As one of America’s most haunted cities, New Orleans is a popular destination for visitors on Halloween weekend each year. Whether tourists are coming into town for ghost tours, haunted attraction or Halloween-themed parties there is no shortage of options for a good time.
Anne Rice’s Literary Achievements
On Sunday, an Anne Rice Second Line took place to honor the famous author in her hometown. Anne Rice died December 11, 2021 at the age of 80. Rice was the author of “The Vampire Chronicles” series of novels. The most famous book in the series is “Interview with a Vampire.” The novel published in 1976 has mystical descriptions of New Orleans that have lured people to the city for decades.
Rice sold over 100 million copies of her books and is one of the most well-known prolific American authors in history. She has legions of people across the globe that she has inspired who adored her. Many of these vampires and showed up on Saturday in the midday light to honor her memory and celebrate her life and work.
Anne Rice Memorial Second Line
The memorial parade was the first time fans of the author could publicly mourn her death with a proper New Orleans send off. The parade route began at the Garden District Bookstore, where Rice once famously arrived for a book signing in a coffin.
The parade was organized by Mary Dugas (President) and members of Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat Fan Club. The night before the parade on Saturday the Vampire Lestat Fan Club held it’s first Vampire Ball since Rice’s death. The annual masquerade ball draws vampires and Anne Rice super fans to New Orleans for the event where full gothic style costumes fill the room.
As people gathered before the parade, original costumes in tribute to the author were worn by many attendees. Two women constructed an angel wing costume out of book pages from Rice novels. And since we were in New Orleans it was hard at times to distinguish the real vampires from the costumed versions.
At 1:30 p.m., the all-woman brass band “Bras Band,” struck up a mournful version of “Oh What a Friend I Have in Jesus,” and the parade started to slowly move along its route passing Garden District homes and uptown landmarks. Mourners were dressed in black taffeta and veils and carried black umbrellas to block the sunlight.
An empty Victorian horse-drawn hearse with a single rose inside to replace the coffin followed the band. A portrait of Rice hung on the sides of the hearse. Beautiful white horses contrasted with the all black carriage.
The parade, which was attended by hundreds of onlookers and participants, passed by the renowned Commander’s Palace restaurant, then headed downtown toward the historical mansion that Rice once called home where she wrote the Mayfair Witches trilogy.
The parade came to a momentary stop at her former home, as an official called for a moment of silence in Rice’s honor, after which the “Bras Band” jumped into am upbeat version of “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.”
All jazz funerals start with the first part of the parade slow and reverent and the rest will be upbeat with dancing and joy in the streets.
The procession rolled back toward its starting point passing picturesque Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 along the route. The parade concluded with the band playing “When The Saints Go Marching In” as revelers danced in the street.