The Catacombs Of Paris: Who Are These People?

Good grief, I’m glad we bought tickets ahead of time. In fact, the line was so long that I felt like Beyonce with my pre-purchased tickets.I was pretty smug, scoffing at all of those poor, unenlightened people who weren’t as smart as we were. 500,000 people visited the Catacombs in 2016, so, if you’re planning a visit, BUY TICKETS AHEAD OF TIME. You can thank me later.

 

After walking down one of those curly, nauseating staircases, we were there (that staircase goes on FORever). It was damp, stale and really chilly. As we walked down the gravel path to the actual catacombs (which also took FORever),  I thought about the Nazis who held bunkers down there during WWII. Victor Hugo referenced the tunnels in Les Miserables and Parisians would regularly hold concerts here. The underground tunnels themselves go on for 200 miles, but the touring area of the Catacombs is about one mile.

First look at the Catacombs.According to The Catacombs of Paris issue of the Connaissance des Arts magazine, the Catacombs opened to the public in 1809. In the mid-1700s the city of Paris started to stink and everything became tainted from the fumes of a few thousand decaying corpses. Bodies were typically buried in cemeteries near churches, left to rot and then their bones were dug up and moved. However, the population exploded and, well, so did the population of dead bodies.

 

At this time, they decided to move cemeteries to the outskirts of town to distance themselves from all of these dead folks taking up space and spreading disease. For example, Pere La Chaise cemetery was established in 1804 on the outskirts of Paris by Napoleon and, at the time, it was considered to be too far out for anyone to bother with being buried there. I say, “you snooze you lose” to those folks that didn’t buy plots in that cemetery because, oh man, it is a beauty. AND you could’ve been buried next to Oscar Wilde (and approximately 1,000,000 other people). I wrote a popular post about Pere La Chaise a little while back and you can read about it here.

 

So there they were, several cemeteries overflowing with bodies, some of them uncovered (come on, that’s GROSS). It was so gross that a perfume shop near the cemetery was unable to stay open due to the stench (you’d think that stuff would be flying off the shelves!). At one point, a wall around the cemetery collapsed and bodies fell out, sliding into a nearby neighborhood.  This cemetery, Saints Innocents, was by far the largest, containing around 2,000,000 people collected over 600 years. This is where parishes buried their dead, along with people that died in the hospital or on the streets. The oldest remains found there were 1200 years old.

Finally, it was in 1777 that Louis XVI came to his senses. In order to house all of these corpses, he appointed someone to reconstruct the underground quarries that were collapsing in Paris. The first bodies were dumped there in 1786.

 

How did they move these people, you ask? They dug them up, sometimes having to dig through 10 feet of corpse-littered earth. The bodies were thrown on wagons and, with clergy leading the way, the wagons made their way to the Catacombs, leaving the bodies. behind. It took 15 months to 2 years (reports vary) to move all of these remains because they only transported remains at night. At first, the remains were dumped just like piles of dirty laundry. Eventually, the bones were rearranged in the Catacombs for a more aesthetically pleasing look, with the long bones and skulls being placed in front in order to hold other bones behind them. Every year, crumbling bones in the front are removed and replaced with “fresher” bones.

The Catacombs of Paris

Walking through, there were plaques commemorating the dates that the quarries were updated (they are continually worked on so they don’t collapse) and dates that bones were deposited. There are inscriptions from the Holy Bible, philosophers and poets.

 

Before and during the French Revolution, victims of political violence were also taken in by the Catacombs. Some notables who can be found (somewhere) in the Catacombs are: Charles Perrault (author of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood), Jean de La Fontaine (author of Fables and one of the most widely read French poets), Maxmilien Robespierre (played a role in the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, beheaded in 1794) and Antoine Lavoisier (considered to be the father of modern chemistry, also beheaded in 1794).

 

It was overwhelming to hang out and contemplate the number of bones that are down there. I’m one of those overthinking types (to put it mildly) and I tried to imagine who all of these bones and skulls had originally belonged to. What was their story?  Did that skull belong to the man who owned the aforementioned perfume shop near the cemetery? Did that femur belong to the dude that let the guillotine blade fall on Lavoisier’s neck? I guess this is the sort of thing I do whenever I go to a cemetery, but this was different. There was no way of knowing who these bones belonged to and I had sort of an existential crisis: WHAT IS THE POINT OF LIFE IF YOU END UP BEING A LONELY FEMUR IN A PILE OF SIX MILLION BONES?

