Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

(Translation: “Let the good times roll!”)

WAHOO! Tomorrow I get to be back in one of my most favorite cities: New Orleans! Two years have been too long to be away from The Big Easy. I’m so excited to visit some favorite haunts (hee-hee–it’s one of the most haunted cities after all) and have some new experiences too!

I’m looking forward to walking Jackson Square, stopping at Cafe Du Monde and having a beignet. Visiting Bourbon Street just when the sun goes down–right before it gets too crazy–stepping into Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop to get a respite from the heat or relaxing to Steamboat Willie at Cafe Beignet. I’m eager to browse around The French Market, get some more Carnival Candles, and eat some good crepes! AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ABOUT MUFFALETTAS!

I also have my sights set on some new places: the Cajun/Zydeco festival in Armstrong Park, Faulkner House Books in Pirate Alley, and taking Haunted History Tour‘s Cemetery Tour. (I’ve been on their haunted tour a good few times–so much that I could probably recite the histories word for word, ha!) And, I also want to go to New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum–maybe learn more about a practice I’ve been curious about.

In 2017, I wrote a blog post called “A City of Many Colors.” In it, I described how I see NOLA, how I embrace its eccentricities wholeheartedly:

… that is what New Orleans is; she is herself, there is no other way to describe her. She embraces the creepy and weird, the adventurous, the musical, the artistic, the mystical, and makes no apologies about what experiences you may have. She is colorful, extreme, fantastical, and a city with her own thing going. I love every bit of her!

I am a different person than I was in 2017. I lost my dad, I’m working hard to accomplish a future I hope for my family, and I have come a long way in–almost–completing my novel. But I believe these things have made me more secure in who I am; I’ve become more confident in myself, no longer looking to celebrities, cultural norms, or random classifications to define me.

I’m a writer, after all.

I’m secure in me. And New Orleans has always been secure in her.

I’m glad to be back, girl. I’m glad to look upon that lovely city with fresh eyes, filled with strange, dark tales to tell and love–embracing of all different peoples–to be passed around.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler–Let the good times roll!


Want more about my New Orleans adventures?

Check out these posts:
Return to New Orleans
NOLA 2016
A City of Many Colors

And these vlogs:
New Orleans 2015 — Jackson Square

Sounds of New Orleans: Natchez’s Paddle!

And my Instagram: Katie L. Mortimer
(You’ll have to scroll a bit for those NOLA pictures!)

A City of Many Colors

It’s funny how quickly time passes, especially when you get older. Here we are, headed back to New Orleans yet again! (It’ll be the fourth time for me!) Apparently, it’s going to be an adventure getting down there; tropical storm Cindy made landfall yesterday and the system is headed up here to Ohio. We’ll see if our plane gets delayed or not. Hopefully it won’t be cancelled!

Earlier I had a gent who was replacing my windshield wipers ask me what I love most about New Orleans. I always have trouble pinning down something specific in answer to those questions, but I would say, simply, I love the vibes. As a country gal with a back-door Catholic upbringing, I am not all I seem. I’m always pushing myself, headed on the next adventure; I embrace my eccentric spirit wholly, and, I like to think, people like that about me. I am myself.

And that is what New Orleans is; she is herself, there is no other way to describe her. She embraces the creepy and weird, the adventurous, the musical, the artistic, the mystical, and makes no apologies about what experiences you may have. She is colorful, extreme, fantastical, and a city with her own thing going. I love every bit of her!

This year, I’ll absolutely explore my usual haunts: Cafe Du Monde–BEIGNETS!– Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, the Houses of Voodoo, and even the plantations! (It’s been a  while since I’ve been to Oak Alley. I’d like to go back!) I’ll also explore some new locations: Kermit’s Treme Mother-In-Law Lounge, recommended to me by Dustin Pari, is definitely on my list. I also want to catch a cemetery tour and see Marie Laveau’s tomb. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.

We’ll see what adventures I go on this time around. I’m sure, though, that it’ll be a fun, relaxing experience, as it has been the past four times! I do adore you, New Orleans.

Sincerely, as I prep for my departure, I am praying for those affected by tropical storm Cindy. May all souls in turmoil find strength, may you be blessed in your rebuilding. And may all those who have passed too soon find their ways to Heaven.

