New Orleans and Halloween go together like a dream. I recently spent Halloween in the Big Easy doing as many Halloweeny things as I could cram into a weekend. Here are my top seven.
1. Escape The Embalming Room while a zombie stalks you. OMG!!
The premise is you and up to 5 companions are locked in a dark morgue and given 60 minutes to escape. There are clues hidden throughout and you must work together to find the escape route. In the midst of this there is a “zombie” attached to a chain hindering your escape efforts. As the prominently displayed clock ticks away, the chain is loosened and the zombie gets closer and closer to you.
It is a testament to how realistic and well-crafted this fantasy is that you openly yell out escape strategies to your partners assuming that the zombie is dead so, of course, he can’t understand.
“Hey Joe!” you yell over the zombie’s head frantically waving your arms. “You figure out the combination lock while I distract the zombie. YO, ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE! Over here, fresh meat!”
Of course the “zombie” is a perfectly healthy, and very much alive, actor who is listening and understanding everything you are saying. So much for our sophisticated escape strategy.
Allow yourself to be immersed in the fantasy and you will have a heart-stopping, adrenaline-pumping good time. Well worth it if you, like me, love this kind of stuff. Check them out here.
2. Eat at Middendorf’s. Daryl, from The Walking Dead, gave this waterside restaurant a big thumbs up. Hey…if it’s cool with Daryl. He was right. Tasty Cajun fare; alligator, crayfish and gumbo with a great view.
3. Join the Krewe of Boo parade. Nobody loves a parade like a New Orleanais (yes, that’s how you say it. I looked it up)…think Mardi Gras. This one is full of horror-themed floats, creative costumes and blaring bands.
4. Take a Ghost and Voodoo Tour. This is a fun way to see the city while visiting its haunted houses and learning their ghoulish legends. The guides also give you little tidbits of history and local culture that add perspective and depth to your visit. Plus, they take you off the beaten track to places you may not visit otherwise. Make sure to check for a Groupon before you go.
5. Visit one of the many cemeteries. The Saint Louis #1 with its delicately carved statuary and stately mausoleums was pretty impressive. We learned that the crypts are periodically cleaned out with ten foot poles to make room for the newly deceased. This is where the expression “I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole” comes from.
The St. Louis cemetery is believed to be the most haunted in the country. Marie LaVeau, beautiful 18th century voodoo practitioner, is buried here. Locals believe her spirit walks the tombs at night. Good fun!
6. See the amazing Halloween decorations on State and Charles Streets and all over the city. New Orleans takes its Halloween decorations seriously.
7. One last “must do” in N’awlins is a visit to Frenchman Street. Both sides of the street are lined with jazz clubs. It seems that’s where the costumed ghosts and goblins go for serious jazz after the parades. We went to Snug Harbor and enjoyed Delfeayo Marsalis and his group playing some of the best jazz I’ve ever heard. A rip-roaring, foot stomping blast. And reasonable drink prices to boot!
What’s your “must do” in New Orleans?