 

Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, maybe not (trust me, I’m not). Either way, it was such a unique experience and, existential crisis or not, I HIGHLY recommend a visit. Being surrounded by the bones of millions of people who died 300+ years ago has a way of reminding you of how insignificant your problems are.

And that’s definitely not a bad thing.

Have you been here? What are your thoughts on hanging out with bones all afternoon? Scroll down to the comment section and tell me ALL about it!

 

Updated 10/1/2018

San Francisco’s Secret Tombstones

I was hangry, it was 11 a.m. and I had already walked 8 miles. I witnessed (with my 6-year-old) someone smoking out of a bong and a bloodied man talking about how he was going to “kick Tyler’s ass.”  But here I was, leaving the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and ditching my family to trudge up an unkempt path in search of rocks. I had to keep one eye peeled for weirdos lurking behind trees. There was no one around except a maintenance man and what he was maintaining, I’ll never know. The thought of my disappearance ruining my family’s life crossed my mind once or twice.

Secret tombstones in San FranciscoRisking death (and heat stroke) to find San Francisco’s secret tombstones is just what I do, I guess.

So, this is the deal. There are just three cemeteries in San Francisco proper (which I never visited), not counting the Pet Cemetery (I didn’t make it there, either). In order to visit THE cemetery of “San Francisco,” you need to leave town and go to the city of Colma. Colma is a necropolis, holding the remains of approximately 1.5 million people. The dead outnumber the living by a thousand to one.

I first heard of Colma earlier this summer when Eliot and I were watching a show during Shark Week and they spoke about poor Albert Kogler who died of a shark attack in 1959. He was swimming at a beach near the Golden Gate Bridge and, BAM, he was chewed up by a great white shark. Long story short, Eliot and I thought we could swing by the cemetery to say hi to Albert, only to find that he was buried in Colma. *cue the sad trombone*

Okay, Tara, but why are there, like, no cemeteries in San Francisco? In 1900, after San Francisco had started to become really crowded, they outlawed new burials in the city. In 1912, they EVICTED all of the dead bodies and moved most of them to Colma, at a cost of $10 per body and marker. If a family could not afford the fee, the bodies got removed and dumped into mass graves. Now you might be wondering what happened to all of those markers and tombstones (if you weren’t, NOW you are).

The city of San Francisco gathered all of the tombstones, smashed them up and used them in public works. The pathways of most of Buena Vista park were lined with the broken pieces of the markers. I saw grey, white and black stone, over and over again, but I wanted to find one with a name or a date. The grey, white and black stones were like a bread crumb trail leading me to…….more grey, white and black stones. I almost gave up, but at the last second, there they were: “K E. H” and one that said “died,” accompanied by a “59 yrs.”

Seeing these little stones stirred some weird, unexpected feelings of regret for all of these……people? Or these rocks? Who or what was a feeling bad for? I would be lying if I said that I didn’t stand there for a second contemplating all of these discarded people and their gravestones. Why? Because I have to feel bad for everyone (and their rocks) ALL OF THE TIME. It’s exhausting.

Eventually, I started to imagine the boys, sitting outside of the video game store, their patience with my weird obsessions running thin. I said a quick goodbye and returned to the living.

If you ever get a chance, you should stop and check them out, but I won’t tell you where they are. You’ll have to sweat your ass off looking for them yourself. Just beware of that weird maintenance man.

 

 

4 Graves You Have To See In New York City

 

Trinity Church, New York City
Trinity Church, New York City

You go to New York City and you do the obvious things, right? Go to the top of the Empire State Building, see the Statue of Liberty, walk around Times Square, see that golden statue thing in Rockefeller Center. Maybe see a Broadway musical. Go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and then swing over to the MoMA. Go see a show being taped.  I have done all of these things and I’ve done some of them multiple times (David Letterman TWICE) and, don’t get me wrong, they’re fun. You know what else if fun? DOING SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

We recently took our six-year-old to New York City for a little vacay and, of course, the first thing we did was take him to the top of the Empire State Building. He loved it and thought the lights were cool (although he suggested that it wasn’t very “luxurious” because they didn’t serve food). Then we took him to Times Square, which in retrospect, maybe we should’ve also done at night. It’s a million times less impressive with all of the flashing lights mixing in with the burning sun.

Anyway, you know what’s cooler than flashing ads for Minolta and Cardi B? Finding an old as hell graveyard and spending time wandering around in it (until your family gets annoyed and you have to leave).

