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Rathbone Mansions
Historic New Orleans Hotel, Steps From the French Quarter
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Insiders Guide of things to do, eats and drinks in New Orleans

Rathbone Mansions Insiders Guide

With its unique, vibrant history, award winning chefs, craft cocktail bars, and party atmosphere, there's no wonder NOLA is consistently ranked one of the best cities to visit. We've got you covered with insiders' tips on the best places to visit, eat and drink during your stay. Click through our blog for suggestions, current events and truly experience New Orleans like a local.

New Orleans has a unique, vibrant history, award winning chefs, craft cocktails galore, and a low-key, Southern fun atmosphere. There's no wonder NOLA is consistently ranked one of the best US cities to visit.  We've got you covered with tips on locals' favorite spots to check out during your stay. Scroll through our blog for suggestions, current events and truly experience New Orleans like a local.

 

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All Saints’ Day is Really Special

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All Saints’ Day is Really Special

 

“‘I will never forget,’ says author Rick Bragg, ‘seeing

a family, dressed as if for church, filing through a cemetery

gate with what appeared to be a picnic basket

and an Igloo cooler.’”

 

This marvelous quote was written by Rick Bragg, the Pulitzer-prize-winning author in a very touching piece that appeared in Southern Living – it brought tears to my eyes when I read it.

 

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WHAT – EXACTLY – IS ALL SAINTS’ DAY?   

 

It’s November 1st, the day when cemeteries fill with crowds who pay their respects to their ancestors. But it’s by no means morbid or sad, as many people have picnics and parties. In fact, it wouldn’t be out of line for families to serve gumbo beside the family crypt.

 

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IN RICK BRAGG’S OWN WORDS – HERE’S HOW HE SEES IT

 

All Saints' Day in New Orleans is a day to honor and visit the dead, not in some philosophical way by thinking about them while on the living room sofa or in line for café au lait at Cafe Du Monde, but by traveling to the place of their interment and sitting with them. Perhaps the oldest holiday on the Western calendar, it dates back to 837, when Roman Catholics began honoring all saints, known and unknown, on the first day of November.

 

I am not saying there are caravans of people thronging through the Cities of the Dead, backed up six deep at a crypt, but if you pass by these old cemeteries you will see people, one or two or whole families, sprucing up the crypts – the water table requires that most New Orleans residents who can afford it be laid to rest in stone or concrete crypts above ground – and just generally being close to the loved ones who have gone on.

 

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BRAGG REMEMBERS SIGHTS HE SAW MANY YEARS AGO

 

I will never forget, years ago, driving through the city one November 1st and seeing a family, dressed as if for church, filing through a cemetery gate with what appeared to be a picnic basket and an Igloo cooler. Later, I saw people eating oyster Po'boys and drinking root beer in the shade of a crypt. I saw fathers and sons toast grandfathers and great-grandfathers with a clink of Abita bottles.

 

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BRAGG OBSERVES A POIGNANT MOMENT IN THE CEMETERY

 

As I walked between the rows of stained granite and crumbling brick, trying not to look like a ghoul or an armed robber, I smelled something on the breeze that seemed odd here in such a holy place, a smell harsh and sweet at the same time. Only one thing smells like that. "Bourbon," I said. I watched two middle-aged men, brothers, I guessed, take a drink from a pint bottle of brown liquor, pour a swallow into the grass and dust, and shuffle away, not drunk, but apparently feeling better than when they shuffled in.

 

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AND ENDS HIS JOURNEY WITH THIS TOUCHING SENTIMENT

 

What a lovely notion, I remember thinking, that no matter what your faith, you really do live on and on, as long as someone, anyone, is willing to come see you.

 

I’m on the verge – tears are running.

 

CLICK HERE to read our blog about NOLA cemeteries.

 

 

Shaun Nelson-Henrick