in my own Midwest community from time to time. Haven’t seen any Xs however.

    Come back next week for another visit to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. There were too many amazing graves for just one post.

    Speaking of graves…

    Have you read book one of my Reaper Series?

      AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO 

    Reap & Repent blurb

    Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)They see death. Can they share a life?

    Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

    Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

    A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

     


  • Ghosts, Vampires, Voodoo, Tarot Readings, and Mardi Gras Floats – NOLA Had It All!

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    New Orleans is a magical place.

    Sure, it’s the scary sort of magic, but that makes it all the more interesting. If you were ever going to have a tarot/palm reading, New Orleans seems like the place to do it and who better than The World Famous Voodoo Bone Lady?

    All of the readings seemed pretty vague to me, but hey, what do I know. I didn’t accurately predict the Superbowl outcome on National TV.

    Heck, I can’t even predict my own actions.

    One thing I can predict is that if you visit New Orleans, there will be voodoo. Some of it will come 32 ounces at a time on Bourbon Street but real voodoo can be found here at Voodoo Authentica’s Voodoo Shop & Museum where your voodoo isn’t ‘Made in China’.

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    After our trip through the Voodoo Museum, we all decided we needed to balance our spiritual energy and stopped inside the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. A mass was going on inside so we stayed in the lobby, but we felt properly cleansed all the same.

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    Ironically enough, after we left the church, I made a new friend on Jackson Square.

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    He claimed he wasn’t a demon but an alien. Uh huh. Those horns, claws and beady red eyes say otherwise.

    Another must do activity is Spirit Tours of New Orleans. Dawn and I took a daytime Cemetery and Voodoo tour around the French Quarter and St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. I’ll have a Grave Discoveries post soon featuring St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 because it was amazing. I wish I had time to visit ALL of the NOLA cemeteries. It will just give me a good excuse to return. I’m thinking a Halloween visit would be most excellent.

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    The home of the notorious murderess Madame Lalaurie.

    Another night we went on Spirit Tours Ghost & Vampire Tour of the French Quarter. Dawn and I were the only ones to show up that night and our guide, Judy, gave us the five-star treatment despite a brief downpour.

    Being a huge American Horror Story: Coven fan, this was the highlight for me of that tour… the home of the notorious murderess Madame Lalaurie.

    We also visited several other haunted sites including the Ursuline Convent. The girls brought over from France were actually intended to be virgin brides for the soldiers. They arrived pulling trunks, which resembled caskets, filled with their belongings thus giving rise to to the locals calling them ‘Casket Girls’ and starting rumors they were somehow supernatural.

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    You can learn more from the Southern Area Paranormal Society.

    Another stop we made was to Mardi Gras World where they store the elaborate floats. Nothing too spooky there, but I did discover where exactly at least one Wild Thing is.

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    You can see I made another friend.

    On the bus back to the Marriott after our visit to Mardi Gras World another author on the bus was encouraging people to pull a tarot card from her bag o’ promo for a quick reading. I reached in, fished around blindly and pulled this one from maybe a hundred random selections…

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    Her name is Keri Stevens and her book Stone Kissed looks AH-MAZ-ING.

    Keri started to tell me the card wasn’t a bad card, that it represented change but before she could finish, I blurted out the fact I write Reapers. She took one look at me and said, “I’m done with you.”

    Well played, Keri. Well played.

     


  • #RT14 – Romantic Times Booklovers Convention 2014, New Orleans

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    A week later and I’m still recovering from RT Con 14.

    This was my second Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and since it was in New Orleans I was even more excited to attend. I made my reservations for the con hotel the day after I returned from the convention last year. I’m so glad I did because this year’s con was absolute crazysauce.

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    Despite what it might have looked like from my Facebook and Twitter feed, I did actually do more than eat.

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    After driving eleven hours, the first night Dawn and I walked the length of Bourbon Street, and I definitely got the full visceral ‘flavor’ of NOLA. I loved it from the first block.

     

    Our hotel was the Marriott right on Canal Street. We had a very average room but I was thankful to be in the convention hotel. As soon as we walked in the room was very musty, then a bit later Dawn stepped onto soggy carpet. The air conditioning wasn’t working correctly. We were so busy we didn’t bother to report it for a couple of days but after Dawn did, a maintenance guy was sent and determined it couldn’t be repaired so they offered to move us to another room.

