I had several reason to run to New Orleans; the food, the music, the nightlife, the culture, the history. Although all individually incredible and together outstanding, nothing could beat the opportunity to shoot among the tombs of New Orleans on All Hallows’ Eve. That was the draw. That’s why I booked my ticket.
You stroll through the lone gates of the eight foot wall that surrounds the sacred ground and immediately find yourself in the court of the greatest demographic of New Orleans’ population. The bodies left behind by the departed outnumber the soulful 10-to-1. Four million dead are within the city limits, some buried within the ground but many in tombs above it. And the tombed graveyards, introduced by the French in the early 1700’s, have rightfully received the title The Cities of the Dead.
The cold city of decayed brick and marble, roads weaving together the beautiful and the ruined, you find yourself among the most intriguing citizens. Marie Laveau, the voodoo priestess, likely the most famous. She’s accompanied by the much despised brothel madam Josie Arlington; the French pirate, Jean Lafitte; and 19th century serial killer Dauphine LaLaurie. And as colourful the lives of those within the tombs, so are the stories that resonate afterward. From fiery mausoleums, to roaming statues, to tales of visitors dying at the foot of crypts.
The dead truly are the most lively characters.
Allhallowtide is the three days that covers October 31st – November 2nd; All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. On the first day the veil believed the living and dead is thought to be thinned. We wear the masks as not to be recognized by wandering souls. To be fair, if its voodoo priestesses, pirates and serial killers doing the wandering, I wouldn’t care much to be recognized either.
A quick shout-out to Matt Barnes. His work in New Orleans was definitely an inspiration for this project (although I left Baron Samedi behind).