“Seeing a ghost in New Orleans is as common as having a bowl of gumbo. The question is not when, but where best to savor them both. Each person who lives or visits the city of New Orleans quickly finds their favorite haunts, which they return to time and time again.” – Kala Ambrose
Recently I returned back to my roots in the great state of Louisiana and spent some time in my favorite place in the world, the French Quarter of New Orleans. One never runs out of things to experience in NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana). Truly it is captivating, a veritable feast for all five senses as well as the sixth sense.
The best way to describe how I feel in this city would be to use the word, “charmed”. New Orleans is many things to many people, but for me, it’s charming and embodies a spirit, a joy for living (joie de vivre) that is expressed throughout the city.
I remember the first time I returned to New Orleans after Katrina. I had no idea how the vibe of the city would feel after having going through such a horrific experience. My heart was thrilled to see that the great lady was holding her own with a state of grace, while still undergoing major renovations on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level.
I traveled around parts of the city riding the streetcars, taking in each neighborhood, enjoying the stunning architecture, the smell of honeysuckle and jasmine in the air, and chuckling at the sight of Mardi Gras beads hanging from the boughs of trees. As the streetcar delivered me near the French Market, the smell of beignets and coffee coming from Café du Monde lifted my spirit. Yes, I sighed with relief, New Orleans has been through the worst and still she stands, proud, strong and vibrant.
It is my sincere belief that New Orleans is ‘charmed’. Charmed by the artists and musicians when their music and art spill into the streets touching the soul at the core, charmed by the chefs who tantalize our appetites in sweet rhapsody with their culinary delights, and charmed by the people who are kind, good natured and some of the most loving and joyful people that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
The Journey Begins
As we begin this journey into the Spirit and Spirits of New Orleans, we will be treading carefully into the Cities of the Dead and visiting the land of magical Voodoo Queens. Growing up in Louisiana, I assumed people everywhere spoke about mojo, gris gris, ju-ju, and Voodoo and celebrated Mardi Gras and other joyous occasions for the simple joy of being alive and around family and friends. Later as I lived and traveled around the country, I soon discovered that Louisiana has a very unique style of living. There is no other place like this in the world. I’m of French, Scottish, Irish and German origin and my family has lived in almost every area of the state. My mother was a “Cajun Queen” born in Lafayette and my great-grandmother lived in South Louisiana where she supported her family by reading tea leaves and making folk remedies.
I grew up attending Mardi Gras in New Orleans from the advantageous position of being carried through the city on my father’s broad shoulders where I was free to stretch out my hands and catch beads as the floats passed by. He tirelessly carried me through these parades, carrying bags of beads, doubloons and other items that I collected. I first danced to the LSU Fight song at the age of three at a game with my parents where I danced during half time to the delight of family and spectators who remarked that even at this early age I had the rhythm and spirit of Louisiana in my soul. I was raised Catholic, went to school where I was taught by nuns, played along the Red River, went crabbing, fishing and inner tubing and grew up in a state where people celebrated the joy in everyday life. I can’t really remember a weekend growing up where my parents weren’t having a party of some kind with family and friends dropping by and a huge variety of food being cooked and shared by everyone. Everyone I met was an honorary uncle or aunt and no one stayed a stranger for long.
I also grew up having psychic abilities as well as the ability to see ghosts and communicate with the spirit world. I began having prophetic dreams at an early age and communicating with beings that I first attributed to being my guardian angels. I spent the majority of my free time in the libraries getting my hands on every book I could find on the subjects of ancient mythology, ancient history, the ancient gods of Egypt, the Oracles of Greece, Celtic traditions, comparative world history and religions and ancient spiritual practices. I also loved to read ghost stories and legends. This passion for all of these topics began at the age of five or six and I have never looked back.
As my psychic abilities grew and developed, it did not take me long to realize that I had been born into a magical land. Louisiana is a land where magic still lives, a place where time stands still in a primordial fashion and portals in the swamplands open to the supernatural realms where fairies and other mystical creatures roam.
It is a land so ancient and powerful that the magic is still afoot. With a simple call to action, this energy rises from the fertile rich soil of the Mississippi Delta and the Gulf Coast and awakens to answer your call. I grew up with a healthy respect for this magic and with the understanding that this magic also lives within me.
I heard the siren song of the Muses who stand guard over Louisiana and I answered their call very early in life. Though I have traveled and lived in many areas of the U.S., I have always held the spirit of Louisiana in my heart and soul. She and I are one and her magic runs deep into my core. Each time I return, the ancient magic stirs and recognizes that this is my home. Each day that I stay in New Orleans, deeper memories surface of past lives spent here in the city. Each time that I write about New Orleans, the people and their ghosts join me in remembrance of times gone by and in the hope that New Orleans is to be reborn once again.
Join me on this magical mystery tour as I become your “Travel Guide to the Other Side”. As your travel guide, I’ll point out the history, mystery and legends of the city that you may have passed by before without knowing what lay in wait inside. I’ll also share with you which ghosts are still actively haunting the city and why. By the end of this journey, you may also find yourself enchanted and charmed by the spirit of Louisiana and New Orleans.