See you guys in a few weeks!

Your turn: What are some of your favorite locations/things about New Orleans? Comment below!

NOLA 2016!

Hip hip hooray!
It’s here at last!
The week I’m in
Good ol’ N’awlins
It’ll be a gas!
– A quick, weird, possibly terrible poem by yours truly!


Yes! The marathon prep has officially ended and I’m boarding a plane to New Orleans! I’m honestly pleased and surprised at all that I got done. It surely gives me perspective of what a to-do list, a lot of elbow grease, and stubbornness can get done! I’m so excited; I haven’t written so much in ages!

Now is time to rest, recuperate, and enjoy the spoils of my hard work!

Honestly, there’s not a lot planned around this New Orleans trip. Really the only activity I reserved is seeing a psychic with my sister-in-law, which, hey, it’s NOLA and I’m always curious about what will be said! I know there’s also talk of visiting the shops (including the voodoo ones), seeing the bayou and going to a plantation, which I haven’t done since 2011. (Unfortunately Myrtles is too far away from the French Quarter, so that’ll have to wait for another time… again!)

We’re also looking at taking another Haunted History Tour, preferably the New Orleans Cemetery History Tour and I’ve had my eye on Ghost City Tour’s New Orleans Ghost Hunt Experience, but that one will probably wait until another trip.

Oh, and on another note, I definitely want to see what Pokémon GO looks like down there; maybe I’ll bring home some ghost Pokémon!

All I know is that we’re set to relax and explore, to soak in the wonderful blend of culture that is New Orleans. The music, food, accents, and, of course, legends that surround this place are amazing! It’s such a different vibe from my Ohio hometown, but I truly adore it. Plain and simple: I just love New Orleans! 

I’ll definitely post another video, at some point during my week in NOLA, on my Youtube Channel and I’ll be sharing pictures, of course, over on Instagram which will then feed to my other social media accounts.

Hope you guys have a great week! New Orleans, here I come!

From Gettysburg to Fall; Time to Create!

Sitting at my laptop.
Apple cider by my side.
Long sleeves.
Typing away.


GOOD LORD did the weather turn! Last week I was in 70 degree Gettysburg, this week: FALL!

Yes. YES, ladies and gents! Fall is back in Ohio! That wondrous time of year! Time for spooky! For a midnight walk in the woods! Leaf crunching! Hot drink of choice! Long sleeves! Cuddles! Halloween!

Yes… this is the time of year I enjoy most.

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I only wish it had felt like this in Gettysburg. Something about tromping through the battlefields in a light jacket, browsing the historic downtown, crunching the occasional leaf. Well, I mean, some of that I did. However, even though the first day of Fall was last week, it didn’t feel like it until this week. Isn’t that what always happens?

Ah. C’est la vie. I still enjoyed being there. And I got some nifty vibes.

After all, Tolkien himself said:

“… always I had the sense of recording what was already ‘there’, somewhere: not of ‘inventing’.”

The purpose of this Gettysburg trip was to get away, by myself, and explore a new location. Whether it be haunted or not. I wanted to have one last exploration before I settled in for the latter part of the year. The time where I really love to be home and write. Plain and simple. Fall brings forward ceaseless inspiration. Honestly, if I didn’t need to sleep or eat, I could probably churn out multiple books in this three month period.

So, now I settle in for the “cold months”, hard at work on my novel’s completion. It will be circulating to agents soon. I can’t wait for you guys to read it!

Return to New Orleans!

I’m sitting here, Layover with Anthony Bourdain playing in the background as I write this. His show has really become a favorite of mine. Second only to Expedition Unknown.

Like Josh Gates, Anthony Bourdain celebrates culture. However, he does it through food, while Josh does it through legends. Both are travelers, explorers, intellectuals, and passionate modern historians. With awesome personalities.

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Now why is this relevant to my blog post about New Orleans?

First, excuse me.

I’M GOING TO BE IN NEW ORLEANS TOMORROW! FOR A WEEK!!

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The first time I went to New Orleans was as a graduation present in 2011. I had my Bachelor’s degree in creative writing, the horizon looked endless, and I wanted to try something new.

