If you’ve been reading my posts for the past couple of weeks, you already know that the Boyfriend and I took a long-weekend trip to New Orleans to celebrate our second anniversary. Both of us are huge fans of vampire stories, especially Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. While vampires weren’t the sole reason we chose to go to New Orleans, If you know anything about Louis and Lestat, you know they spent a lot of their time together in the city. The Boyfriend attempted to find a decent vampire tour, but the few offered seemed hoaky and cheap. So, we created our own, or rather, I searched through my copy of the Vampire Companion for all the places in New Orleans mentioned in the books.
I was not prepared for how large the French Quarter is, and the map in the Vampire Companion is deceptive. I’ll be writing more about that in my next post about New Orleans, but to put it simply, we never made it out of the French Quarter to see the Garden District or City Park. However, on our drive back home we stopped off at the Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, LA.
Now, this is not the actual plantation that Louis and Lestat live at in The Interview with the Vampire. Pointe du Lac is entirely fictional and based on the West Indies style Pitot House. However, Oak Alley was used, both inside and out, in the film adaptation for several scenes. It’s also one of the biggest and most popular antebellum plantations still in existence. The photo above is of the various souvenirs and such I got from the gift shop or as part of the tour, and the one below was taken from the front balcony of the house during the tour.
Side Note: Have you ever wished all the people would just go away so you could get the perfect shot? That’s why we didn’t drive out to the levee to take photos of the front.
While we were in the French Quarter, we spent a lot of time in and around Jackson Square, which is in front of St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest church in the United States. Unfortunately, we never made it inside the Cathedral due to their Labor Day weekend hours not being listed on the website. It was closed to the public when we had planned on visiting during our last day in New Orleans. We also visited St. Louis Cemetery, which is just outside the French Quarter. Due to a high rate of vandalism and grave robbery, no one is allowed into the cemetery without a tour guide and only during the day. We took one of the cemetery tours, but for reasons I’ll get into in a later post, we didn’t take any photos. For now I’ll just say that it was the most depressing part of our whole trip.
The last place we visited in the French Quarter is another building that Anne Rice used as a model for one of the many fictional places in her books. The Gallier House wasn’t built until the 19th century; however, Anne Rice’s description of the townhouse Louis, Lestat, and Claudia live in for 65 years on the 2nd floor is based on this historic building. The townhouse is returned to again and again throughout the Vampire Chronicles, and though it is open to the public, we didn’t know that or about the website when we were planning our trip. Side Note: for a city that relies so heavily on tourism, it’s difficult to find information about anything not having to do with hauntings or partying.
The Café du Monde also comes up on multiple occasions throughout the Vampire Chronicles, but I’m saving that for my future posts about the French Quarter.