American Nomad Blog
About this blog
American Nomad covers the best of U.S. travel—from vacation deals to festivals, weekend getaways, travel tips, and more. A seasoned traveler and Moon author, Laura is the perfect guide to help discover new gems when traveling domestically.
- A Southern Girl's Wintertime Adventure in Yellowstone
- One Novelist's Odyssey Across America
- Gearing up for a Family Camping Trip
- Mint Juleps and More at Oak Alley Plantation
- Avoiding Identity Theft While on Vacation
- Money-Saving Travel Tips from Nomadic Matt
- Fashion, Fun, and Convenience for the Modern Traveler
- In Search of Irish Museums Across America
- The Inspiring Journey of a Solo Kayaker
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 2
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 1
- Experiencing Yosemite with YExplore
- Two Travel Contests Worth Mentioning
- A Word About the TSA's No-No List
- A Reader's Advice About Airport Security
Halloween Weekend in New Orleans
Though I spent much of this past weekend working on the fourth edition of Moon Michigan, I could hardly have called myself a native New Orleanian if I hadn't emerged to observe the city's annual Halloween and Day of the Dead festivities – especially since my friend Angel was in town for the first time and eager to witness the Big Easy's autumn revelry at its wackiest. Of course, I'm well aware that New Orleans doesn't have a monopoly on such holidays. As Gayle Hart, Moon.com's Content Editor, indicated this month, plenty of other American towns offer their share of family-friendly haunts, boo-at-the-zoo activities, ghost tours, and spooky festivals – including two of my favorites, the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval and Key West's boisterous Fantasy Fest. But, given the Crescent City's deep-seated Catholic roots, it seems only natural for two ghoul-loving travelers like me and my husband, Daniel, to spend the back-to-back holidays of All Hallows' Eve (October 31), All Saints' Day (November 1), and All Souls' Day (November 2) in New Orleans, a city rife with spirits of its own – and as I've admitted before, New Orleans is indeed my favorite place to spend Halloween.
So, on Friday night, Daniel, Angel, and I donned our blood-sucking best and ventured to the annual Memnoch Resurrection Ball, sponsored by Anne Rice's Vampire Lestat Fan Club. Though it's admittedly not as popular as it once was, the dimly lit bash, with its curious costumes and Gothic music galore, was still an atmospheric way to kick-start the Halloween weekend. After the ball, we strolled down Bourbon Street, where we spied several other costumed revelers, though nowhere near as many as we observed on Saturday night, when the family-friendly Krewe of Halloween parade (which was helmed this year by actor John Goodman and Mr. Mardi Gras himself, Blaine Kern) and events like the Endless Night Vampire Ball lured many costumed spectators to the “Boo Carré.” Besides vampires, witches, werewolves, zombies, and the like, there seemed to be a never-ending parade of superheroes, cartoon characters, and pop culture references, from a giant whoopee cushion to several baby-toting Alans (the round, bearded character that Zach Galifianakis played in The Hangover).
I'm sure it comes as little surprise that, on Sunday – when a smaller Halloween parade of horse-drawn carriages rolled through the French Quarter – there were just as many costumes out and about, including many inspired by Day of the Dead customs. Even yesterday, All Saints' Day, was a time of celebration, as evidenced by even more Day of the Dead revelers near the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. All in all, it was a fun weekend to be in the Big Easy – as both a participant and a witness of the madness – though I have no doubt that other American cities were just as spirited. That said, how did you spend this past Halloween?
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below or contact me via laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com.
Disclosure: While I occasionally accept free or discounted travel assistance when it coincides with my editorial goals, my opinion is never for sale, which means that everything written in my American Nomad blog and my Moon travel guides is my unbiased reflection of the things that I see, do, and experience while traveling across the United States.
Photo of the Halloween parade / Text © 2010 Laura Martone