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January 14, 2011
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The heat pushed down upon the city as I walked the remaining blocks to the French Quarter. The click-clack of horses’ hooves rang in my ears and the sounds of twinkling shop bells followed. ‘New Orleans is one of the greatest cities,’ I thought to myself while observing the passersby. One in particular, stood out among the rest, however. A dark-skinned elderly woman, whose dark colored clothing contrasted the colorful tones of the upcoming celebration of Mardi Gras. She limped through the crowd, being shoved around by the New Orleanians in a hustle to prepare. I continued my walk down the street until I reached the woman, who had now stopped to compose herself by a bakery.


As I walked along the street and went to pass by her as well, her cane flicked out and caught my ankle, causing me to trip and almost land face-first on the street. “Excuse me ma’am,” I said to her with all my gentlemanly charm, “but I do believe you are bringing down everyone’s Mardi Gras sprit. Do us a favor, and go back to the bayou.” By now a small crowd had gathered around us, as they new who I was. Laurent J. Boudreaux, the face of the movement to a better New Orleans. The old woman stared at me nonchalantly and said, “I would watch who you insult my dear boy, it could mean your life.” I was unfazed by the woman’s threats and continued with my day. It was a busy one at that, figuring how to accommodate the doubled-size of New Orleans citizens in the streets around parade routes and celebrations. But I, being the master of “Laissez les bons temps rouler,” have managed to find a parade route that will have everyone pleased.

As I walked home later that evening, I decided since I wanted to get home to do some preparations of my own for the upcoming big event, I took a short cut through one of the many cemeteries in New Orleans. The sun had long since been set, and a fog had settled among the mausoleums. No longer had I heard a noise behind me, when my world went blank.
The light of the moon filtered through my eyelids and I awoke from unconsciousness, tied by rope to a table in a clearing somewhere in the swamps. Fear and shock shot through my veins like ice into my heart, and took hold of my rational mind. Firelight danced among the trees and I heard a familiar voice rhythmically chanting the same words, “Papa Legba ouvre baye pour moi!” Which I knew easily translated from French into “Papa Legba, open the gate for me!” A face then materialized in front of mine, it was the same woman from earlier in the day. This woman was a voodoo priestess, and I was foolish enough to wrong her.

“Ah, I see you are awake,” she said to me spitting poison like a snake. “Do not be alarmed, for you will not be harmed, I am only going to use you as my personal tool.” My body shook like an earthquake as the woman approached me. “Here, take this child, all will be well.” And she slipped a small white pill in my mouth. From then on the ritual was colors and words blended into a meaningless mash of fire and spirit. Shadows danced like demons in the trees and the old woman chanted the names of spirits of death, “Baron Samedi, allow this spirit to stay in the earth, zombie he will be!” And as the final words slipped out of the Mambo’s lips, I fell. Deep into blackness and wood and earth, never believing I’d return. For what seems like eternity I swam in that darkness, tasting the metals of dirt and the scent of pine swarming in a cloud.

I was startled from the darkness by the thud of something above me, I still could not move or talk, but I was conscious now and breathing. As the lid lifted, the night’s darkness collided with the dark I was swimming in, and I knew I had been in here for a while, as the moon was full last I remember and it now was half.. Hands reached down to grab me and I was lifted to wobble on my own legs, and then fall miserably into the dirt. Cackling of voodoo witches surrounded my pathetic failure, and I couldn’t react, couldn’t move of my own accord. “Do you see Tabitha? I was successful! The Loa smile upon me this evening as the zombie I have created rises to do my bidding,” said he same old priestess who started this crossing over to me once more. I could make out the faces of other people around the fire, some astonished, others afraid. I again felt the small roundness of a pill enter my throat and I swallowed, not being able to do anything else. My mind clouded as this pill took effect, and I could not longer think of anything but leaving. “Now zombie! Rise!” The Mambo yelled to me, and to mine and everyone else’s surprise, I did. The voodoo priestess cackled and commanded, “Find me a rock! So I can show everyone truly that you do my bidding.” And I did, for it was the only thing I could think of to do. “Ah! As the followers of the true Queen of New Orleans Marie Laveau, as my witnesses, I command you zombie, kill the mayor of New Orleans.” This statement created a reaction of horror from the crowd. “He has wronged me friends, forcing me to give my land to the state, so new homes could be built for the population. Who better to rid of the mayor than the man who is in charge of the population himself? Laurent Boudreaux, I command you!” To everyone’s gasping I grabbed the knife from the woman’s hand and walked, on and on until my memory stayed behind.

I awoke in the same field I awoke in so long ago. My mind and body ached like I had been crushed by a train, and my clothes were stained. With, ‘Blood!’ I thought horrified. I jumped up, brushing the dirt off my clothing and examining the stains. I saw something glint on the ground by the light of the sun, a knife, with blood on the edges and handle, and a newspaper, lying next to it read “Tragedy strikes New Orleans, Mayor found murdered.”





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