Last week I attended one of the Haunted History Tours in New Orleans. I had reached out about a month ahead to the company to offer a review of the tour. I was excited about this tour having read “CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE! Voted # 1 New Orleans attraction by Travel Channel!” I thought, it must be awesome! Well, our tour guide wasn’t.
Haunted History Walking Tour – Vampire Edition
Our tour guide took 30 minutes to do her intro for an hour and a half Haunted History walking tour. She really needed to manage her time better. During that time we were in an alley next to the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. I understand wanting to get us out-of-the-way of a busy street or something for a short time. But to have us stand there with nothing to look at for half an hour intro was ridiculous. Mind you, this is the same church we had been waiting at to start the tour.
She quizzed the group on things like ‘do vampires sparkle?’, ‘can you kill them with sun light?’ We’re on a vampire tour, we’re here to hear the ‘real’ story, not recap the latest TV show or film for 30 minutes! She also didn’t seem all that interested in what she was saying and kept repeating the same joke over and over.
Aware of Your Audience
As well as anti-Catholic sentiments. I myself don’t really identify with religion. But she should be aware that her audience may contain someone who is. Rather than keeping her remarks in the context of historical vampires and past beliefs, her remarks seemed personal and offensive even to me. It also made members of my group uncomfortable.
One specific comment that sticks out was her explanation of above ground burials not being a result of the water table but actually, Catholics desire to be closer to God. While this information is fascinating, her delivery of the comment was flippant and disrespectful- as if how could anyone ever choose to believe something so ridiculous. I got the feeling these comments from her perspective were views we all shared, they weren’t. She should know that in a place like New Orleans you have a lot of tourists, so you’re going to have a large mix of people with different religions.
The Carter Brothers
After the alley, we stood across the street from a building used in Interview with a Vampire. Could have been interesting, but our tour guides enthusiasm level wasn’t. I would have felt for her had she seemed new to this, but alas she didn’t seem to be. From there we headed over to the Carter brothers place.
“The Carter brothers, John and Wayne, seemed normal in every aspect. It was the 1930’s in New Orleans and the brothers made their living on the Mississippi river. One day before returning home from work it is said that a young girl had escaped from their apartment in the French Quarters and ran to the authorities.
The girls’ wrist were both cut, not deeply enough for her to have bled to death but deep enough for her to have been fed upon. The police rushed to the apartment to find four others tied to chairs with their wrists slit in a similar fashion, along with over one dozen dead bodies that had been drained of their blood. The authorities patiently awaited for the brothers to return from work, when they did it took all eight of them to hold down and detain the brothers who were of average height and build.”
Now, granted this was interesting, but it took about 40 minutes into the tour to get this interesting bit of information. And the bit I’ve posted above is from another blog, not her speech. That blog post is much more concise than her speech was. After standing at this location for about another 10 minutes, we headed just a few hundred feet to another building.
And We’re Off
At this point it started to rain. Between the disinterest we’d grown and not wanting to get drenched, my family and I chose to leave. While my cousin tried to give the guide a tip, she bad mouthed us to the rest of the group. Mind you, I had handed her my media pass at the beginning of the tour so one would think better of doing this especially to someone who is going to write a review.
On our away out we passed another group from the same company which had a tour guide who was very engaged with his story. I don’t think our experience is a company wide problem, just a tour guide who needs to brush up on engaging audiences. With that being said, I don’t know if I’d do this tour again for fear of getting into the same situation.
I have reached out to Haunted History Tours and they have been very responsive and are taking my feedback seriously. I greatly appreciate this and hope that this improves the tour experience for future tourists.