Vampire History Of New Orleans

The Crescent City

 The beautiful city of New Orleans was founded in 1718 by two brothers, Bienville and Iberville. Nestled between Lake Ponchitrain and the Mississippi River, the bustling port city thrived under the Louisiana sun and the watchful gaze of the creatures who surrounded her. The city has seen much hardship, from the Great Fires of 1788 and 1794, to the Yellow Fever outbreak of 1853, to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, losing thousands of people in the wake of devastation. But from the ashes and the flood waters, she has always risen, seeing great joy as well, becoming the birthplace of Jazz, the start of one of the largest celebrations in the world, Mardi Gras, and being one of the cultural crown jewels of the United States. This Southern melting pot of French, Spanish, Italian, Irish, African, Cajun and Creole cultures creates a unique blend that many will be unlikely to forget, with memories etched in their mind and her voice calling for thier return, like a siren song in the fog of the French Quarter. Come wander the heart of the city, feel her pulse in the French Quarter and be wary of the back alleys you may wander down, as who knows what lurks in the shadows. Listen to the infamous tales of notorious serial killers Madame Lalaurie and The Axe Man, both who shed blood on the city streets, both who disappeared into the night, and from history. Learn about the strong women that shaped this city, from powerful and commanding Marie Laveau to vivacious but violent Josie Arlington. Walk in the footsteps of those long forgotten, yet feel as though you never walk alone. Listen to music notes started by Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Buddy Bolton and many others, luring you into dimly lit bars and private hideaways, where the walls hide secrets none will tell. Taste our fantastic food, from the down home cooking of Willie Mae's to the fine dining of Commander's Palace and where Emril got his start, and as you savor every bite, especially at establishments like Muriels, remember who else may be sitting alongside you. Come, stay awhile, fall in love with our city, and never forget, the night is just as tempting as the day... 

The Beginning

Ursuline Convent

In 1718, the French colony of New Orleans was officially granted a charter and became a city, marking a foothold along the Mississippi River. Many of the first inhabitants of the new city were not exactly the best that France had to offer. Besides your usual trappers, traders, and pirates, the upper echelon was mainly populated by the aristocratic outcasts of the mother country. Not even a decade later, the vast majority of the population within the city limits was decidedly male, and gentlemen in title only, which does not bode well for growth and expansion. The solution? King's Daughters, or Cassette Girls, so names after the trunks they brought with them. Most of these women were among the lower class, facing a short life of poverty or destitution in France's orphanages, work houses, or even worse, wallowing in the chilled cells of the Bastille. But they were given an opportunity. A second chance. The French Government stated that these women would never set foot again in the old world. But... If they agreed to go the New Orleans, their passage to the New World would be paid, they would be given a dowry provided by the French Government, upon arrival, would receive a full education, and the promise of being married off to a wealthy and landed gentlemen around the city.

It was better than starving to death.

These Kings Daughter's needed a place to live and learn, and the church would be the perfect people to provide both. In 1727, the Ursuline Convent was erected and the sisters soon filled the establishment, making ready for the new citizens of New Orleans. After a long and heavily anticipated wait, the Cassette Girls set foot on the shore of Crescent City in October 1729.

But not everything was at seemed.

