Sunday, January 26, 2014

New Orleans - Saint Louis Cemetery Number One

Some people get creeped out by cemeteries, but it isn't something that bothers Frankie or me.

Unless we are in one and it is dark when suddenly a thick menacing fog rolls in followed by music made for scary parts in movies.  If that is the case, we run.  We run so fast and so hard. And trust me, we are not people who run!

We have been to several cemeteries in our travels and New Orleans was no exception.  But for us the cemeteries in New Orleans are way different that what we are use to growing up in west Texas or where we live now in south Texas.  All our cemeteries have people buried underground and they are spaced out and in nice neat rows.  Also, they aren't really much older than the early to mid 1800's.

Saint Louis Cemetery Number One is none of the things we were use to!

Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

According to this sign...

Description of Multiple Burials Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

Saint Louis Cemetery Number One is one of the oldest burial grounds in the Mississippi valley beginning in 1789 and is still in use TODAY.

Think about this, the cemetery isn't getting any bigger but more and more people keep getting buried there.

The sign goes on to say...that it is the custom in New Orleans to have multiple burials in the tombs and vaults. When space in a tomb is re-used the remains of previous burials are lowered into a receptacle below the ground level or placed in the back or side of the vault.

This place is old and there are many parts that show its age.

Broken Marker and Tomb Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

I think something escaped from this one...

Opened Tomb Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

So speaking of tombs and vaults, (I was sort of talking about them...) they are all above ground.

Above Ground Tombs Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

This has to do with the fact that New Orleans is below sea level and has the tendency to flood.  With that being the case, if there were burials underground the tombs and caskets would be unearthed and we just can't have that.  In addition to that, New Orleans was swampy and prime real estate would be on higher ground which is more suitable for the living than the dead.

There were several types of tombs and vaults.

These were called "oven vaults".  All I can think of is pizza ovens and I don't want to associate pizza with cemeteries but the damage is done.  Good thing there is no real affect on me.

Oven Vaults Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

There were some stacked vaults.

Tall Mulitple Tomb Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

There were some very elaborate tombs.

Italia Multiple Tomb Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

There was even a tomb for Nicolas Cage. No he hasn't died. It is his future place of rest in this world. It just happens to be in the shape of a pyramid....National Treasure, anyone?

Nicolas Cage's Future Burial Site Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

Nicolas Cage's Future Burial Site from Side Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

Cemeteries are filled with very ornate details.  Some people put a lot of money into making their loved one's graves look nice.  Of course, in New Orleans, that very well may be your grave eventually or your great-grandchildren's grave so I could see that.

Let me show you just some of the details, some taken care of and others not so much anymore.

Drawer Pull on Italia Tomb Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

Lion Pull on Tomb Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

Iron Cross with Medallion Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

Medallion in Middle of Iron Cross Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

Gated Tomb Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

Flower Detail on Fence Around Tomb Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

Legend has it that Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen, is buried in Saint Louis Cemetery Number One.  She doesn't have her own tomb but is believed to be buried in the Glapion family tomb. Louis Christophe Dominick Duminy de Glapion (now that's a name!) was her, for lack of a better word, husband.  They were not married because by law interracial couples couldn't in that time and place.

Tomb of Marie Laveau the Voodoo Queen Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

Notice the three red x's on the tomb.  That is from someone who has made a wish or request from Marie Laveau and they place the x's there to guarantee that it will happen for them.  That is what I have read anyways.  I don't know much about it and don't believe in it so I could be way off.  Let me know (kindly) if I am.

People also leave gifts for the Voodoo Queen as you can see on the ground.  I do have a closer picture of that.

Gifts Left for Marie Laveau Voodoo Queen Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

One last thing I want to share with you from the Saint Louis Cemetery Number One is the following.

Shopping Cart in Middle of Saint Louis Cemetery Number One New Orleans LA

This is either the cheapest tomb in the place or just funny or both!

My next post about our trip to New Orleans will be about the few museums we went to while there.

Until then!

Friday, January 24, 2014

New Orleans - French Quarter Oddities

There is a motto in Austin, Texas that say, "Keep Austin Weird".  I am here to tell you that New Orleans is so far past this that they probably don't even realize that they have any weirdness in the entire city.  I saw things that I have NEVER seen before in real life.  Now, maybe I live a sheltered life.  I am willing to admit it, but be that as it may, the French Quarter has got some oddities in it!  Let me tell you what!