    We had so much STUFF and so many activities going on that we didn’t get packed up until 11:30 on night three. It was a total hassle to change rooms. But this is what we upgraded to…

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    That’s Canal Street on the right. Considering I rode the elevator up at least once with HQN Bestselling Author Heather Graham and Carina Editorial Director Angela James, I figure we got the high-roller suite just like them 😀

    I attended mostly marketing and social media workshops this year. I think I actually learned more last year from the workshops. Maybe because I was so new and in a different stage of the process. I did glean several helpful tidbits here and there and one workshop I attended with my friend and fellow author Cara Bristol was amazing. She summed it up in a couple of great posts Why Some ebooks Sell and Others Don’t and 13 Marketing Tips to Promote Your Book. 

    I also had a chance to meet a few of my favorite authors as well as a few on my TBR book shelf.

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    That’s Darynda Jones on the far left. Darynda was one of the first authors to make Reapers cool, and she’s a super duper nice lady! I haven’t read her books yet because I didn’t want to while I was still writing and building my own reaper world. But lots of happy readers have read her books. You should too. You can find her books here DARYNDA JONES – NY Times Bestselling Author.

    I also sat in on the paranormal panel with authors Kim Harrison, Larissa Ione, Kresley Cole and P.C. Cast. They were a HOOT! I have to say their honesty about their personal struggles and crisis of conscience in their writing from time to time gave me hope for the rest of us! They have each been wildly successful.

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    But the real thrill was when I saw Charlaine Harris outside of the Marriott Starbucks. I might have fangirled on her a bit. She’s so stinkin’ awesome. You should read her books too. All of them.

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    The RT Convention is an amazing opportunity for readers to meet their favorite authors and learn more about the books they love but it’s not for the impatient or shrinking violets. There are long lines and the Avon Book event was like a Black Friday Sale. I bailed out after a few minutes but Dawn battled through. Dawn’s primary goal was to earn her $484 convention registration back in books.

    She brought home 119 paperbacks, a flash drive with 600 Smashwords books and a dozen more free ebooks. Not a bad haul.

    I brought home around twenty or so books myself plus a whole bunch of good memories of NOLA.

    I have more to say about NOLA , ghosts, vampires, voodoo, tarot readings, and Mardi Gras floats but that will all have to wait for another post.

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    Finally, there was a rumor that Guinness Book of World Records was there to document the event as the World’s Largest Book Signing. I don’t doubt it. Being one of the more than 700 authors in attendance signing was definitely memorable. For me anyway even though no one really knew who I was…yet.

     


  • Gearing Up For RT Convention 2014

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    This week I’m thinking a lot about the upcoming Romantic Times Convention.

    I went to my first ever big reading/writing related convention last summer when RT Reviews held the convention in Kansas City, Missouri. MO is my home state so it was the perfect, low cost introduction to this convention. RT Reviews is the #1 romance industry review magazine. If you read and write romance…it’s where you want to be. And their convention?

    I was blown away.

    So many of my favorite authors were there, and they were all very kind, supportive and uplifting. It really stoked the flames of my writing this past year.

    This year I’ll attend as a PUBLISHED author not an ASPIRING AUTHOR like last year. That’s pretty amazing in itself really. For the first time ever, I’ll also get to sign Reap & Repent in the GIANT BOOK FAIR on Saturday along with the likes of Charlaine Harris, Jeaniene Frost, Michele Hauf and HUNDREDS more including several of my Ozarks Romance Author peeps. I am thrilled to be on the same list as any of them.

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    I have my table mostly ready to set up. I ordered a 3′ banner to hang along the front thanks to my friend Cara Bristol‘s advice. I also have candy. Lots and lots of candy. All part of my evil plan to lure in unsuspecting readers whilst brandishing my faux scythe.

    While I’m in New Orleans, my BFF and I will be going on a Cemetery/Voodoo tourand then after dark a Ghost/Vampire tour. I’m pretty excited about both of those experiences. You never know where you’ll get your next big story idea.

    I have a feeling NOLA will be full of them.