Rumors and speculation swirled as the boats made landfall. Under the cover darkness, with no one disembarking in the basking daylight of Creole country. It was supposedly several days, some have even said weeks, before citizens laid eyes on the girls, and the gossip only grew more ravenous. The girls were reported to have nearly translucent, paper thin skin, their veins underneath said to be staunchly visible. Their features, while pretty, were said to be gaunt and drawn, their long hair dull, with nails nearly like daggers in their sharpness and length. Their porcelain flesh seemed to burn in mere minutes under the bright Louisiana sun and it was said as they transported the now infamous cassettes from the docks just a few scant blocks up the convent doors, people remarked how a few trunks dropped large clumps of dirt along the way. It certainly didn't help that men seemed to vanish in the night, only to have their bodies found later floating along the mighty Mississippi. Vampire soon whispered fearfully through the quarter, the citizens scampered out of the shadows and grew wary of the night. It was then said that one of the nuns became quite a bit curious as to what exactly the crown sent over with those girls as their dowry. She steadfastly climbed the winding stairs to the third floor, the attic of the convent, where the trunks had been stored for safe keeping. As she popped open the metal latches to the large wooden cassettes, most contained exactly what she expected, books, rosaries, clothes, mementos from home. But three of those trunks were filled with nothing but dirt. That sweet sister knew her lore and superstitions as well as anyone in this city, and the terrifying realization lay before her that the Strigoi had nested... right in her own home. It was then said that the nun sent an urgent message to the arch diocese, who promptly responded by sending an official back to the convent to seal the third floor shutters closed with silver nails, and chained shut with chains blessed by the Pope. The nun then took it upon herself to do her godly duty and rid her home, and her charges, of these monstrous predators. She clutched her crucifix and read from her holy text. Nightfall soon descended among the Creole cottages in the french Quarter, and with the darkness, came silence, and the all too familiar fear. The blackness carried on for hours, with not a sound, watchful eyes waiting, followed by bated breath. After what felt like an eternity, the sky begin to lighten in the crevices of the shutters. Morning was drawing near as the nightmare was speeding to a close. Sunrise was just on the horizon, there merely moments left before the monsters would be destroyed. Without any warning, the shutters burst open, blown apart by hurricane force strength winds. The nun watched in horror as three young girls, clad only in nightclothes, scaled the side of the stucco, and entered through the debris stricken windows. It was then said that the girls ripped out the throat of the nun, with their mouths full of shark like teeth, grabbed their trunks and disappeared into the French Quarter, where they remain... even now.

Even today, while the nuns have long since left the corridors of the church, natives eye the three story stark white stucco warily. Too often have people gone missing in that area in the night. Too many times have their been bodies found in the river, with their throats ripped apart, or their heads gone entirely. For nearly three centuries people have worried reading the headlines and obituaries, fearing for the missing and the murdered. Often times its been the unfortunates of society, the homeless, the prostitutes, the train hoppers, those who will not be missed until it is too late. Strange pictures of odd shapes, from coquettish hooded figures on the stairs, to demure gloved hands along the doors, to sweetly bonnet covered curls in the nearby windows have been captured time and time again. Locals whisper of little girls in long white nightgowns being found wandering the streets of the French Quarter, or dancing on the wooden bars of many a watering hole, some have even said they've witnessed those razor sharp teeth with their own eyes. Those are the lucky ones. They lived. And it has been told repeatedly to most new neighbors in the area of Ursuline, if you find yourself outside the convent walls and notice the gray third floor shutters are open, the original attic shutters, turn around and go back, the vampires are out hunting... one will be there to help you.

The Party That Changed Everything

New Orleans, 1902

Nearly two hundred years had passed since the first fear of the undead spread among the rivers banks, and the city was thriving. The street car rolled and rattled along its tracks down Canal st, the smell of coffee and beignets wafted out of the French Market, ladies laughter danced on the breezes through Storyville, and underneath it all, the birth of Jazz was just beginning. Yet another ship pulled to the docks, yet again passengers poured out and onto the cobblestone streets. A man made his way to his newly purchased home on 1041 Royal St, its lovely red brick facade and ornate cast iron galleries making it a showpiece on the street. Soon after, boxes, crates, and luggage arrived as the mysterious man settled in. Not long after, it was said, he then made the audacious decision of also trying to move into New Orleans High Society. Count St. Germain, he said, as he attempted to introduce himself to the wealthy businessmen, high flying politicians, and demure debutantes flaunting around town. He did everything in his power to pry his way into social circles and make himself privy to some of the most coveted invitations of the most prestigious social events of the season. But New Orleanian pride and familiarity has its own powerful stubbornness, so it was not long before he found himself facing the doors of those homes, outside, looking in through the glass as the nights danced on.

He would not be so easily dissuaded.

