I have always been obsessed with New Orleans. When I read Interview with the Vampire when I was 14, my love affair truly began. With every Anne Rice book I read, the city came to life in my imagination. I read everything I could about the city.
In 2011 I was fortunate enough to travel to New Orleans over Thanksgiving weekend. It was a work trip, but it allowed me a chance to visit the city I already knew I loved.
New Orleans was everything I imagined it would be, and more. I fell in love with the city in earnest. The world of Anne Rice’s vampires came to life. I could imagine Lestat and Louis walking down one of the narrow streets in the French Quarter. I strolled along the streets of the Garden District and saw the house on First Street that had been Anne Rice’s home for so many years.
It’s rare these days to have a book series generate such a love affair with a particular location. We saw it with Twilight and Forks, Washington, I suppose, and we’re seeing it now with Fifty Shades of Grey fans flocking to Seattle.
For me, though, the visit wasn’t important because I’m a fan of the books and the characters; rather it was that I wanted to see for myself that such a magical place could exist. And it was true. New Orleans has its own magic, its own charm, and no other city in the world can recreate that charm. New Orleans was as central a character in Anne Rice’s books as Lestat himself. The city was more than a setting. It came to life in the books. I saw the banana tress and the wrought-iron railings. They appeared exactly as described.
With the release of Anne Rice’s new novel, Prince Lestat, I find myself fondly reminiscing about my trip to New Orleans, even though New Orleans really isn’t featured in the book.
If you haven’t been there, you must visit. You simply must. I cannot wait to walk the cobbled streets and smell the beignets from the Cafe du Monde.
Ah, New Orleans.