The fall in New Orleans is perhaps my favorite time of year. While the summer is slow and the hot air drags over you, exhaling a heat that no one could ever get used to, the fall air is a different sort. It's warm, don't get me wrong, there's rarely a cool day, however the sweet mist (what I'll call the rain and humidity) feels like the air on tropical vacation.
I also find that it's the time of year for connecting with friends... the pace slows a bit and then of course, Halloween and Voodoo Festival are two of the absolute best experiences in New Orleans.
Anytime I'm asked when to visit - I always, 100% of the time, say visit for Voodoo Festival in CIty Park. The neighborhood surrounding the park is home to cemeteries, the fairgrounds, breweries, and rows upon rows of quiet homes. The park, a 1,300-acre urban green space, 50 percent larger than Central Park in New York City, includes a botanical garden, amusement park, the New Orleans Museum of Art and is the home to the Festival.
Today I'm in Vancouver and I read an article on the plane ride here about the witchy ways of New Orleans at Halloween. You know, ghost stories, myths and legends. And in the article a long time French Quarter bartender says something to the affect of New Orleans being a place where whatever you bring to it is amplified. If you're an artist, for example, your creative energy will intensify, however if you're depressed, the city will chew you up a bit... and during the season in which the dark energy is a bit higher than usual, I find that to be exceptionally true.
No matter, I love New Orleans in the fall.
As a note to those of you traveling in for Voodoo or Halloween weekend, here's a few places that I've mentioned before that I highly suggest experiencing on your visit. Obviously hit the festival, however, one of the fantastic things about New Orleans' Festivals is the after hours (or in some case, before hours) shows:
Gasa Gasa - it's in my neighborhood, features local bands on the reg and is never more than $10 or so to get in.
d.b.a. - They have great music and Champagne in a can! Get the window seat and people watch the Halloween craziness if you can.
In the quarter, my favorite music venue is One Eyed Jacks. There's a velvety loungy feel to the place and I always feel like it's a homecoming of sorts when I'm there.
And while you're at it, check the local music schedule - if you see the names Andrew Duhon or Robin Barnes (pictured above on a girlfriend catch up date in my Freret Street neighborhood) don't miss it.
Lastly, when you head out to the Festival grounds, be sure to visit the vendors - one of my favorite new brands Mamie Ruth, out of Savannah, GA, designed for creative, peace thinking types, will be in the artist's market for the very first time. My fringe vest, fanny pack and Robin's "Keys" T are from the line! I love everything they do and tell them I sent you! Porter Lyons (I'm wearing the Hurricane Ring above), Jess Leigh Jewels and Tchoup Industries, a few New Orleans' stars will be there too.
p.s. To my local NOLA friends, can't wait to see the costumes you crazies are putting together this year!