The first full day of travel in America took me to one of the top spots of my bucket list. The home of jazz and superstition, New Orleans. I’ve wanted to go to this city for many years. Much of my novel writings have a heavy influence in the magical world of voodoo, witchcraft, vampires, and ghosts so naturally, when paired with my love of jazz music, my heart can’t help but yearn for the busy streets of the French Quarter.
I was once again lucky enough to visit this city with one of my closest friends from camp, Nick, who is equally (probably more so) as into exploring as myself. We spent the morning roaming the streets from our apartment into to the French Quarter, stopping every so often to listen to the bands on the side of the road. I can’t explain the freedom I felt in the streets of New Orleans, the music flowed through me like the wind in my hair and my heart danced along with the people jiving beside the bands.
As we continued to explore, we reached Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo. It was filled with a mixture of herbs, books, and other artifacts dedicated to the art of voodoo. There’s a very common misconception that voodoo is all torture dolls with pins sticking out of them, however, the reality is much kinder. Many of the things for sale were for boosts of confidence, luck, and good fortune. A shrine was dedicated to Madam Laveau, hundreds of offerings from jewellery, money, or even wine, all from people hoping that the spirit of the Voodoo Queen would grace them with her gift.
Wandering around, I swear I could feel the energy change. As the smell of incense filled my lungs, my skin grew goosebumps and I almost felt the power shift. It was as though all my worries had been left on the doorstep and all I could feel was happiness and excitement. As we left, Nick pulled out his camera to vlog, usually a moment to make me cringe and shrink into the background with nothing more than a smile and a wave, I found myself jumping around and gushing about how magical everything felt in that moment.
The afternoon began to beat down on us and we made our way into a tourist shop on Decatur St. where the guide helped us to book a trip on the famous steamboat Natchez for that day. With an hour to go till our trip, we headed across the road to Café Du Monde to try their signature beignets and chicory coffee. If you’ve never had either of these, I seriously suggest you go and hunt them down! Beignets are French doughnuts that are completely SMOTHERED in a sweet powdered sugar that is destined to make you look like a crack addict (although trust me when I say you’ll be addicted to beignets once you’re done!)
We made our way down to the harbour, dusting sugar off our clothes and faces, and we were greeted by the cheery tunes of the Natchez giving me flashbacks of Pop Eye and Micky Mouse’s ‘Steamboat Willie’. We exchanged our tickets and did what British people do best – join the queue while talking about the heat.
With recommendations from the tourist shop, we headed up to the top deck on the boat and sat on the left-hand side from which we were able to view the city and the unique landscaping New Orleans had to offer. My inner author brain went into overdrive as we passed the sugar factory and other extreme steampunk like architectures. I was flooded with images of a punky, futuristic pirate, a collapsing government, an underground voodoo empire. As Nick went off to explore the boat, I bought myself a Natchez Special Rum Punch cocktail and slipped into holiday mode, sunbathing on the top deck while staring at the metal structures, picturing a whole new novel world.
Want to read more on New Orleans? This was just my first day! Make sure you follow my blog to read about what went down when we were touring the city!