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Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Conclusion of The Haunting of the Red River House Ball

Many thanks to Dawn Carl of of All Things Genealogical of New Orleans for the wonderful photographs she gave permission to use. The photos are of St.Roch's Cemetery and Relics Room in NOLA, and with tomorrow, November 1 being All Saint's Day, I'll post more about this beautiful cemetery and the others in New Orleans' Cities of the Dead. 

"Mr. Joachim, what is all this?What are you doing here and why are there pennies and snakes everywhere?" I ask, again as if I didn't know. 
He looks up, a mixture of curiosity and joy and ... is that a twinkle I see in his eyes?
"You're back, my Ruby. You've finally come back to me." 

the relics room at St.Roch's Cemetery, courtesy Dawn Carl

After  disentangling the banner from the Missile, Mignon turned her attention to the gawkers still hoping for that million dollar shot. "Go on inside now," she waved them away. "The zoo's on its way and everything's under control. "Go on now - shoo!"
Laughing as if it were all planned, she was already formulating her lie in case she discovered a video on Youtube.
 "Careful with that lamp shade now. It's genuine Louis Comfort Tiffany - you do know Tiffany, don't you?" Mignon winked at Herman as he unloaded the Missile's cargo.

"Uh... yeah, I believe I've heard the name." He grunted, not so much from effort as from disgust - he still was paying the interest on that mistake.
His back would pay for this one.
Herman Richards cursed Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Mr.Joachim's once rheumy brown eyes now sparkled with delight. He had transformed all the work and effort Mignon and I had put into updating and renovating and decorating the landmark house, making it a showcase home, into a  makeshift voodoo altar -
one expensive, designer voodoo altar -
with  relics from the cemetery where I'd originally found him.
Snakes slithered around the doberge cake (my favorite!) and other desserts already catered in for the Haunted Ball tomorrow night. And just when I didn't think things couldn't get any freakier--
The long, low, wailing note of a trumpet played.
Jussst a closer walk with theeee..... 
 Joachim's steel scaffolding weaves itself into a lacy cobweb above - floating balconies of people laughing, observing dancers who swirl over a mosaic floor made of pennies. Servants in black and white glide amongst  guests  gathered around the table, now expanded in the way gastro-expressive dreams do. There are impossible towers of food, tall, shining candelabras, and in the center...
-- a figure. A shrouded figure.
With pennies on its eyes.
Which, when removed, opened to show me - Me!
"I'm n-not --. That's n-not --... " I stammer and sputter. That can't be me. I'm alive! And young! And I may be stupid sometimes, but I think I'd know if I was reincarnated from some girl from a hundred years ago!
"Ruby, my love, we're together at last!" Mr.Joachim's face had become as supple as a youth's - as if he'd swum in a vat of Mignon's facial cocktail.

If earlier I had thought that I could see again, I was wrong.
"It's been you! All along - you're the one who's made the toilets explode and the gas leak with these - these - things! These peoples' legs and arms and... and... Mr.Joachim --
"This ends now!"
Electricity buzzes forth from my angry energy - this man has made my life the past week a living hell! Pennies shake everywhere, their noise and energy building, matched by the now frenzied tempo of the jazz . A cyclone of copper rises up, swirling and stirring, smashing the spirits and the cobwebs, the food and the candles, finally exploding out of the windows in a great whoosh! of air.
Mr. Joachim was gone with his spirits, his relics, and his scaffolds.
My haunting is over.

"Charley? Where are you?" Is that panic in Mignon's voice I hear?
"I'm in here - it's safe to come in! The snakes are all gone," I answer. I open the door wide.
"Are you sure? You know I hate snakes." Cautiously she backs into the front door, helping Herman with half of the heavy box between them.
"Cross my heart," I make the cross over my own, and Herman's dark brown eyes meet mine. Hmmm....
Maybe there's still some glasses from the caterer left in the kitchen.
Mignon backs into the dining room and carefully they stoop, laying the box down gently. It is a priceless Tiffany, after all.
Mignon pinches something from under her shoe and holds it up like a prize.
"Look what I found! A lucky penny!"

Copyright2011©Pamela V. Mason, all rights reserved

Thank you for reading my Halloween story, The Haunting of the Red River House Ball.
 Have you ever been in a real haunted place yourself? Leave me a comment for a chance to win a goody bag from Bath & Body Works! (Mailing in continental U.S. only). 

Thank you Tami Brothers, for letting me post parts 1 & 2 on  Live,Love,Write! last week. 
And thank you Dawn Carl for the use of her photos from St.Roch's Cemetery and its relics room. 

Tomorrow is All Saint's Day, and I'll have a post of more of New Orleans' Cities of the Dead, including the fascinating St.Roch's Cemetery. 

Happy Halloween! 


  1. Great read! Thanks for sharing it with us. I've gone on several ghost tours of supposedly haunted houses, but never saw anything.


  2. That was one wild story, Pam. Good job. I'm so relieved those snakes are gone. Love the pictures,too!

  3. Mignon, Indie Jones and I are all glad the snakes are gone at last! Linsey is right. That was one wild ride you took us on. Good job!

  4. I was afraid the snakes might've been a bit offputting, but they are an essential part of the voodoo religion. Sorry about that!

    But I'm glad you all liked it. Thank you!

  5. I went back and read all three posts - great story! I loved the pacing - fast, fast! And yes, there is a haunted mansion in the town where I grew up. The link here shows it all renovated and lovely, but I have photos I took in high school when it was all boarded up.


  6. Ooooo...Leslie! Thanks for the link! I looked at the site & read everything & from what I can tell about voodoo, a bad gris-gris was put on that Phipps.
    Now I want to see the spooky mansion pictures you have.
    Glad you liked the story!

  7. Great ending, Pamela! I did not see that coming with Charlie. :) Definitely would like to read more.

    And I can't wait til tomorrow to read about some of your research. Very cool.


  8. Nice idea, Leslie, to read them all together. I'll have to try it later. Sooo glad the snakes are gone!!

  9. Tami, remember that first, darker story I told you? That would be Joachim's & Ruby's. Thank you for stopping by!

    Hi Michele, You made it! I know I know- bad writer to put snakes in the story. I kept thinking of Indiana Jones and the floor moving. HA!
    Thanks for reading!


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