I could see it, those little kids just plain bored only allowed to sit in the courtyard, innocent enough, boys being boys- fire is cool. I could see it, those pig-tailed girls pattering around us, their snow white feet dancing around right under our paranormally blind eyes. A bolder one tapping her cherub fingers teasingly on my boyfriend’s arm. She was right there, according to Hope our Seer. I could hear the voices of the seven little girls, playing Ring Around the Rosie, singing “ashes, ashes” in that courtyard. College freshman went running by us, giggling and excited about Friday night freedom, alive and loud, breaking the moment, but not chasing away my goose bumps.
I had a very cool apartment in the Faubourg Marigny, before I knew it was cool to be in the Marigny in New Orleans. I shared a balcony with a black cape, top hat wearing tour guide. On sunny afternoons, we would enjoy each other’s company out on our little veranda with some cold Abita brews. Laughing off stress as we tried to one-up each other on Quarter Touron experiences. My twinkly-eyed, drama major neighbor would always push me to come to his haunted tour.
When my family came to visit the single, childless, black sheep, living in the original city of sin, I tried to play the “look me and my city are not so bad” card. I signed us all up for the French Quarter horror tour. Those stories of a lover freezing on a rooftop and the poor slave girl chained to a stove, burning to death will stick in my memory forever. I was impressed with his theatrics and storytelling. I was thrilled to take my family on a safe, non-sordid adventure. My neighbor, with his flash and charm, did a great job with a script.
I thought I knew what I was getting into when we went to take a downtown tour in Charleston. My boyfriend and his brother have a little bit of a hard on for Walks in History. It’s their go-to for visitors or date night fun. One reason they like the tour is because they recognize a local kid from James Island. The boys can appreciate and support the hard work and rigorous time-consuming research it must have taken to glean out the history that would give you shivers.
Geordie isn’t full of theatrics and his tour was “just the facts, ma’am”. Sometimes, the truth itself is scary. I loved how adding the spirit medium, Hope, brought it to a new level. From a guy telling you this place has ghosts, to Hope telling you where they are standing and how those ghosts are feeling.
My tour with Walks in History was very different than the one I drug my family to. Geordie is a treasure trove of facts about Charleston. He has written six books (going on seven) about his beloved city and it’s impossible to rattle him with a question he can’t answer related to his specialty. This is Geordie sharing his hard work, not an actor hired by a company. Instead of teaching a college course about his history buff-ness, he self-started his own business to share his passion with you.
Jay Leno used to have an on-the-street quiz about what people knew about US history. These people always failed miserably. Don’t fail your city, get a little smarts about our amazing ghost-filled downtown. How cool would it be to walk by the Embassy Suites and blurt about its sordid past, like the local you want to be? So get out, support local and enjoy your fascinating city with Walking Tours.
Hope and Geordie will be doing another tour together on March 2nd. Limited spots available and fill quickly. Reservations required.
Written by Tatiana Fisher, contributing writer