I love New Orleans. I fell in love with that wonderful place before I even had the chance to visit. And guess who introduced me to my own private Disney World? Anne Rice, of course. It started with the Vampire Chronicles and hearing about the busy streets and the beautiful buildings. I can’t even say it was love at first sight. Love at first description? That sounds more accurate.The first time I went to New Orleans was in 2005. My husband, he was just my boyfriend back then, took me there for my birthday. Probably the only way he thought he could make me shut-up about wanting to go there was to actually take me! Touching down at MSY Airport was fantastic. It was like slowly unwrapping a gift with too many layers. We were able to get a shuttle for twenty dollars that would take us to our hotel, The Prince Conti Hotel on the corner of Conti and Bourbon, and pick us up three hours before our flight to return home. We were in the heart of the French Quarter. Our shuttle driver was a Cajun and with his twangy accent, he told us all about the stops we should make and the out of the way restaurants we should visit. He also told us to stay the hell away from the cemetery. “You visitors like to go see the Voodoo queen’s grave, but us people here stay away from it. You do the same, you here? Go somewhere else and eat some food, see some sites, go see a gator. But stay out of that there cemetery.” Those weren’t his exact words but I’m sure you get the picture.
Anyway, we twisted and turned down the one way streets of the Quarter and pulled up to Prince Conti; its flags waved and the balconies beckoned. The music from surrounding bars wafted lightly through the air. I was truly in love.
My husband wanted to rest, but I wanted to see everything: the rest of the Quarter, the Garden and Business districts, the old homes on the trolley line. I felt like I was home. The people were nice, the food was delicious and I felt free. Free and at home. If it wasn’t for Hurricane Katrina and the blazing humidity, yours truly would have moved there.
The next time I went was with my mother, who absolutely felt at home as well and showed her ass so to speak, and a girlfriend of mine. It was like coming home again. I’ve gone to New Orleans so much I have my favorite restaurants: Oceana Grill for breakfast, the place that looks like someone’s basement for lunch (forgive me for not knowing the name), and The New Orleans School of Cooking for dinner. Shout out to Big Kevin for the secrets of making bread pudding which I usually abhor and the best Must-Go Gumbo. And my favorite bar: The Famous Door. I still have my cup that I got from the bar on my first visit.
Why am I telling you all this stuff? Because I want write in such a way that people can see what I see and long to visit those places. Maybe someone will fall in love with a place I’ve visited because my words gave them no other choice. Maybe from reading this you’ll begin to hear the jazz music from live bands calling to you from the Quarter. Maybe someone from Nebraska will read one of my books and feel like they just have to visit The Inner Harbor in Downtown Baltimore. Who knows?
Or maybe they’ll be afraid to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night because of the monster that lurks behind the shower curtain that I described, fearing its salivating mouth and twisted fangs. Or just maybe their hearts will break because a cursed succubus and her human love are doomed to be apart. I don’t know.
I hope that’s what happens. I hope my words, my stories, will invoke a feeling of laughter and longing, of hope and fear, of passion and triviality just because I say so.
You’ll be able to find out soon. Download the first 40 pages of Hunted by Angels for free on Kindle or on your Kindle app on May 15th.