Trinity’s church yard is one of three burial grounds associated with Trinity Church (the other being St. Paul’s and Trinity Cemetery).  It’s located at Broadway and Wall St. in lower Manhattan which is *sort of* weird because it’s between One World Trade Center and the New York Stock Exchange. It’s right in the middle of all the action, so it’s not where you’d expect a historic, yet active, church to be hanging out. The church was established in 1696 when it was purchased by the Church of England. The land grant deemed the rent to be a whopping 60 bushels of wheat a month (where can I get a deal like that??). The church has been rebuilt twice since it first opened in 1696 and it was the tallest building in the United States until 1869. The enormous (at the time) church spire was a welcoming sight for ships pulling into the NY harbor.

Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton

There are 3 main things for when you go to the Trinity Church yard: Alexander Hamilton, Charlotte Temple and Richard Churcher. Alexander Hamilton is pretty self-explanatory, as he was one of our country’s Founding Fathers and the star of his own Broadway musical. Five of his children were baptized here and he owned a pew, but was not technically a member because he didn’t take communion. After being killed by Aaron Burr in that famous duel of theirs, he was buried here. Fun fact: Did you know that his son, Phillip, also died in a duel? He died three years before his father and, while there is a stake in the ground stating that Phillip is buried here, it is unknown if he is buried IN the graveyard or outside of it somewhere. Apparently when Phillip died it wasn’t quite as “cool” to die of a duel as when his father did and so the church tried to hide the evidence, so to speak.

Charlotte Temple has a pretty inconspicuous “grave” that you might not notice if you’re not looking for it. She was the title character from a best selling novel written in 1794 (Best selling? Was it on the NYT Bestseller List or something?) and there is a grave with her name on it in the church yard. The sign in the yard stated that a man working on the 1840s rebuild of the church carved her name into the stone, but it is unclear whether anyone is buried there. As I looked further, it appears that P.T. Barnum, who owned the American Museum at the time, may have commissioned this weird “grave” as a publicity stunt in order to get more people into his museum, which wasn’t far from the church. A man named William Crommelin admitted to carving the name, but the Historical Society says that it was carved in the 1850s, during the time that Ol’ Barnum had has museum. Anyone want to dig it up and let me know?

The other super cool grave is that of Richard Churcher who was a five-year-old who died (I know, NOT super cool) and was buried here. His grave is the oldest carved gravestone in the entire city and is two-sided, which was very rare for the time period. The date on it is 1681 which makes it 337 years old, for those of you who are bad at math. I’ve tried to find more information on this little guy, but I haven’t been able to. My best guess would be that he died from any one of the numerous diseases that festered in New York City during that time period. Most of the people buried during this era died of smallpox, yellow fever or typhus. It was around the time of Richard Churcher’s death that they started to bury people in church yards, thank god.  Previous to this, if you died, they might literally toss you out into the intersection along with the other yellow fever victims. As you can guess, this wasn’t quite sanitary and people were finally buried underground. THANK YOU.

Richard Churcher grave, Trinity Churchyard, New York City
Richard Churcher 

Finally, of course you MUST be wondering why there was a picture of the  Washington Monument fronting this post? Well, SUPRISE, this is the 4th grave! This monument is located in Washington Square Park and was once a potter’s field. People were buried here by the thousands  during the yellow fever epidemic between 1797-1825. The area where this monument is was once on the nothern edge of the fashionable part of town (Lower Manhattan) and when people started to move north, they built a park on top of the burial grounds so that the fancy (and alive!) Manhattanites could have a place to frolic. Or picnic. Or whatever.  There are approximately 20,000 people buried here under this piece of land and old vaults are still dug up on the regular when they do excavation projects.  So next time you’re walking through, after sticking your toes in the fountain to cool off, think about ALLLLL of those people that are REALLY cool underneath you.

Princess Diana’s Last Night in Paris

I had just finished with a night out on the town in Minneapolis. I was in town visiting and, well, not just visiting, but ripping up the town like 22-year-olds do. We returned to our friend’s house after dancing our buns off and that’s when I heard that Princess Diana had died.

I’ve always been attracted to tragic figures. I’ve spent more time than necessary thinking about how life has pulled these people into a subtle vortex of sadness and loneliness, even though they may be surrounded by people who “love” them. They’re successful by society’s standards, but they don’t see themselves that way. Princess Diana was one of them, Kurt Cobain was another.

I always rooted for them. Kurt Cobain died when I was 18 (sorry for all the dramatic tears back then, guys. Geez.) Princess Diana died when I was 22. It always busted me up that they never really escaped the lives that they created (one way or another) and they both died at a really young age.