I like oddities.  There is so much mundane repetition in my life (wake-up, got to work, come home, sleep, repeat) that discovering things that are different becomes exhilarating.  I don't need skydiving to get a thrill, I just need to see something new.  That's why we travel.

On to the odd!

Over and over we saw things dealing with psychics and voodoo.  I am sure there are still some who truly believe and practice but the stuff we saw had to be mainly for the tourist. I personally don't believe in any of it, but I did find it interesting.

We didn't have any readings done, although the opportunities were there.

Bottom of the Cup Tea Room Psychic Readings New Orleans LA

Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo New Orleans LA

Before going on this trip I was looking for attractions.  I saw that there was a voodoo museum.  Well, this we must see!

The official name is New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum.  It isn't very big, just two rooms and a hallway plus the small entrance room that also doubles as a gift shop.  And in case you get lost (I guess someone could...if they were blindfolded), there is a sign showing you the way.

Voodoo Museum Sign New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

Let's begin, shall we?

Skeleton and Gator Head New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

Now, some people might be disturbed by skulls filled with coins.

Skull with Coins in Eye New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

Even if some are fake.

Skull with Coins New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

But I gotta tell you, I really liked this one.

Skull with Cigar and Coins New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

So the deal with all the coins? I think it has something to do with this.

Direction for Voodoo Wishing Stump New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

Giving money to have wishes granted. Again, not something I believe in but some people apparently do, because there were coins EVERYWHERE.

Face with Coins New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

This next photo turned out the creepiest.

Frankie's Reflection in Voodoo Doll Case New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

At first glance it just seems like voodoo dolls in a glass case.  But then look again.  

Do you see it yet?  

It is in the bottom left corner.  

There is a reflection of a person in that glass!

Ok, don't get too freaked out.  It is just Frankie who was standing behind me cocking his head because he is becoming impatient that I wanted to take just one more picture in a museum that he never wanted to go to in the first place.  It's all good.

Done with the museum, here are just a few more of the oddities we saw in the French Quarter.

This one actually disturbs me some.  If you think about the size of those alligator heads, it means they were just babies.  That makes me sad.

Alligator Heads New Orleans LA

The Cornstalk Fence Hotel made me wonder why.  Just why is it called that??  Where did the fence come from.  Did the fence come first or the hotel?

Cornstalk Fence Hotel New Orleans LA

Since being home, I have now looked up the why and it is actually a sweet story.  According to the hotel's website:
There is a lovely story of the early owner who brought his young bride to live here far from her native Iowa. To soften some of her loneliness for the waving fields of corn back home, he caused this replica to be made in graceful iron so that from her front gallery she could forever see something of her native land.
D'awh!  Too precious!

So I move from the precious to the "huh??"

Devil in New Orleans LA

You might not be able to tell in the picture but it was pouring down rain.  Frankie and I stopped in a cafe to get something to drink and hide from the rain when we see this guy dressed as a red devil in platform shoes just strolling by.  As I said in the beginning, the French Quarter is so weird that they don't even know it.

I was wondering if he was a street performer like this next guy, but I never saw him again.  Who knows.

The next guy stayed in this position the entire time we had him in our sights.  How he kept his foot flexed and his arm back like that for any amount of time is amazing.  I was looking for something online and saw another picture of him dated 2011, so he has been street performing for awhile now with the same act.  I am sure he has built up those muscles.

Frozen Street Performer New Orleans LA

I saved the best oddity for last.  I just laughed and laughed and laughed at these mermen Christmas ornaments.  Are they fabulous?!

Mermen Christmas Ornaments New Orleans LA

That is all I have for this post.  My next post about our Christmas trip to New Orleans will be about one of the cemeteries we visited while there.

Until then!

New Orleans - French Quarter Awesomeness

In my last post I shared with you the decor of the French Quarter that we saw in New Orleans.  In this post I would like to share some of the amazing things that we saw while there.

Let me start with something that a lot of people probably would never even notice. It was just a bunch of Mardi Gras beads hanging on a fence, but it really caught my eye. I love finding things that are often overlooked.

Madi Gras Beads  on Fence  New Orleans LA

Then we have the streetcars, which you can't miss. They are fun to look at on the street.

Red Streetcar  New Orleans LA

They are fun to look at from the hotel.

St Charles Streetcar New Orleans LA

They are even more fun to ride in.

On the St Charles Streetcar New Orleans LA

And they are even fun to replicate in art!

