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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Dancing From a Voodoo Festival to a Vampire Ball

My plans were very simple. Stay in New Orleans for at least Halloween night.
There could be no perfect, no better place to spend that masked holiday than in this multicultured city on the bayou. No city in America is reported as more haunted. And the festive spirits of the people go far beyond any conjuring on Halloween's creepy and creative possession of the crowd.

And what a crowd that was pouring all down the streets of the French Quarter. Every and any conceivable notion for a costume was dreamed up, put on, and participated in the good time frolick which hovered and lurked on the old French and Spanish avenues like some trickster ghost of the night. Sometimes drowning the crowd in drunkeness, sometimes stimulating them in lasciviousness, sometimes soaking them in extreme creepiness...but always something surreal, and typically very, very bawdy. But imaginative and festive nonetheless. And perhaps this is why I sacrificed the former for the latter...thinking it all worth while. Donning myself a disguise, rightfully so...of all the things prowling on the streets that night, I chose an angel of light to be my identity. I thought that the theme of darkness probably gets too much play time, so time to try on something truly dazzling and swoop down upon the mob in a stylish fashion. A light blue ruffled shirt...(a natural adornment for myself)..a white vest and a white pair of pants, a pair of feathery wings, and flowing blonde hair that comes all to natural to me as well. In short, a thoughtful, strolling figure who seemed to shine very radiantly under the old lamp posts of the city. Or at least that was the effect I was going for.

What were my plans? What was I going to do? I can't say that i really knew. Russell had already left the city and i was left to brave or enjoy the festivities all to myself. What a strange thing is solitude in the midst of raucous crowds. When your costume is that much amplified by the sense that it walks alone and comes and goes where it likes. As though it is floating apart from the pressures of one's peers. A lone angel strolling the streets of New Orleans...could there be anything more befitting for someone who likes to be on the outside of whatever side there is?

I ended up attending this Voodoo Festival where a large group of Voodoo attendees and practitioners were present listening to music inspired by Voodoo and also lectures about the strange religion. One djembe drum player detailed how he wrote this song about the city of flooding only 4 days before Katrina hit. As though he was divinely inspired into some sort of prophetic utterance. I only attended one function of this festival for the day, but ended up returning to it later that night when the tempo of the lectures had picked up into full festivities. This time a group of drummers banging out their songs all down Dumaine Street. The complacent crowd was now picked up and thrown into dancing. Many of these in various costumes. It wasn't long standing there until I was invited to join in the congo line that they had going. So I couldn't resist joining in dressed as an angel and all. And danced to the throbbing cadences of West Africa and New Orleans.
There was this one lady there that was said to be very powerful. She was a Voodoo Queen that flew all the way from West Africa. I was a little worried that they could read my thoughts and know that I had was not into Voodoo. I mean...the dark side of Voodoo is a hex at the drop of a hat. But these were not dark practitioners at least from what I could tell. An acquaintance of New Orleans is this Voodoo Priest and he told me about this festival and all. I dare say that I think that I impressed them...an entirely white boy moving to their drumbeats. Maybe they really thought I was some sort of visiting angel.

After the congo beats, I wandered on down the rest of the French Quarter witnessing the most amount of costumes than ever before. You name a costume and I bet that I saw it that night. I don't know how long I roamed floating about the place like a lone messenger when my feet ached and I got tired of the large crowds and raucous hubbub. So I headed in my car across town far away from the French Quarter where there were rumors about this lavish vampire ball that was being thrown in an old house. Reservations were expected to be made before any creatures of the night made their appearance. It must of been about half past midnight when I finally found this place. I parked my car not too far and slipping on my angel wings around my shoulders and did a quick stake out. I saw several of the figures all decked out in black. Coming and going. Since I didn't have a reservation and merely paying for the entrance fee at the door was too much, I had the thought to sneak into this vampire ball. So I found the back door fence where from within you could hear many guests suavely talking to one another inside the patio. Glimpsing through the chains I could catch snippets of folks in 18th Century garb. So I climbed the fence and peering from above into the patio saw lots of wigs and long hair. Lavish lace and canes and huge, bombastic dresses that had a radius' almost as big as dining tables. Wine glasses with red liquid in them. Pale, beautiful faces gleaming about in smooth merriment. Mind you, I was still dressed as an angel and sat as some sort of spy over the ivy clinging fences and over the fanged crowd. I must have been about 15 feet in the hair wondering if anyone had seen me and just what they would think. With so many people out on the patio, an seraphim or cherubim dropping down from the fence would definitely be noticed. So I opted on the normal route of getting. That is...negotiating with the door man. I got in for a 3rd of the price of the original ticket seeing how the night was already pretty late. So I entered the vampire ball.

The entire ball was more of a get together for serious Anne Rice fans. In fact, years ago when the author Anne Rice used to live in New Orleans she would personally attend. So the costumes were all an attempt at being a character from those books. You know "Interview with a Vampire" type looks. It was a fanfare club. Lots of people who are just into Anne Rice literature and yes, probably a few who actually believe that they are vampires.

I received all kinds of stares. I mean I did stand out. Most of the dress color was an undisputed black. And walk in all in white with a ruffled baby blue shirt on.
Most of the crowd's eyes were narrowed with these vampire contact lens that or they're eyes were naturally like that. And many of these eyes darted towards me. When I entered the patio, 2 older ladies were sitting in a corner and motioned over to me to join them. Apparently of these guests travel from all over to attend this. There were two other girls that I met from Wales who come all the way over to New Orleans for this. These two ladies and I had a nice conversation and they also commended me for my originality at dressing up as something different. These goth types sometimes you wonder why they wear the same thing for Halloween that they do the other 364 days of the year.

I wandered into the main room were music was going on. 2 girls approached me who were decked out as Egyptian vampiresses. Two twins that are characters in one of the books. They ask me if I am supposed to be anybody. And that I would make a striking resemblance to Lestat de Lioncourt who is one of the main characters of the night. Many of the young men present wore long blonde wigs in an attempt to pass for Lestat. In fact, the entire club that was throwing this ball was called the Lestat Fanclub. I responded back that maybe I was this tall, young, blonde-haired, blue-eyed vampire but decided to go as something else. I mean how many real vampires would go as themselves. How boring is that? Why not be something one is not...I was an angel. Plus I like to stand out. I trait that is all to prevalent with this Lestat character...as I've read him.

Then the music kicked up and I just had to, I couldn't resist. I had to break out on that dance floor. So I began to dancing with one of the Egyptian vampires. But I could not stop dancing. I noticed this vampiress all dress in 18th century black who was moving so well. And the two of us began to swirl each other around the dancefloor. On certain situations with one's dance partner you can feel this kinetic energy almost chemistry and you can move so freely and completely own the dancefloor with that person. This was the case with this vampiress. Not many other people danced. There was this Oriental women with a huge 18th Century Pompadour wing and a huge dress that almost made her unaccessible to me. And powder all over her. i danced with this vampiress a little but quickly returned to the vampiress all in black because dancing with a good dancer is a highlight anywhere.
Suffice it to say that after the ball had ended, somehow I ended up being dragged out of that ball not as a lone angel but escorting two vampiresses in black to the French Quarter to this other vampire bar, one on each arm. -An angel of light being guided by two ladies of the dark night.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully you came out of this with the precise amount of blood with which you carried in. Dancing with Vampires..sounds like a book in itself.

4:36 PM  

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