I returned recently from a week long stay in New Orleans. I was afoot during the day but, since I was in a hotel on Canal Street, I was firmly within reach of the entire French Quarter. But, this is not a travelogue blog – let me give you some impressions that I had of New Orleans from the Otherworldly perspective.
Whenever you do a survey of an area with a reputation for being spirit laden, you have to be careful not to let the mental atmosphere that comes from any research you may have done overlap with what you are actually perceiving. I walked the streets of the French Quarter (FQ) extensively (and my sore feet prove it) with my eyes open and my mental chatter at as minimal a level as I could manage and still navigate.
In that process, I discovered that the FQ is a lovely area with some interesting and quite old and unique architecture. There is something resonant, even to someone looking at it from a mundane perspective, about standing outside the gates of the Ursuline Convent – the oldest structure in New Orleans. It is one thing to read about history but quite another to walk it, breathe it, live with it. I think this may be a good part of the magic and mystery of the Crescent City.
I have lived in San Antonio and San Francisco, both cities with fairly deep history, but I have never encountered anything like the accretion of energies that one encounters in the FQ. My feeling is that it has to do with the unique blend of the early settlers with elements of both French AND African culture mixing in with the energy of later settlers. Add to this New Orleans status as a bustling port with seamen of many nationalities visiting and enjoying (or not) the city’s famous night life, the strong impression of music derived from and contributing to the emotion of the city and the native’s own careful cultivation of the city’s paranormal reputation (where else could you come away with a souvenir t-shirt with a voodoo doll on it?) and you have a melting pot of energies that will effect even the least sensitive.
To me, strolling the FQ reminded me of Kat Richardson’s Greywalker novels. The heroine in those books has several unique abilities including the power to grab an “edge” of the Grey (her word for the Otherworld) and sift through it, moving through the impressions on the Grey of various layers of history. The residual energies in the FQ are like this, layer upon layer, accreted upon one another, from the early Native inhabitants on through to the present. Because there has been some effort to preserve historic buildings in the area and because the residents value the history so, the FQ has not suffered the same fate as many historic areas where “progress” has literally bulldozed away the layers of history and left nothing but faceless modernity in its place. While I was not always comfortable with the energy in the FQ, I found all of it interesting.
So, if you are ever looking for a spot for an excellent psychic vacation, the FQ is definitely on my list of sites. It seems to me that the veil between the worlds is just a little thinner there and there are all sorts of interesting nooks and crannies to explore. Be aware though, that you need to trust your instincts and avoid any place that gives you the “willies”. Any place that promotes dissipation as the FQ with its Mardi Gras celebration and Bourbon Street strip and sex clubs does, is going to attract its fair share of beings who are intent on “feeding” off those energies. Proceed with some modicum of caution but have fun!