Soon, gilded invitations with prolific handwriting began appearing all over town, beckoning participants into a night of merriment and memories. Talk began to swirl, as those envelopes not only arrived on the doorsteps of supreme court judges and bankers, but also in the mailboxes of gangsters and madames. The self proclaimed respectable high society citizens denounced mixing with such lower classes, the mothers wanting their daughters nowhere near the opposite sex, puritanical beings to the core. The ladies of the night and the drug runners had nothing to lose. Soon they made their way to one of the most established streets in the French Quarter, hesitant as they knocked on the door, ready to be met with ridicule, like they so often were from so many of a similar status. They were stunned to find their host, the smiling St Germain, greeting them at the door, inviting them inside, taking their coats, escorting them to the dinner table. They were more shocked still that not only had he accepted them inside, but the settings in front of them were for a king. The finest cut crystal goblets glinted in the lamplight, ornately decorated silver was polished to near glowing and flanked gilded china. Music from some of the most talented players in the city accompanied conversation as the guests were served delicacies from the most highly experienced chefs. And over it all watched a smiling St. Germain. Clinking glasses soon followed laughter as the wine flowed, skirts swirling to lively dances plucked among beautiful instruments, everyone enjoying every second under this mans patronage as night moved on. Soon the sun was well on its way and St. Germain bid goodbye to his last party goers, closing the door on a now empty house. But the participants seemed far from tired. In a matter of hours, the whole city had heard riveting tales and entrancing stories of the fantastic time they had with the mysterious count. They raved about his fine furnishings and the luxurious edibles he provided, gushed about the manners and graciousness of their host. The ladies twittered about his unnaturally attractive features, his broad range of culture and the ease he had while speaking a multitude of languages. The men admired his world travels, the intelligence he had from what had to be an outstanding education, the expertise he showed on many subjects, and the skill he portrayed not just with the entertainment but with the women as well. The wealthy mothers of the town listened intently as they began to truly comprehend his worth. And soon, the invitations came again. And Again. And Again. In a years time, St Germain became the most intriguing, sought after bachelor in the entire parish, the invitations highly anticipated and those who attended previously eagerly awaited another one. His parties soon became the premiere event in every society in New Orleans.

On one fateful night, St. Germain was once again hosting yet another exhilarating soiree inside his lovely mansion, and did what so many had seen him do before. He walked among his attendees, selecting the hand of a beautiful, unmarried woman, and retired upstairs. His caviler behavior had become so commonplace, it was practically a reputation, and many just wished him luck with his new conquest, rejoining the evenings raucous festivities. Half an hour later however, the party was abruptly interrupted when a blood curdling scream echoed throughout the home. Fearing perhaps a robbery, or worse yet, a carriage accident, the members rushed outside the home, in just enough time to witness a far different horror. The young woman not only threw herself through the window onto the gallery, but then ran down the length of the home and proceeded to launch herself intentionally off the second floor, her body cracking against the cobblestones below. Screams soon filled the air as people scattered for help and authorities. The young woman was soon scraped off the street and hurried to the local hospital on a stretcher. The police officers began their interrogations. Unsurprisingly to anyone who has been in this city for three hundred years, and I'm sure certainly not to our jaded officers, the party goers were of no help. They said the same thing everyone says, they were drinking, partying, having an excellent time, when they heard the scream and the woman became very familiar with the New Orleans paving stones. They had no idea what caused it. St. Germain was of no help either. He claimed that they had been enjoying each others company, talking, having a drink, getting to know each other a little more intimately, when the lady decided she no longer wanted to be there. Which begged the question to the investigators, why did she not bother to use the door? They decided to ask her side of the story, traveling down to the hospital she was brought to, but were stopped by the doctors when they reached the woman's room. The doctors proceeded to inform the officers that they would be unable to question the young woman... As she died. Readying their pens to write up the report of a drunken accident they had already believed occurred, they were once again interrupted by the doctors, who stated the lady didn't die from the skull fracture and the broken femur she sustained from impact, she died from lack of blood in her system that her injuries could not account for. 

That changed the course of the investigation.

