A dream I once had took place in New Orleans. A jaded girl encountered an intruder in her Garden District mansion. Rather than flee, they remained tethered to the scene – their bond undeniable.
I awoke curious. The dream left them face to face. I needed to know what happened. I thought about them for years, stuck in their moment in that Gothic Revival on Prytania Street.
Curiosities abound in New Orleans. Don’t expect the Crescent City to explain or apologize. This city built by pirates and Creole voodoo princesses wears her patina with haughty pride. Worn out plaster and rusty iron landings are a backdrop to comradery housed in rows of cafes and meeting spots. Saints march in while blues drift out of places featuring the best live music in the world. While taking in the sounds, savor gumbo flavored with an authentic spice that comes from the locale as much as the talented chefs. Gumbo anywhere else? No thank you. Add a Pimm’s Cup cocktail and a slice of King’s Cake for desert. You’re welcome. Oh – and be sure to start the day with chicory coffee and sugary beignets.
It is a spirited place and dare I say it just might house the world’s largest population of the other-worldly kind. Revelry masks the ghosts until the night quiets and normally unseen patrons make their presence known in haunts such as Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar or Napolean House (take a close look at the strange arm extending in the 7th photo in the slide below. I know … I must have taken the photo as a waiter became animated. I tell myself that, too. But, honestly, I don’t recall that extra staff person entering the frame when I took the photo… it IS fun to think about the “What If…”.) Who doesn’t love a good ghost story?
This city suspends in another dimension.
Bask in the imposing grace of Saint Louis Cathedral with a picnic in Jackson Square or hop on and off a vintage streetcar to explore ancient alleys and admire the architecture at every turn.
So what ever became of the couple from my dream? Their complete story was eventually told to me while staying a spell in the Big Easy. Unable to shake the images from my mind, my latest novel was born. I was happy to oblige to whispers carried along streets frequented by such creative greats as Louis Armstrong and William Faulkner. Need a little inspiration of your own? Just put yourself in New Orleans. Her spirits long to move you.
(A Hat for Two Heads is a featured Kindle FREE read this weekend. Come along as we follow a modern Alice as she pursues her Robin Hood.)