Streetcar Art New Orleans LA

As we wandered around the French Quarter we stumbled on many things (not literally, that would have been annoying and painful after awhile). One of these was a statue tucked into an alleyway. It was raining and we ducked into a breezeway for a slight reprieve.  The statue at the fountain looked so cool in the falling rain. The picture really doesn't do it justice.

Woman at Fountain in French Quarter New Orleans LA

In the French Quarter there is a French marketplace that sells food, New Orleans paraphernalia, and other various and sundry things.  I am saving the food related items for another post dedicated strictly to the food and drink of New Orleans.  It's going to be beautiful, you just wait!  There will be coffee, beignets, and all kinds of wonderful delicious mouthwatering....

...oh sorry, my thoughts got distracted by food. That happens more than I will admit.  Back to the topic, the awesomeness found in the French marketplace.  Check these out!

Mardi Gras Beads French Market New Orleans LA

Mardi Gras Boubloons French Market New Orleans LA

Labeled Voodoo Dolls French Market New Orleans LA

If those are not the epitome of New Orleans, then I don't know what is!  I have some more photos to share of things we saw that just SCREAMED New Orleans.

Carnival mask.

Mardi Gras Mask New Orleans LA

Colorful feather boas.

Jennifer and Feather Boas New Orleans LA

Even got Frankie in on the boas. Can't get a serious photo of him, but you get the idea.

Frankie and Feather Boas New Orleans LA

St. Louis Cathedral.  We wanted to go in but all the times we went by the gate was locked.  We were really disappointed by that.  I bet it is beautiful inside.

St Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square New Orleans LA

The Musical Legends Park where they had statues of some of the great Jazz musicians.  There is also free live Jazz music and it is at a Cafe Beignet, where we stopped and got coffee and some beignet (French donuts).

Fats Domino-Al Jumbo Hirt-Pete Fountain at Musical Legends Park Cafe Beignet New Orleans LA

When you think of New Orleans, all those things mentioned above should come to mind.  Another thing that you  might think about is the river running through New Orleans.  One side of the French Quarter lies on the Mississippi River, so of course, we had to go see it while we were there!

Mississippi River and Bridge New Orleans LA

It's so pretty!  Speaking of pretty, we also walked to and through Louis Armstrong Park.  It was peaceful and I would love to relax there some warm spring day reading a book.  Let me share so you too can be nice and relaxed.

This is the main entrance to the park.  At night it lights up.  We didn't see it at night but if you would like to see an example click here and it will take to you a photo.

Louis Armstrong Park Entrance New Orleans LA

It would have been so amazing to see a Jazz band march by but this was as close as we got to seeing that.

Street Jazz Statue Louis Armstrong Park New Orleans LA

This is my favorite picture from the park.  I can feel the stress melt away just looking at it!

River in Louis Armstrong Park New Orleans LA

We saw Louis Armstrong himself....well not literally seeing how passed away over 40 years not in the flesh, but in the bronze.

Louis Armstrong Statue in Louis Armstrong Park New Orleans LA

The last set of photos I would like to share with you are just a random mix of the awesomeness found in the French Quarter.

Is this statue hailing a bus?  This is right near a bus stop after all.

Hailing Cab Statue outside of Louis Armstrong Park New Orleans LA

I liked the sign.  I liked what it said.  I like that it was yellow.  Could it get any better?  Oh! Maybe if I saw it lit up...yes, that would make it better!

Cajun Southern Food Sign New Orleans LA

I call these "Thumbprint Spheres", the artists on the other hand called them "River Stones".


To each their own.

River Stones by Terry Weldon New Orleans LA

This sign CRACKED me up!

Don't EvenThink of Parking Here Sign New Orleans LA

As we walked along I saw this house address and I know I got way too excited but I couldn't help it!  When was the last time you saw equivalent fractions unexpectedly??  I love whoever lives here.  I want to live with them.  They would understand me and my math ways. I bet they would even get my corny math jokes.  They would be my best friends!

Dear people at this address,
If you ever see this post please contact me.  We are already besties!
Sincerely Love, Jennifer

Equivalent Fraction House Address New Orleans LA

But hopefully they don't live here because I couldn't afford this rent...

For Rent Sign and Pricing for One Bedroom Apt in the French Quarters New Orleans LA

And finally, we were still in the south people, what can I say?

Peace Yall Christmas Lights New Orleans LA

I have talked about the decor and the awesomeness of the French Quarter.  My next post has to be all about the oddities of the French Quarter!  So stay tuned for that!

Until then.