Now the police officers believed they had a homicide on their hands, and had quite a few more questions for Count St. Germain. They returned to the house on Royal street and were met with the influential count, who must have been every bit as charming as we have been led to believe. No one knows what was said to those officers, but whatever words he spoke were charismatic enough that they allowed him until the next morning to come to the precinct of his own free will. Morning arrived... Morning left... Afternoon came... Afternoon went... And soon night fell on the Crescent City. And there was no Count St. Germain. The New Orleans Police Department, not only furious at not having their prime suspect, but also being made the fool, marched down to St Germain's door, pounding on the heavy wood. There was no answer. So they were ordered to break down the door. When they did... they found nothing. The entire first floor had been completely emptied. There were no more immaculate pieces of furniture, no ornate decorations, no lush drapes or fine art. The place was eerily silent and vacant. They slowly made their way up the stairs, praying for some answers, but all they received was astonishment and more questions. While the ground floor was empty, it was still clean, well maintained, and everything they were use to seeing with St. Germain's fine abode. The second floor was reported, however, to be absolutely disgusting. They claimed that stains had carried up the walls to even splatter across the ceiling, grime had built up in the corners, the floorboards were tacky to walk upon and the few rugs that remained oozed out a dark, strange liquid. They were not about to leave the scene empty handed so they began to roll up the rugs to bring them in for evidence and carried them down the polished wood stairs. One of the officers made the very macabre remark that it looked like they were dragging dead bodies down the stairs, and upon closer inspection, the officers realized to their horror, that the strange liquid squeezed from the rugs was, in fact, blood. The stains on the walls, the build up in the corners, the stickiness in the floor, it was all blood, in different stages of coagulation, and from a lot more than one young woman. At that moment, another division of the department happened to find a few bottles of St. Germain's infamous wine storage, and, like any good orleanian, took a taste because why let a good wine go to waste? Instantly they spat it back out, confused. They said the wine was the wrong color, it was the wrong consistency as it was too thick to be any good, and those who tried it said it had a distinct metallic coppery after taste. And St. Germain.... disappeared entirely. But the repulsive story that occurred from that home on Royal St. soon gripped the imagination of the city. They had been in the midst of vampires since nearly the founding of the city, so it was not the monster that shocked them, but rather the gentleman. The idea that the predator was someone you would dance with, dine with, contemplate marrying your beloved daughter to, that idea had never set foot in New Orleans.

It inspired, terrified and awed anew culture into the citizens of New Orleans, including influencing one of the most prominent novelist in modern day vampire and gothic culture.

A Family Affair

French Quarter, 1932

The Great Depression has finally hit the southern shores of the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain . Bread lines began to form at the hospitals and markets. Out of work jazz players nestled in the doorways of bankrupt shops, their solemn notes echoing like a funeral march alone the streets of the Viuex Carre. People labored in the sweltering sun to lay cobblestones from Mississippi mud and ceramic tiles were laid in the sidewalks, created by Creole hands. The scents of red beans, rice, and andouille sausage wafted out of kitchens from the Irish Channel to Gentilly, the splash of Tabasco splashed on hardy food to get the families through the hard times. But no matter how tight money was, how few jobs there were, the bustling sounds of the docks never ceased. Not everywhere had been hit like the United States and plenty of countries were calling for American made imports. Men lined the wharf's, denim coveralls stained from dirt, grease, and whatever else came from the crates, their heavy work boots stomping against the slated wood. Hat brims blocked out the piercing rays of the Louisiana sun while pieces of cloth, smeared with sweat, hing from pockets. The men broke their backs hauling in wares from all over the world, from barely cresting sunrise to disappearing dusk. As night fell, some men would hurry back to the loving embrace of their families, while others trudged their way to Lafitte's to find themselves a cold drink in which too often they would lose themselves. The sun would rise, and the routine returned.

The mundane daily grind of those just trying to survive was soon shattered when a young girl, barely even to adolescence, ran screaming, covered in blood, to the New Orleans Police Department. As the officers attempted to calm the girl, she made an astonishing claim. Two brothers, John and Wayne Carter, familiar faces to the staff of the ports, had abducted her off the streets, tied her to a chair, slit open her wrists, and were drinking her blood. Upon examination, she was in fact injured just as she said, with ligature marks that showed she had been restrained, and the cuts were not deep enough to kill instantaneously. 

She also said... there were more.

