Christy's Guide to New Orleans

The Dark Side

There is no mistaking the dark side of New Orleans, known for voodoo, haunted houses and above-ground cities of the dead. To some locals, every day is Halloween.

  • Visit the cemeteries. Best done as part of a tour or in a group because they can be dangerous.

    • St. Louis No. 1, 400 block of Basin, near the French Quarter. Oldest cemetery and believed to be the final resting place of Voodoo queen Marie Laveau and other notorious souls. You come only enter this cemetary as part of a tour with a licenced tour guide.

    • Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, 1400 block of Washington. In the heart of the Garden District and across the street from Commander's Palace. (Streetcar stop: Washington Avenue.)

    • St. Louis No. 3, End of Esplanade Avenue, near City Park, Mid-City. (Canal St. streetcar route 45 Canal/City Park)

    • On the west side of City Park at the confluence of City Park Drive, Canal Street and Canal Boulevard are several other cemeteries—Odd Fellow's Rest, Fireman's Cemetery, and Charity Hospital Cemetery to name a few. (Canal St. streetcar route 42 Canal/Cemetaries)

    • On the other side of I-10 sits the 150-acre Metarie Cemetery. This cemetery has newer, more extravagant tombs, many with stained glass and gleaming marble and others designed to look like an Egyptian pyramid or a ruined gothic cathedral. Pick up a map at the Lake Lawn Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Boulevard.
  • Historic Voodoo Museum, 724 Dumaine, in the French Quarter. Learn about the history and ritual of voodoo and pick up some gris-gris.

  • Have a reading done by a real Voodoo priestess (call to make an appointment) at the Voodoo Spiritual Temple 828 N. Rampart Street. They also have a small gift shop at the Cutural Center next door.

  • Ye Olde Original Dungeon, 738 Toulouse Street, French Quarter. A unique bar and dance club. The name reflects the décor. Hours: 10:30 to Dawn.

  • Take a "haunted" walking tour. The Historic New Orleans Walking tours offers Garden District/Cemetery, Cemetery/Voodoo History and Haunted French Quarter Tours. Brochures for the different tour companies are available at hotels and in many restaurants, shops and cafés. Or ask the hotel concierge for details.

  • Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, 941 Bourbon Street, French Quarter. An ancient building that looks like it might fall over, lore says it was a front for pirate Jean Lafitte. Inside is cool, dark and moody, lit by candlelight. At night, it becomes a rollicking piano bar. Some of the haunted tours meet outside.

  • Have your fortune told by tarot cards, crystals or your palm at Jackson Square.

Christy's Guide to New Orleans

Overview, weather, getting around, etc. | City regions defined | Fun stuff | Art and culture | The dark side | Kids and kids at heart | Dine like a local | Bars and clubs | Live music | For java heads | For the sweet tooth | For dogs and their owners

Updated: July 4, 2015