In early March, I returned to my beloved New Orleans. A favorite city of mine for many years, I was very excited to have been able to return in order to attend the Bella Nola 2023 book signing event!
We began with a long drive, about 14 hours total. We broke the trip up over two days for peace of mind and reached the city around 6pm on Thursday night. Despite our exhaustion from the drive, we just HAD to make our way to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. As has become our tradition over the years, we began the trip with dinner at Acme Oyster House!
A staple of New Orleans since 1910, they are known not only for their oysters but also their fried fish platters and po’boys! Lots of tasty, fried goodness! Heart healthy? Not really. Deliciousness? Yes
The next day we leisurely explored the city, trying some local beer and food throughout the city. And made a walk down Bourbon Street in the daylight hours. This included lunch at the famed Mr. B’s Bistro. As you may have guessed, my husband and I are amateur foodies, so this city really is a playground for us.
That evening, we met up with some old friends, Lestat & Louis, who we’ve become close to over many years of attending the cities numerous vampire balls.
Saturday was the morning of the Bella Nola book signing at the Hilton Riverside Hotel. I had a good time meeting with fans and getting to know some fellow authors in the paranormal and romance genres. This was my first in-person signing event since Covid began and it was great to be out with fans again. A truly lovely event.
After everyone wrapped up a successful event, we then headed down to another New Orleans tradition, a bar called the Howlin’ Wolf. If you’ve never had an alligator hot dog, this is the place to try! They have a small menu, but I have yet to try anything that is not incredible! They also serve a fun selection of local beers and frequently host local bands.
That night, we met up with a circle of friends at their house where we spent the evening catching up, visiting and playing a fun game of Cards Against Humanity (For the record…I won!)
The next day was our last in New Orleans. We met with friends for a mid-morning brunch at Brennan’s. Established in 1946, Brennan’s is another long-time favorite in New Orleans, known for its Benedicts, extensive champagne list, and famous table-side banana fosters. Everything was excellent, from the scrumptious food to the comfortable atmosphere to some of the best service I have ever experienced.
We all had a wonderful time, spending over two hours visiting and savoring the food while enjoying each other’s company. Then, after a heartfelt goodbye, we went our separate ways. Hopefully, all of us, soon to return.
However, we could not leave my beloved city without making a final stop.
For those unaware, Anne Rice had a profound influence on both my academic and professional writing career. My MA degree in modern literary cultures has an emphasis on vampire literature. I not only took vampire-themed master courses but also wrote my dissertation on the works of Anne Rice. I have since lectured on her novels around the world, from California to New Zealand to the sacred halls of Oxford. I was also lucky enough to meet with Ms. Rice on multiple occasions. She was always an encouraging and insightful person who encouraged both my academic and creative work. Losing Anne in December of 2021 was a heartbreaking loss both to the gothic community and to me on a personal level; as I lost a mentor, an inspiration, and a friend. I was grateful to be able to lay flowers at Anne’s final place of rest and say a small thank you for all the ways she changed my life for the better.