For those of you who have never been to the city, I’m going to introduce you to the lady and beguile you into falling in love with her and for those of you have been to NOLA and haven’t been back in a while, I’m going to help you fall in love all over again.
In my book, Spirits of New Orleans, we will explore the history of the city and those who decided to make it their eternal home as a resting place for some and a point of revenge for others. As the legendary Bette Davis once said, “Fasten your seatbelts, we’re in for a bumpy ride” as we delve into voodoo curses, vampire legends, lost souls, and the “Cities of the Dead.”
Once the romance of the city is fully in bloom, I’ll be your guide into the dark side of the city, where ghosts haunt the streets and every corner. I’ll show you where I’ve run into ghosts and other supernatural entities in broad daylight and on foggy nights and share with you some of the most haunted sites in the city.
At the end of this ride, you’ll come away knowing a great deal about the history of New Orleans and her people as well as the ghosts who decided they never wanted to leave.
New Orleans – Past, Present and Future
The city has been in the news lately regarding the politics, disaster recovery efforts (and non-efforts), crime and most recently, the Gulf oil spill and hurricanes. Each report is extremely important and is of great concern.
I worry some days about the coming earth changes and if cities like New Orleans will one day be swallowed up by the oceans and remain only a distant memory. Perhaps we will tell future generations about the city that had such a generosity of spirit, that it threw the world’s biggest free party and Carnival every year for all who wished to attend. Magnificent floats were built, people wore elaborate costumes, and everyone danced in the street wearing boas and catching the free souvenirs being tossed to them, such as beads and doubloons.
I think about this and wonder, will these future generations shake their heads in disbelief, while living in cold steel cities where parades consist of little more than uniform marching bands with small banners. Perhaps they’ll laugh at these tales and compare them to the mythological stories of Atlantis and Lemuria.
For this reason I write, in the hopes that future generations will know that true magical cities did and do exist and if at all possible, those who can will move heaven and earth to see that New Orleans survives. Her soul belongs to the Muses and the Bohemian’s who heed the call of art, music, literature, dance, theater, history, self- expression and love in all forms.
New Orleans is a unique and deeply important part of the United States that must be preserved. In many ways, it is the soul of this great land, where music, art and creative ventures are born and venture onward throughout the country on the wings of muses to the delight and joy of many.
My intent here is to share the beauty and the magic of New Orleans in harmony with the haunted history in a city so special and so unique that truly it deserves to be respected as a rich cultural treasure.
I’m pleased to serve as your travel guide to the other side. The stories and information I share here are true as to the best of my knowledge, experience, and research. History is never truly accurate in all accounts and many of these stories have been passed down verbally through the generations. As such, the possibility of some of the information being embellished and changed over time occurs when the stores are passed down over centuries. The story of the LaLaurie house is one example where further research recently by a group of people revealed a completely new twist to the haunted tale. In due diligence, I’ve collected eyewitness accounts, local lore and legends, and stories based on these beautiful haunted spaces. I then attempted to confirm as many of these details as possible by court records, museums and other legal documents and books available regarding these stories. Finally, I visited each location independently to see as a psychic and a medium what I could discern and experience in each location and when possible, to speak with the spirits directly.
The result of this investigation is presented here in the Spirits of New Orleans. May the tales of these spirits delight, entertain and enchant you along the journey.
In love, joy and a sprinkle of magic,
Are you ready to explore the history and mystery of this city?
Join me and together we will explore the:
SPIRITS OF NEW ORLEANS
Noted author, columnist, inspirational speaker, and host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Radio and TV Show (www.ExploreYourSpirit.com), Kala Ambrose’s teachings are described as discerning, empowering and inspiring. Whether she’s speaking with world-renowned experts on the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show, writing about empowering lifestyle choices, reporting on new discoveries in the scientific and spiritual arenas or teaching to groups around the country, fans around the world tune in daily for her inspirational musings and lively thought-provoking conversations.
A highly interactive teacher on a mission to educate, entertain and inspire, Kala teaches and writes about ancient wisdom teachings and how their techniques can be used in modern day living. Her books, The Awakened Aura: Experiencing the Evolution of Your Energy Body and 9 Life Altering Lessons: Secrets of the Mystery Schools Unveiled cover these topics.
In addition, Kala shares her love of history, travel and the spirit world in her books Spirits of New Orleans and Ghosthunting North Carolina. Her books are designed to explore the history of cities in an entertaining manner while sharing haunted stories and offering travel tips on how to best see the cities to shop, dine, stay, and visit the haunted sites.
An award winner author and columnist, Kala writes for the Huffington Post, the Examiner, AOL, Yahoo and Fate Magazine and presents workshops nationally on the Mind/Body/Spirit connection including Auras and Energy Fields, Developing Business Intuition, Haunted History and Wisdom Teachings at the Omega Institute, John Edward Presents Infinite Quest, the Learning Annex, LilyDale Assembly, and Daily Om. More about Kala at www.ExploreYourSpirit.com