Age is funny, though. Diana died when she was 36, but at 22-years-old, I thought that if you’re 36 you might as well be 100. Side note: I am now 42. LOL.

As you know, we recently went to Paris and I was HELL BENT on finding the tunnel that Diana died in. Years ago, a friend had gone to Paris and sent me a photo of the tunnel. It was like I had won a million bucks, I was so excited/intrigued/shocked. I told myself that if I ever got to Paris, I would FIND THAT TUNNEL.

Well, we found it (did you doubt me?) It is the Tunnel du Pont L’Alma, which runs parallel to the Seine River. There was a bike tour gathered around it and they finally left (they probably heard my irritation with all that huffing and puffing. Take a look and move along, people!)

This is what you see when you first get there:

Flame of LIberty, Paris

The Flame of Liberty has become an unofficial memorial to Diana and it’s quite large. I remember being able to see it from across the Seine River. It was originally a gift from the United States to France in 1989 and it symbolizes the friendship between the two countries, although most people assume it was built for Diana.

Princess Diana's Crash Site

People have left notes all over the ledge on top of the tunnel behind the flame.

“May I find my once upon a time”: BE STILL MY HEART!

Locks of Love, Paris

The chain around the flame is packed full of locks that symbolize love. You can find these “love locks” all over the city. Apparently, there’s a dude that’s always there selling these locks, but it must’ve been his day off. DARN.

Enough of the yakking. Do you want to see the tunnel AND Danny in the upper left corner patiently waiting for my gawking to end?  Here it is:

Pont de L'Alma, Paris

For comparison’s sake, here is a photo of the crash:

Awful, right? And I AM aware that I am totally a Tragedy Tourist, but I can’t help it. If I’ve got a scratch, I’ve got to, er, see the death site? I don’t know, you get it.

While on vacation I had read the book Diana: Story of a Princess  and it reinforced what I already knew about Diana. That she was selfless with those in need, loved her children deeply and was able to connect with others naturally in a way that was rare, deep and meaningful. She was a free spirit and didn’t take life too seriously. She treasured relationships with people over, say, education, and many faulted her for that. (Has anyone read Diana: Her True Story In Her Own Words by Andrew Morton? That’s next on my list!)

I also found out more about her relationship with Charles. I knew Camilla was always lurking in the background, but I didn’t know that the night before the most watched wedding in history, Charles gave Camilla a personalized diamond bracelet.

Of course, Diana found out about it, but had to go through with the wedding anyway as she was locked into the Royal Machine, if you will.  Cue the affairs, the fear of being alone, bulimia and an independence so strong it turned the Royal Family upside down.

According to this book, she was seeing Dodi Al Fayad, but it wasn’t anything too serious (did you know he was ENGAGED to someone when he was hanging with Diana on that yacht?)  She had finally started to feel free, alive and allowed to live her life as she pleased and girlfriend was DOIN’ IT! Yachts! Bikini parties! Expensive holidays! (Also, she worked extensively to raise awareness of land mines during this time, which is WAY more important than lounging on a yacht.)

Ultimately, the tunnel was a reminder of how short life is. Is anything more cliche than that statement? Probably, but it is TRUE and staring you in the face when you catch a glimpse of that tunnel.

It was sad, it was overwhelming and I was glad I saw it. I needed that reminder. We ALL need that reminder, don’t we?

 

P.S. If you want to see my awesome pictures from the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris they are right HERE.

 

Pere Lachaise: The Most Visited Cemetery in the World

Pere Lachaise, with 3.5 million visitors a year, is the most visited cemetery on earth. It is hauntingly beautiful and serene with hills and tree lined walking paths (which look gorgeous in the fall!).

The most famous person buried here is Jim Morrison, but Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Edith Piaf and others rest inside it’s walls.

Napoleon opened the cemetery in 1804 and the first person buried here was a 5-year-old girl named Adelaide. At the time, the cemetery was so far out from the city no one wanted to be buried at Pere Lachaise.

Whatever marketing tactics they used were successful because by 1830 there were 33,000 people buried here. And now? Approximately ONE MILLION.

As you can imagine, they’re not handing those plots over so willy-nilly anymore. Unless you die in Paris or you live here, you’re not getting buried at Pere Lachaise.

My dear husband was so patient as I obsessively took pictures and walked around. I could’ve spent all day there.

I’m lying. I could’ve spent two days there.