Astonished, and probably frightened, the officers rushed to the apartment on St. Ann and Royal. As they climbed the stairs and broke the wooden door off its hinges, they were horrified at what they discovered. Inside were four chairs with four human bodies lashed to their wooden frames. Two had already perished, a man and a woman, and two more men were barely clinging on to life, their blood slowly dripping onto the stained floor. As law enforcement entered further into the dwelling, they stumbled onto fourteen more bodies, riddled with the same bruises, rope burns and cuts of all the other victims. The word vampire was mumbled into the still, internal thoughts becoming external fears, hurriedly shushed by the lead investigator. Vampire or no, they had murderers on their hands. They quickly called for medical treatment and the two survivors were escorted to Charity Hospital, while coroners removed the desecrated corpses. The brothers however, were no where to be found. The police called for back up, and tensely waited as night descended on the city. It wasn't long before those officers were face to face with the monsters that had destroyed the innocent. Boots echoed in the stairwell as the door creaked open, and John and Wayne Carter stood in the doorway. At 5'6" and only barely 160, it seemed like it would be easy enough to bring them into custody. Yet, it took over eight officers to finally place the boy in handcuffs. After an intense struggle, the boys were finally brought in and imprisoned. They went to trail, and to no one's surprise, received the death penalty. Partners in crime to the end, the boys died by electric chair, and buried inside their family tomb, their bodies to be turned to ash by the slow cremation process that so many else had done before them. 

But three had survived.

The girl who had warned the officers not long after the incident willfully  admitted herself into a 1930's mental institution. It wasn't long before her name was written on a death certificate. The younger boy had the misfortune of being from a low income family, and only received the basic medical treatment for his injuries before being turned over to his father. After only a month had gone by, the father returned, desperate for police intervention. He claimed the boy was not his son, but in fact a monster, a demon sent from hell to terrorize the family. They lived in fear, claiming the boy was violent, attempting to injure the family at every available moment, aggressively tearing apart the house. The precinct had to take him back. The officers were confused. The father had identified the boy, had accepted custody and taken him home. There was nothing more they could do. A week later, the fire department was called to the same address of the boy. After the flames subsided, the evidence showcased a horrific scene. It appeared the boy had been tied to the bed, and the fire intentionally set around him, leaving him to die in one of the most painful ways possible. The last one was more man than boy, Phillip, old to enough to drink, and from a good family. He not only had his wounds taken care of, but also psychiatric treatment for the trauma he endured. Soon, Phillip was able to support himself, obtaining a job in the french quarter, and finding his own quiet apartment. But it in true New Orleans fashion, nothing stays quiet for long. The Carter family needed the tomb when someone else passed, and so, unsealed the family tomb. One would think, after a few years of slowly roasting inside brick and stucco, the ashes would have been obvious. Except.

There were no ashes. 

There were no remains. There were no remnants of the caskets, the clothes, or the bodies. There was no proof the boys had been buried at all. And even worse, when the discovery had been and the city feared the boys not have even died, many people had once again gone missing around the area, more than the first time they attacked. At the same time the Carter brothers bodies were found to be gone, so in fact, was Phillip. The family panicked, believing the Carter brothers were going to attack the last survivor. They begged NOPD to check on their boy, and the officers complied. Making their way through the grid like streets of the quarter, they soon made their way up the stairs to Phillip's apartment, knocking on the wood, waiting for an answer they all prayed for. Not a sound was heard. With baited breath, they broke down the door. And found nothing. The apartment was silent, no trace of anyone currently living there. Eerily though, all Phillip's personal belongings were still there. The clothes were in the wardrobe, food was in the larder, books were still on the shelves. Everything was left intact, like Phillip had vanished into thin air. The officers inspected the home closely, looking for answers, and one of the brilliant minds happened to notice that over the mantle, some of the brings were the wrong color. They also happened to notice that the mortar was still fresh and hadn't set yet. After momentarily chiseling away, they found a small compartment, with a leather bound book stuffed inside. Their eyes widened in disgust and trepidation as they read Phillip's confession in his own handwriting, admitting to kidnapping over forty people, tying them to chairs, slitting their wrists, and drinking their blood, just as the Carter brothers had done to him. but he had grown wiser than his predecessors. To make sure he had never been apprehended, he only preyed upon the unmentionables of society, and methodically disposed of their bodies in large vats of acid. 

Phillip, as well as the Carter brothers, disappeared.

Several times a decade, two men appear, in their 30's,  about 5'6" and 160 pounds within the French Quarter, usually on the balcony of the last place they occupied. When confronted by the current owners, it is often reported the boys jump from the balcony to land without injury on the paved streets below, taking off at super human speed into the crowd, disappearing into the night. No one has ever seen Phillip again.