NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA -- Our city is the paragon of diversity. A few sub cultures exist below the radar. One close-knit community has ties thicker than blood. There are close to 100 known-people in New Orleans who practice drinking of human blood.
Belfazaar Ashantison is the Founder of NOVA, The New Orleans Vampire Association and defines vampirism as, "a physiological condition, where the person who has it, is lacking the ability to create specific energies needed to get through daily events, like getting up out of bed, getting dressed and going to work."
Belfazaar's friends call him "Zaar" for short. According to NOVA's website, there are different types of vampires. Some drink blood, some are sexual vampires that feed of sexual energy and others are harder to describe. However, Belfazaar says vampires are all around us and congregate in specific spots in the city such as Fritzel's bar off of Bourbon street. However in order to party with them in most cases, a secret password is required.
"I am what's called a sanguine vampire. I am a blood drinker. I do have donors. I don't chase people down," says Belfazaar. He drinks blood on average two to four time a week. He'll consume anywhere from two to six ounces each feeding and says, "I usually make a cut on the backside of the shoulder and I make sure they go home with enough bandages and Neosporin. Anything could happen."
In a city prominent with sexually transmitted diseases, there's a lot that can happen and just like these vampires, the dangers of infection are real.
"Every three months, my donors and I get tested. We all get tested together so we can keep each other abreast of situations," says Belfazaar.
Vampire stories have existed in New Orleans for as long as the city's 300 years, including the infamous story at the Ursuline convent. As it is, the stories are here to stay and make up one of the many distinctive and unusual ways in which our city is like no other.
They live among us, says Zaar, "we are all around you. I know some that teach. I know some that are in churches. I know some that are in restaurants and some that work in bars."
In case you are wondering how NOVA formed, it was created in 2007 to help feed the homeless after hurricane Katrina. You can find them at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas in Jackson Square passing out food.
Perhaps you are curious? You can quench your thirst for information here.