The secret societies of New Orleans

New Orleans is famous for many things: the French Quarter, Creole food, and its music, but did you know it is also home to a number of mysterious and even password-protected secret societies?

One such society is rather unusual. The New Orleans Vampire society describes itself as an NGO of self-identifying vampires in the greater New Orleans area. The group, which was once secret but is not so much anymore, said it aims to provide support to vampires and education and charity to those who need it.

According to the website, the group draws its members from every aspect of society, including clergy, teachers, writers and artists, parents, and even lawyers. The Atlanta Vampire Alliance estimates there are some 5000 vampires in America, while the New Orleans group has around 100 members.

Members don’t believe they have supernatural powers. Instead, they believe they need some form of blood to sustain themselves, while some interpret it as energy or emotion rather than an actual substance, according to a Washington Post article.

The group is notoriously hard to infiltrate as, understandably, members are cautious of how the public might consider them. Therefore, to party with them in one of the French quarter’s bars, you will need a password, and not just any password either.

This is not the kind of place where the most common password such as 123456 or your name and birthday, as detailed by data from ExpressVPN, will get you in. Instead, the password would be circulated only amongmembers and impossible to guess – unlike a pet’s name or even just a ‘password’

Mardi Gras

But the Vampire society isn’t New Orleans’ only secret group. Mardi Gras is perhaps one of NOLO’s most well-known events, bringing millions of visitors to the city every year. But its history can be found in a network of secret societies, or krewes, that were private, password-protected, and operated restrictive membership policies, according to History.

The first of these organizations was created in 1711 and was also known as a Mystic Society. Throughout history, the membership and exact activities of such groups have always been kept under wraps, leading to a mysterious air. Initially, these groups would organize masquerade balls and parades in the city, where the height of local society would attend.

In processions, they would create flamboyant floats which would be accompanied by its members through the streets. For example, in the 1860s, the Boeuf Gras society wheeled a large bull’s head through the city, pushed by 18 men.

Fast forward a couple of hundred years, and there are some 70 Krewes that make up today’s Mardi Gras festivities. Furthermore, the societies have become more creative with their themes, including Chewbaccus (Star Wars themed) and the Krewe of Rolling Elvi (Elvis impersonators). Balls are still held by the societies, but they are not quite as secretive, and you don’t need a password to enter.

These Krewes are also known for ‘throws,’ which are gifts such as beads, medallions, coconuts, and stuffed toys, that are thrown into the crowd. Catching one is said to be a big honor, so keep your eyes open! There are likely even more secret societies in the city of New Orleans, but probably they are so secret that we haven’t heard of them yet.

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