Since Halloween 2010, I had really ramped up my interest in the paranormal. Thanks to Ghost Hunter’s Waverly Hills Halloween Special, I had, yet again, started researching into the things that go bump in the night. The things that still made my spine crawl at the possibility. Was that really a draft? Or was the door pushed by something else? What were ghosts? How do people investigate haunted locations?

I marathoned Ghost Hunters and continued my research into the paranormal field.

And then I came across Destination Truth, GH’s “sister show” with host — guess who — Josh Gates.

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Yup. Actual quote there.

Long story short, both my interests in paranormal legends and travel were stimulated, as well as, distantly, my writing. Although, I will admit in the years between 2011 and the present, I was less inclined to write… and wanted to explore. After all, isn’t that what all post-college students do? Find themselves outside of the academic world in one way or another?

New Orleans helped me find myself. I discovered that there was a place in the world where people could be exactly who they wanted to be. That helps them discover it, in a place without judgement. In turn, watching all the eclectic, culture-filled people that live in New Orleans makes a person realize that the strongest criticism — the one we listen to and fear — is inside of ourselves.

New Orleans is… just so hard to describe. Seriously. Maybe, in fact, that’s the perfect description of the Southern Culture Hub. Jackson Square is always packed with a combination of tourists and street performers, mystics and shoppers. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can catch a traditional wedding party leaving the St. Louis Cathedral. There’s music everywhere and people dance to it… just because they’re moved to.

But I’m also excited for the people I’m with to experience New Orleans. My brother, Camille, and Dan. As far as I know, they’ve never been there. (If my memory serves correct) And I’m really excited for Dan to experience his first major travel. He’s only had car trips before… so flying and New Orleans is going to be a completely different world for him.

I’m excited to return. To see New Orleans in a different light. New Orleans helped me become myself. The Wondering Writer who isn’t afraid to jump in the deep end.

So… take your breath… here we go.

Travel

The Day After The Oscars

Here we are, the day after the Oscars. Awards have been given out. Lives have been changed. Media channels issue recaps: about fashion, the stars, the winners and their speeches. Hollywood itself wakes up, ready to start a new movie-making year.

I always have enjoyed the Oscars. It is a celebration of storytelling, plain and simple. As Cheryl Boone Issacs (President of the Academy) stated:

“At the Oscars, we celebrate our love of movies, and in doing so, we honor filmmakers who cross borders and test boundaries, … [those] who encourage us to see the world and those around us in new ways”

She went on to talk about how the Freedom of Storytelling is important. She praised the filmmakers who traverse the globe, into danger, to tell stories that change the world.

And, really, isn’t that the point of storytelling? To inspire, to push?

That’s what I was trying to get across in my most recent YouTube video. The Oscars tend to celebrate the movies that make the most waves. The ones that push boundaries. Whether it be Big Hero 6 — an animated movie about a boy who inadvertently avenges his brother’s death — or Boyhood — a movie filmed over several years to chronicle the growth of a child to a man. They all push the way storytelling is presented.

And each storyteller has their personal lives, the ones that push them to do greater things.

One of the most inspiring moments of the night was when Graham Moore won Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game. His speech was simple, yet important:

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I immediately followed him on Twitter, inspired myself.

However, what I was really, really looking forward to was Neil Patrick Harris’s hosting. It had been a long time coming. NPH has hosted two Emmy’s and a Tony’s but no Oscars. That changed last night. Ellen Degeneres’s 86th Oscars were quirky, comedic, and integrating. However, NPH’s Oscars were… more fluid. He didn’t dwell on different gimmicks. Instead, he followed, with ease, the format that the Academy Awards follow: presenting the awards. He added very good jokes, and a magic trick at the end, but didn’t linger in his hosting duties. Which I think was very good.

It seems in recent years that the hosts of the Academy Awards (minus Ellen, because she did a FANTASTIC job) seem to linger on their duties as Emcees. With the awards show already so long, it draws out the duration of the event and makes everyone wish it was over that much sooner.

However, Neil did what he was supposed to do: he put the audience at ease, making the awards show move quickly but efficiently.

My favorite part was his opening number, “Moving Pictures”.