Anyway, here are some of those photos:

The juxtaposition of the older tombs alongside the sleek, modern ones was interesting. I love the little lamb on the top of this one.

This was the first grave that grabbed my attention (really, no pun intended). Those arms holding onto each other? So simple, but moving. Handshakes used in funerary art are also used to symbolize a farewell from earthly existence and a welcome into heaven.

Check out that crow. There were a lot of crows which just added to the poignancy of the cemetery.

This blue door caught my eye every time I walked by.

A grave for a child.

This was a sculpture of a person crawling into the tomb. It was a large and imposing figure, for sure.

Skulls and other sculptures are used to remind the living to remember death (“memento mori”).

This was one of my favorites.

Angels.

A view from the garden.

Jim Morrison’s grave. I was surprised how crowded he was back there. There is a chain link fence up to deter people from getting near it because it has been vandalized several times, but it’s clearly not stopping anyone.

The chain link fence and the tree where people leave love notes and chewing gum for him. In case you’re wondering, I did not leave my Hubba Bubba behind.

I saw this beautiful tree lined path on the way out.

Have any of you been to Pere Lachaise? What were your favorite parts?

 

Check out my recent trip to Lafayette Cemetery in New Orleans here.

Cemetery burials, New Orleans styles

When I hopped off that plane, I wanted to squeal right over to the nearest cemetery. New Orleans=mandatory cemetery tour, right? Well, there are A LOT of them and we only had time for one. My family tolerates my cemetery obsession, but aren’t as interested in poring over every.single.tomb.detail like I am. Can you even imagine a 5-year-old NOT wanting to discuss the significance of tomb art or how the ethnicities of the early neighborhoods impacted the creation of the cemetery?? Pffffft.

As you probably know, New Orleans is a little swampy and the dead are buried above ground in tombs. These cemeteries have been called “Cities of the Dead” and they are impressive to see in person. St. Louis Cemetery #1 is probably the most famous one and this is where the “voodoo queen” Marie Laveau is buried, along with Homer Plessy (of Plessy vs. Ferguson fame). The word on the street is that this is where Nicolas Cage also bought his own plot for when he kicks the bucket.

We ended up going to Lafayette Cemetery #1 which is in the Garden District. The Garden District contains beautiful antebellum mansions with lush gardens and wrap around porches. Wealthy people of American descent built their homes with wealth made from sugar, shipping and politics. Anne Rice and Trent Reznor used to live here and Sandra Bullock does now (yes, we drove by her house and, yes, it’s beautiful).

Lafayette Tomb
Broken granite exposing the tomb’s brick wall.

The cemetery is surrounded by a wall that contains internment chambers for remains of people that could not afford a large tomb, individual family members or as temporary places for those contaminated with yellow fever back in the day.  I could not believe how many of the tombs were broken and obviously neglected, which is not something I have seen in other cemeteries. Frankly, it was a little sad. When you buy a tomb in New Orleans, your family is forever responsible for it’s upkeep. People die or move away and VOILA! Crummy, broken tombs overgrown with weeds.

This brings me to the next part of my story. We’re walking along and I come to a tomb similar to the picture on the right, minus the bricks. Because I’m nosy, I crawl right in that thing and start checking it out. Dirt floor, broken wooden slats, weeds. No body parts or locks of hair, much to my disappointment. I didn’t know what the wooden shelves were for and I didn’t understand why it was empty or what had went on in there,  but there I was.

Later on in the evening we had dinner with our new friend/amazing tour guide, Amy.  Over oysters and a caprese salad the size of my head, she explained burial practices in New Orleans.

At death, the body is placed in the tomb (in a coffin or a casket) and the body is left inside for the time of mourning (a year and a day).  After that, they pull the coffin out, dispose of it and place the body back in the tomb. They just throw that thing back in there, you ask? Yes. Yes, they do.

As you can imagine, the swampy heat and humidity works it’s magic to cremate the body, which eventually ends up on the tomb floor. What if Aunt Patty dies and there’s someone already occupying tomb space? Well, she gets put in the same tomb on with the other body/bodies. They just keep piling them in. Having numerous names on a tomb is normal, but I walked by one that had twenty-seven names listed. TWENTY-SEVEN.  Talk about a crowded, dusty house.

After hearing the details and imagining the bottom of my shoe covered in “people” I was a little grossed out. But not grossed out enough to NOT lurk around another tomb again. Who’s with me and when are we going?

Also, to read more about my trip to New Orleans, check it out here!

