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How to create your own Vampire Tour of New Orleans

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Looking for the best vampire tour of New Orleans? You could sign up for a guided tour but if you want to Do It Yourself, read on!

I came to New Orleans for the vampires. Not the real ones. (That’s an entirely different article.) For the vampires of my dreams — Anne Rice’s Lestat and Louis, the children of the night in Poppy Z. Brite’s Lost Souls and (be still my heart) The Vampire Diaries’ Klaus Mikaelson…

So I wanted to visit as many vampire sites in New Orleans as possible on a short trip. To immerse myself in the romance and the horror. And maybe buy some bat earrings.

Here’s what I found so you can create your own Vampire Tour of New Orleans that includes a vampire themed restaurant, some cemeteries and even a secret vampire speakeasy!

Photo by Loren Cutler from Unsplash

Visit Anne Rice’s House

Anne Rice was born in New Orleans, and the city has a huge presence in her Vampire Chronicles and other books. You can visit, or at least look at, several of her former homes and other properties that appear in or inspired her vampire work

The Brevard Clapp Wisdom house was built in 1857. Anne Rice lived here from 1989 to 2004 – at the height of her mainstream popularity. I picked this one to visit because it’s located in the heart of the Garden District, a picturesque neighbourhood of estate mansions and stately Southern live oak trees that’s perfect for wandering in the morning before it gets too hot.

One of Anne Rice’s former homes in New Orleans

It’s a private home not open to the public but you can walk around the outside. Look for the house on the corner painted in salmon pink and white, with balcony, Greek columns and the classic Garden District gas lanterns. The black iron gate was adorned with what looks like skulls. But we overheard a tour guide explain they are flowers. Oh well, still cool! This Anne Rice house does not appear in her vampire stories but it does serve as the setting for her Mayfair Witches books.

1239 First St at Chestnut. Three blocks from the Charles Street trolly and a 10-minute walk to Lafayette Cemetery No 1.

Other Anne Rice sites in New Orleans: St. Elizabeth’s Orphanage (1314 Napoleon Ave) built in the 1960s and purchased and remodelled by Anne Rice in 1993; 3711 St. Charles Avenue another Garden District mansion owned by Rice and the Rice Family Tomb in Metairie Cemetery.

Wander a spooky old Cemetery

Lafayette Cemetery #1 is another vampire site in the Garden District. Anne Rice famously rode through it in a coffin to promote her book Memnoch the Devil, and it appears in her Interview with the Vampire. It has also been used as a filming location for The Vampire Diaries, The Originals and Dracula 2000.

It’s been closed to the public since 2019 so you can’t enter Lafayette Cemetery #1 right now, but you can see through its gothic iron gates. 1400 Washington Ave.

Photo by El Ave from flickr

You can however visit St. Louis Cemetery #1, which appears in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire and Queen of the Damned, as the site of Louis’ empty tomb.

It’s accessible by guided tour only. We took the 90-minute group tour and learned it’s the (purported) burial site of voodoo queen Marie Laveau and has a large pyramid in the middle owned by Nicolas Cage. The aboveground family tombs are laid out in twisting labyrinth of pathways which I did like to imagine have had a few vampire visitors in the night….

All tours depart from the visitors centre at 501 Basin across the street, every day from 9:30am to 3:45pm. They rush you out at soon as you are done to allow the next group in so if you want to take a lot of photos you have to do it while the guide is talking, fyi! Tickets cost $25 for adults and do sell out but there are lots of time slots each day so booking in advance is a good idea.

St. Louis Cemetery 1

Behold the Ursuline Convent

If you stand out front of the old Ursuline Convent at night, you may hear something scary: a local tour guide telling the tale of real vampires locked in the attic.

When this orphanage and school for girls opened in the early 1700s century, it was filled with young women from France, who came to New Orleans carrying their belongings in a casket. They got the nickname Casket Girls. Maybe that’s why decades later a story got started that they were actual vampires. And that the windows on the third floor are nailed shut to keep them inside.

