Since Gores Truly is femme-driven – we’re big advocates for chicks and horror and want to give our XX-chromosome readers a chance to contribute to the horror-fest we adore. The following article by Nightshade Nash has been Murder-Her approved.
New Orleans. The Crescent City. The Big Easy. This place bleeds history. A cacophony of well over 500 years of human experience. The past seeps through the French Quarter whispering from every dark alley; the living walking side by side with the echoes of those long dead.
I have a love-hate relationship with this city of sin. I travel to New Orleans for business several times a year, and I’ve become familiar with her. I’ve learned to navigate to my required destinations without GPS assistance. I can find my way to the Quarter and Café DuMonde. I’ve become comfortable with her streets. I’ve learned where to go and where to avoid.
That being said, the city is dirty. It smells. The corners and alleys still make me nervous. Perhaps the echoes of broken lives peering out from the shadows in the corners of the alleyways keep me hyper vigilant of my surroundings and cause me to quicken my step. I don’t fear the shell of the person that has lost his soul to this city, but I see no reason to linger either. After all, nothing good happens in the Quarter after midnight.
Vagrancy is rampant here and sometimes the panhandlers are aggressive. There are parts of this city that are just downright dangerous. Rough reminders of the hard edges of socio-economic divides. That dark seedy under belly of society. This isn’t a political or social commentary. It is the harsh reality of a city founded by the French,
ceded to the Spanish, and layered by time with hustlers, debauchery, and greed blending together in the darkness.
Yet, it is in that darkness that the part of New Orleans I love comes alive. The darkness holds secrets. The narrow streets and centuries old architecture hint at the memories of people and places long since dead and largely forgotten. It whispers of voodoo and intrigue woven into a landscape of souvenir shops and bars. She has the ability to inflict souls who succumb to her siren call with an abandonment of reason. Amid the sins of Bourbon Street, it’s those echoes, those shy whispers of histories lost and forgotten that captivate me. It’s her tortured, twisted soul I’m interested in. I’m interested in her secrets.
However, New Orleans is not alone in this. In every city I visit, the darkness calls to me. The shadows reach out to me, their stories waiting to be retold and remembered. There are the lost, the broken, and the dead who won’t sleep. There are things that are unexplained. There are things that defy rational logic. In every corner of our earthly home there are whispers. They come to us in the chills that run down our spines, in the hairs that stand up on the back of our necks, and the eerie feeling that someone or something is watching. When time permits, I try to explore these dark places. I endeavor to learn the secrets of those long forgotten. I like to think that as long as there is someone to tell the story, as long as there is someone to remember, then perhaps, in some way, those broken souls can someday find some peace. At the very least, I always hope that I’ll walk away with a story to tell.
I am, at heart, a storyteller and with that in mind I extend an invitation. I invite you travel to those dark places with me as I seek out the hidden histories of the unexplained, forgotten, horrific and bizarre. There will most certainly be tales of the Big Easy, but there will also be stories of small towns and large cities. It is my sincere hope that as I seek out and tell the stories of those echoes so rarely spoken about in the light of day, you will take a closer look at your own corner of the world. Just remember to keep an eye on those shadows calling to you from the darkness. After all, nothing good happens in the darkness after midnight.
About the Author: A multi-medium artist, Nash is as at home with her glue gun and sewing machines as she is communing with the dead. As an avid wanderer, she enjoys seeking out the lost and forgotten in the dark corners of the world in her travels. In her off time she can be found honing her riding and shooting skills because when the zombies come? She’s going to be ready. With a shotgun and a horse.