Ever since I began writing the Cajun Country Mysteries, a highlight of publication has been my annual panel appearance at the Louisiana Book Festival, which takes place in Baton Rouge either the last Saturday in October or first in November. I always combine the trip with a visit to New Orleans, especially now that our daughter has followed my path and is attending college there. (She’s at Loyola – Go, Wolfpack! I’m a Tulane alum – Roll, Wave!)
Last year, as luck would have it, our visit aligned with Halloween. The timing was serendipitous since I was in the processing of writing MURDER IN THE BAYOU BONEYARD, my sixth Cajun Country Mystery, which revolves around the celebration of Halloween in my fictional town of Pelican, Louisiana. Being that no city celebrates any holiday like New Orleans – especially Halloween, given the city’s claim as the most haunted in the country – my husband Jer and I decided we had to check out the action in the French Quarter, something I hadn’t done since I was a Tulane student. First, we wandered the neighborhood near our Garden District hotel to admire the decorations. The streets were packed with likeminded locals taking in the fabulous sights like this house…
And this one…
Then we hopped on the streetcar, which was filled with an array of costumed celebrants, and made our way to the Quarter. I loved the skeleton “krewe” we met walking down Canal Street.
Having experienced Bourbon Street during the madness that is Mardi Gras, I was a little nervous about what the Halloween scene might be. I was happy to find a jovial crowd more entertained by each other’s costumes than giant fishbowls of frozen daquiris. And just like Uptown, the decorations were great.
This year, I was thrilled to learn the Louisiana Book Festival would fall on Halloween itself. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect since MURDER IN THE BAYOU BONEYARD launched September 8th. I found a cheap airline fare and quickly bought tickets. Then, like so many events this year, it was cancelled. Understandable, of course, but still deeply disappointing.
I have no idea what Halloween in the Crescent City will look like in 2020. I doubt anyone does. But Jer and I are going. We’ll visit Eliza, of course. And I’ll do research for two pending projects set in New Orleans. Come October 31st, if New Orleans is experiencing a quiet holiday and I need a dose of Halloween – I can always read my own book!
Readers, do you have Halloween plans? What do you love or hate about the holiday?