New Orleans, Brightside Style

I had been wanting to go to New Orleans for years and it never seemed to happen. Flights were always expensive, we have a small kid (it’s hard to party on Bourbon Street with a kid, right?) and, well, the timing was never right.

Enter Christmas 2016. We had decided as a family to squeal out and make memories instead of buying each other slippers or plastic toys that’ll end up under the couch in less than 30 seconds. Flights were inexpensive, we found a good deal on a hotel and we were out!

New Orleans
Those streets are SO small the French Quarter!

This city has a feeling like no other. I’ve never been to Europe, so take this with a grain of salt, but I felt like I was in Europe. It was founded in 1718 by the French, but control went back and forth between the French and the Spanish with the United States gaining control after the Lousiana Purchase. It is it’s own living, breathing culture with architecture, food, and music that you aren’t able to experience elsewhere. Along with all of this, New Orleans is known for its creep factor which was a huge draw for me. The crazy history, the ghost tours, and Marie Laveau, the undisputed “Queen of Voodoo.”

Full disclosure: I tend to be quite, uh, lazy in my everyday life. So it says something that my husband commented that he had NEVER seen me more up and at ’em in his life. I HAD THINGS TO SEE, man. Anyway, below are some of my favorite things about New Orleans.

  1. ALL OF THE HISTORY
Bienville’s Plantation plaque on the side of a restaurant.

Typically, when a person thinks of New Orleans their mind jumps to Mardi Gras party time and all other kinds of debauchery. All of that is true, but the historical aspect of the city was FASCINATING. The French Quarter is the oldest part of the city and the whole district is a National Historic Landmark, which means that nothing can be torn down and rebuilt. As you walk through the Quarter, many buildings will have plaques on them explaining the historical significance of where you are standing. For example, there was the plaque above, another marking the location of the major slave exchange in the city in 1788 and another marked a building where Napoleon was offered refuge during his exile.

I get such a kick out of finding these nuggets of history and knowing that I am standing in the spot that such important/amazing/atrocious things occurred. You can’t help but take a second to contemplate your tiny place in the world and everything that has come before you. Side note: stopping every 30 seconds to read a plaque and “take it all in” is also a fun thing to do if you want to annoy your husband.

2. SERIAL KILLERS/ARCHITECTURE

 

The Lalaurie Mansion in the French Quarter.

The Lalaurie Mansion was on the top of my to-do  list. I led the fam on a wild goose chase trying to find it only to have my husband say, “What? It’s just a building? I thought there would at least be a gift shop or something.”

The gift shop comment is hilarious because this home was owned by a wealthy socialite who just happened to torture and kill slaves in her home (to his credit, he didn’t know that at the time). There were suspicions that Madame Lalaurie was mistreating her slaves and when a fire broke out in 1834 (supposedly by a slave trying to commit suicide), the suspicions were confirmed when police entered and found dead bodies in the slave quarters. She fled into exile and almost 200 years later become the subject of the third season of American Horror Story (Coven).

Nicolas Cage ended up buying the house at one point and lived there until he lost it to foreclosure. Apparently, he spent a lot of time on the deck, cocktail(s) in hand. It’s a beautiful deck, though. I don’t blame him.

3. MORE SERIAL KILLERS

Museum of Death, New Orleans

After the Lalaurie Mansion, I bid adieu to the boys and walked on over for some “me time” at the Museum of Death. This place is probably pretty self-explanatory, but the highlights included: artwork by Charles Manson, Richard Ramirez, Son of Sam, and John Wayne Gacy. Also on display was Ed Gein’s psychiatric report, Jeffrey Dahmer’s prison logs, the original suicide machine made by Jack Kevorkian, and exhibits on old funerary customs. All I have to say is that I’m glad we’ve moved beyond suspending corpses from the ceiling (those pesky, hungry rats and their teeth!).

Finally, they had a collection of O.J. Simpson related items that contained one beyond shocking police photo of Nicole Brown Simpson. I have a pretty high tolerance for all things gruesome, but that photo made me gasp out loud. I will NEVER get that image out of my mind (thanks, O.J.). Bottom line: if you are into this kind of stuff it is a MUST see. You might even want to pick up a Jeffrey Dahmer apron to wear at your summer barbeques!

Hey! Want to see cool New Orleans cemetery pics and read about why I decided that crawling around in a tomb was NOT a good idea? Keep your eyes peeled for my next post!

 

Do you any cool New Orleans stories to share? I want to hear them!