Yesterday afternoon, after checking into the Bourbon Orleans, I meandered off on my own. While going up the stairs to the ballroom, as seen in my previous post, I felt an eerie sensation and got the feeling the place was haunted.
This morning, after volunteering to help blow up balloons with -- please forgive me, I truly suck at names -- Ive (in the gray, pronounced Eve) Jambrea Jo Jones (the tall lady in the back) and Jamie Samms (with the streaks of red in her hair), we were in the actual ballroom itself and I felt the same sensation.
As it turns out, the hotel IS reputed to be haunted. And guess where? If you guessed the ballroom, give yourself a pat on the back since I’m too far away from you to do it myself.
Since I didn’t feel threatened in any way, I continued helping out and had an absolute blast getting to know the ladies; except I really do wish I was better at name retention. My deepest apologies to the two lovely women whose name I can’t remember.
The ballroom, and thus the hotel, is not that old. It was built on the property in 1964. However, before it was a hotel, the site was home to the Orleans Ballroom, the Orleans Theatre and The Sisters of the Holy Family convent.
I was able to go out on the ballroom balcony, which overlooks Orleans Avenue, with William Neale and Carol Lynne; two of the five GRL organizers.
After registration, I met up with Trevah Harte and Belinda McBride. We had lunch at the Royal Deli again. Michele Montgomery, Jeff Arno, and Allison. Kiernan Kelly and her husband Henry (a really cool guy) were there as well.
I had brie and apples and it was absolutely delicious! Served on crunchy french bread, the brie and sliced apples were topped with golden raisins and dabs of spicy mustard. Think of it as bruschetta but with a really huge twist.
And then the fun began. Registration.
We got our badges, along with our tickets for events such as the Vampire Ghost Walking Tour, Riverboat Book Signing Social, etc., along with a goodie full of some sweet items from writers who were attending (including yours truly) and had a chance to schmooze at the Opening Gala.
The interesting thing, at least for me, was actually pulling back and watching everyone. Sometimes I can be gregarious and a bit loud but it depends on the environment. Other times I have to be in the mood. Today, because this was something new, I opted to pull back and mostly watch. That didn’t keep me from socializing, however. I met John, a reviewer, and writers Kayla Jameth, Ellis Carrington and Piper Vaughan. I also got another opportunity to chat with Belinda McBride, Z.A. Maxfield, and Lynne Lorenz.
I met a few other writers but, unfortunately, by this point I was on sensory overload and can’t recall their names. Hopefully they'll understand.
After retiring to my room for a bit of writing and editing, I joined up with the Vampire Ghost Walking Tour, sponsored by Kiernan Kelly, Lydia Nix and VJ Summers. For anyone coming to this city, as with Key West, a ghost tour is HIGHLY recommended. If your tour guide is good, as ours was -- though I did wonder if what he was truly drinking from his bottle was water -- they not only invoke a certain ambiance, but tell you about the rich history of the city. It's also a pretty cool way to get the lay of the town.
As a quick side note, our tour guide mentioned a representative of the Spanish crown, an Irish mercenary by the name of O’Riley. Apparently this general, or whatever he was, assassinated 5 rebels who didn’t like that he was here. Those 5 bodies were laid out in front of the very same church where I fell 14 years ago. I just about shit a brick on the spot.
And now I’m back at the hotel, in my room and winding down. I'm jonesing something sweet big time but I think I'll try and curb that sweet tooth. After all, tomorrow is another day, and it begins with Beignets & Café au lait!