I have to hand it to my guide for the Vampire tour in New Orleans: He certainly looked the part.
Gwydion — as he introduced himself — looked like he was straight out of “The Lost Boys” with his long hair and leather jacket. He gave the tour run by Haunted History Tours a hip, gothic vibe rather than a cartoony “I vant to suck your blahd” feel, not that I would have minded that interesting approach either.
The 90-minute walking tour takes visitors around the French Quarter to various locations associated with vampires, according to Gwydion, though some tales had little to do with drinking blood and seemed more appropriate for a ghost tour (Haunted History gives those as well).
The tour includes a stop outside the old Ursuline Convent for a story that “explains the folklore of how the vampires got here via the casket girls,” said Haunted History Tours’ Kalila Smith, by email. “According to folklore, this was the place where vampires came to the New World from France. It is why all of these writers use New Orleans for the backdrop for their vampire novels.”
One of those writers is Anne Rice, author of the book “Interview with the Vampire,” which was turned into a 1994 film starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. The tour passes by Madame John’s Legacy so that guests can see one of the buildings featured in the movie (it’s the scene in which caskets are carried out of the house). Rice’s former mansion, however, is not included in the tour, mostly because it’s further out in the Garden District.
The most fascinating part of the vampire tour? The explanations of where vampire tropes came from. If you don’t know why it’s said vampires are allergic to sunlight, allow Gwydion to enlighten you.
Haunted History Vampire Tour
When: 8:30 p.m. nightly
Where: Meet in front of St. Louis Cathedral
Admission: $25 for adults, $18 for students, seniors and military, $14 for children 6-11; hauntedhistorytours.com