Of all the “this place is haunted by vampires!” stories sold on tours in this town, I put the Ursuline Convent on my vampire tour of New Orleans because it does have an interesting history, and there’s a cool exhibition inside called “Eternal Life,” which showcases local Catholic mourning traditions, burial practices, and relics. The museum is open for tours on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 10am, 11am and 1pm. $8 for adults. 1112 Chartres St.

Virgin Blood!

Lunch at the Vampire Café

Need a bite in New Orleans? The Vampire Café is all the things its name suggests. Red and black décor. A wine list that includes bottles named Dracula, True Blood and Vampire. Cocktails named for various blood types.

It’s a casual eatery open for brunch, lunch and dinner, serving affordable meals including local dishes like alligator po-boys and shrimp and grits. (Like everywhere in NOLA it’s meat and seafood heavy). My friend and I had bat-shaped chocolates and sangria served in Blood Bags (non-alcoholic available). And a lot of fun.

Don’t worry, you’re unlikely to run into any danger — there’s garlic on the menu and they place cutlery on the tables in a cross formation.

801 Royal St. at St. Ann St. in the French Quarter. Open daily 9am to 11pm. No reservations.

Shop at the Vampire Boutique

There are two very good reasons to visit the Boutique du Vampyre on your vampire tour of New Orleans. They sell everything a fan could want. And they have the secret code to a hidden vampire speakeasy!

The shop is quite tiny. It’s packed with books, jewelry, clothing, art, crafts, fragrance, toys and trinkets related to vampires. Many items are hand-made locally or by independent artisans. I picked up a large necklace of a cemetery gate by Pretty Cult which I just love. There’s also a full-size coffin for your selfie needs.

If you ask the shop clerk nicely and discretely, they may give you a password to enter Potions (see below)…

The Boutique is located at 709 St. Ann’s Street, just steps from the Vampire Café. Open daily from 10am to 9pm.

Drink at the Vampire Apothecary

NEW! The owners of the Vampire Café have opened a new dining and drinking spot! We didn’t have the chance to check this out but you should! The Vampire Apothecary is at 725 Saint Peter Street.

Potions Vampire Speakeasy

Drink Absinthe at a Secret Vampire Bar

Potions is vampire-themed, speakeasy-style bar in the French Quarter that requires a password for non-members to enter.

We took our invite from Boutique du Vampyre to the address – yes, you can Google it but that’s no fun! – and wondered if we were in the right place. It looked like an ordinary jazz bar on Bourbon Street. Until we saw a dark figure in a hoodie lurking in the back. Ha.

The doorman bared his fake fangs and asked for the password. Once he cleared us, he took our $20 each cover charge and unlocked a doorway to an upstairs lair.

The small bar is dark, shadowy, and decorated with a mix of ornate furniture and Halloweeny accents.

Potions Drink Menu

We watched the bartender make absinthe the traditional way from a Victorian-style fountain and spoon, lighting sugar cubes on fire to the delight of patrons. My date had to have one. I asked for a custom non-alcoholic drink (kind of shocked a vampire bar doesn’t have Virgin drinks on the menu to be honest!) and we quickly settled in to people watch. It was easy to make friends in the intimate space and we found other vampire fans to geek out with.

Potions has a nice balcony overlooking the street, and a tarot reader was on site. We ended up staying way later than we had planned. Because when in New Orleans where else would I want to be than a vampire bar!

Being a Poseur in the French Quarter After Dark

Overnight in the Hotel Royal

This historic hotel was used as a filming location for The Originals – as the vampire Marcels’ lair and party place. You too can stand at a fancy balcony and look out at the mere mortals in the courtyard below. The Hotel Royal was built in 1827 and offers charming rooms with modern upgrades (but no elevator) in the heart of the French Quarter.

Attend a Vampire Ball

Visiting in October? There are two sumptuous Vampire Balls to choose from! The original Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club Vampire Ball continues after the author’s death. And the Eternal Night Vampire Ball brings its Venetian Ball meets Vampire Court wickedness to New Orleans with a full weekend of events. Both have a very fancy dress code and both will sell out. Plan accordingly!

Your vampire tour of New Orleans has come to an end! I hope you get a chance to try this out and have a bloody good time!

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