New Orleans Vampire Legends with local expert Jonathan Weiss

10/06/2017 11:12 pm ET Updated Oct 07, 2017
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New Orleans is considered by far one of the most haunted cities in America and of course the centrepiece of vampire myths. We know New Orleans as a vampiric city because of Anne Rice’s Novels and the Originals TV show, however is there some truth behind these myths? I had the pleasure to interview most likely the Crescent City’s most prominent vampire expert Jonathan Weiss. When you meet Jonathan you might recognise him for his cameo on the opening scene TV show the Origins.  He has been a purveyor of macabre history and professional tour guide in the French Quarter for 15+ years and without a doubt one of the most knowledgable people on the vampire legends of NOLA. 

Jonathan Weiss as a werewolf.
Jonathan Weiss as a werewolf.

S: Thank you for joining us Jonathan, can you tell us why New Orleans is such an iconic city for vampires?

J:  Certainly, it's the evocative ​writing of Anne Rice, and the others who've come after who've found the city's alluring decay to be inspirational and an appropriate background for stories of those who eternally bring death, and yet never die, but I think it's also the old European nature of our place.  It's isolation was epic, and it's dangers can never be fully explained, but even prior to the arrival of the French, the area had a bad reputation with the natives.  

What is the tale of John and Wayne Carter?

J: Two mysterious brothers who arrive prior to the Great Depression and find the city the perfect storm of time and place for hunting humans.  Their every act, from where they lived, to what they did for a living, to how they behaved was designed to get people, kill them, consume their blood, and dispose of the bodies afterwards. 

Tell us about the The Count St. Germain: "The man who knows everything and who never dies."

J:​ The mysterious Comte de St. Germain...  I don't know that anyone could TELL you things about le Comte.  They could tell you legends of him, and those go back centuries in recorded European documents, though he Is associated with a vampire killer who lived in the Quarter for more than a year, killed prostitutes, and consumed the blood in front of unsuspecting members of Society.  He vanished in 1903, though I know people who absolutely believe he's still alive... ​

The Urseline Convent is known for its “Casket Girls”, what does that mean?

J:​ It's a translation of Filles des Cassettes.  This is the name given to some of the early women of New Orleans, girls of good families lured across the ocean to a wretched hive of scum and villainy called La Nouvelle Orleans.  Their legend lives on in some of the oldest European-inspired vampire stories of New Orleans, and the mystery of what Was in the boxes that the court of France issued them so many centuries ago.​

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Are there any other vampire legends in New Orleans you would like to share?

J: Oh, god, the survivors of the Carter brothers - rather intense and horrific.  Experiences friends of mine have had, that I've had, where we can't remember the appearance of a bizarre stranger, missing time on the streets of the old city, events where All the animals  on a street start acting entirely out of their character and together at the same time, murders unsolved that have all the hallmarks of someone Very much in the know not only of Catholic symbolism, but also of old vampire folklore, numbers of disappearances very much out of keeping with the small population of our city, and on and on....

What is one of the scariest things you have seen in New Orleans?

J: The sheer amount of absolute and sincere fear that many of the old families have for certain locations, certain times, certain weathers.  It's hard for modern people to wrap their minds about what New Orleans Truly is - it's something to be experienced, not explained.  But keep in mind, this is not Your world, no matter how boutiqued we've been made.  This is a city of masques, remember.  Sometimes what you think is a smile is really just a baring of teeth.​

You can find Jonathan Weiss Tours at www.JonathanWeissTours.com‎‎ for bookings and some of the best walking tours in town from an experienced tour guide.

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