NEW ORLEANS - If you want an authentic scare this Halloween season, head to the French Quarter, and specifically to 533 Royal Street. That's where The Historic New Orleans Collection is conducting daily tours that highlight the dark side of New Orleans.
This is a short-term special event that wraps up on Halloween day. Tours, which start at 11 a.m., are an hour-long trip through New Orleans history. There is no tour on Monday, October 30, because the galleries are closed on Mondays. WGNO tip: Rumor has it that something special may take place during the tour on Halloween Day, October 31.
During every tour, you'll hear details about Voodoo, serial killers, deadly disease and battlefield amputations. The official title of the event is "Dance Macabre: The Nightmare of History," and tours cost $5 for the general public. They are free for members of The Historic New Orleans Collection.
"In the early 1800s there was no anesthesia yet, or ether, or morphine, or anything like that. If you had a ration of rum, it might help you get through an amputation," says Dylan Jordan, the Interpretive Assistant who showed us some of the tour highlights.
Dylan also explained that the battle artillery used at the time often caused shattered bones that were difficult to repair, so amputations were common during the Battle of New Orleans.
There are funeral relics from back in the days when people saved the hair of their dead loved ones and used it to decorate ornaments to remember them by. Nearby, illustrations show horrific scenes from the Yellow Fever epidemic.
It's all fact-based fright, and proof that among the living, and the dead, truth can be more frightening than fiction.