Creepy Road Trips
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New Orleans to St. Francisville, Louisiana
Dearly departed: The spooks in Louisiana couldn't be more spirited—even funerals involve spangled parades and brass bands. To pay your respects to Marie Laveau, godmother of voodoo, head for St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 in New Orleans, where she takes the form of either a crow or black dog to watch over her own grave (720 St. Louis Street). Then stop in at her House of Voodoo. The cowrie shells, potions, and daggers for sale might come in handy where you're headed.
Spooky stops: A half hour outside New Orleans, disembodied voices, glowing orbs, and ghostly visitors haunt the antebellum Destrehan Plantation (13034 River Road ). And when the clock strikes midnight at the Vie Fortune Plantation in nearby Hahnville, an ancient oak tree moans with the spirit of the bride who hung herself there in 1790. It's a two-hour drive (three, if you take the winding, Spanish moss–draped River Road) to St. Francisville, where you can bravely bed down at the Myrtles Plantation. You'll have plenty of company: The ghosts of two murdered little girls play on the front porch, slave spirits rise from their nearby graveyard, and the soul of former resident William Winter struggles up the staircase, where he died of a gunshot wound.
Final resting place: We doubt you got much sleep last night, so head back to New Orleans for some R&R amid headless dolls and religious relics at Race & Religious, a villa housed in an old Creole cottage and slave quarters. The owner's stories conjure the brawling drunks, cutthroat sailors, and mewling orphans that once trolled these mysterious streets.
Photo: Christopher Allen