Reign "Acts of War" **RAPE TRIGGER WARNING + SPOILERS**

Okay. So. Wow. I just finished watching Reign’s “Act of War”. And let me tell you: this show keeps surprising me. In the beginning of the first season, I was passively intrigued in the story of Mary Queen of Scots. I felt like it was a “teeny-bopper” show, as I call it; that it was geared towards teens and would have a light plot. Nothing too complicated. Nothing too gruesome. Just Mary trying to figure out if she should marry Francis or not. Even though we know by historical records that she did.

But this show keeps pushing boundaries! It has mentioned murder, bdsm, blackmailing, miscarriage, death, mysticism, affairs, and now–

[TRIGGER WARNING: I’m going to be talking about rape in the next paragraph.]

— they’ve had Mary get raped. Long story short: Mary was jostled from sleep when Protestant assassins barged into her room dressed as the King’s Guards. They held her at knife-point until they realized that Francis was no longer in the castle. The father of the Protestant minister who had been killed steps up to kill Mary. And then he decides to do something worse: rape her. I won’t go into the details of what happened because I think everyone knows what that action entails. But they did show enough on Reign to let the viewers know what happened to her.

Mary strikes one of the Protestant assassins left to kill her when the others leave. And she races down the hallway in her nightgown, looking stunned and disheveled: the most notable mark is that her gown is ripped at the collar. Catherine finds her, dismisses the guards, and takes her to her room. Then you start to see the welling on her arms and neck. Mary stands strong, acting ever the Queen, until Catherine asks her if she was raped. (It had been established in the storyline that Catherine was raped before she became Queen herself — so Catherine knew Mary’s actions intimately)

Adelaide Kane and Megan Follows are FANTASTIC ACTRESSES. Jeez. Just. Jeez. I mean, I already knew Megan Follows was because of Anne of Green Gables. But. OMG. Wow.

Masters of Sex: Fight

For a very long time now, I have been a fan of Michael Sheen.

Yes, this goofy guy right here:

Events Interviews animated GIF

For those new to the world of Michael Sheen, you might recognize him as Aro in the Twilight Saga. You know, this guy:

twilight animated GIF

Other people know him as Lucian from Underworld. But, personally, he first caught my eye as an actor when he played Tony Blair. Actually, he’s played him several times. But I remember seeing him as Mr. Blair in The Queen (2006) and The Special Relationship (2010).
I couldn’t really say as to why I started honing in on him. Not back then. And I still can’t really say now. It’s just one of those things: where an actor is so memorable that he is imprinted on your mind.
And it’s a requirement to watch everything he’s in.
I always talk about Johnny Depp or Tom Hiddleston in this way. But rarely do I talk about Michael Sheen. Even though he’s included in that mental category.
I’ve been watching Masters of Sex since it premiered last year. Even if I miss episodes, I make an effort to watch everything I’ve missed. I will admit my draw to the television show was because I knew Michael Sheen was playing the lead. I knew nothing about Lizzy Caplan, Dr. William Masters, or Virginia Johnson. I only knew that I wanted to watch this series on Showtime because Michael Sheen was in it.
So I sat down to watch it, one evening, on September 29, 2013. I anxiously awaited to see Michael Sheen… and also what this show was about. (Bonus: it takes place in the 1950s, which equals more interest with me.)
Turns out Masters of Sex is about these two people who are interested in how the human body responds… while having sex. Dr. Masters has always been interested, and Virginia Johnson needed a job as a secretary. The series goes on to delve deeper into their characters: Virginia being a single mom, and Dr. Masters being a reluctant husband and soon to be father. It also deals with the social stigma of the time: specifically that sex is not studied, because it’s not talked about in society. It’s completely ignored. And doctors don’t know what to do when someone has issues with sexual reproduction. They just cut and snip and send them out the door.
But not Dr. Masters (and, by extension Virginia Johnson). They understand human bodies. They understand sex. They have an interest in it. And they want the world to not be afraid of the subject.
Anyways, long introduction.
I was watching the most recent episode, entitled “Fight”… and I finished it literally fifteen minutes ago. (Yes, you read that time stamp right: it’s 3:15 in the morning). And… wow. My mind was blown. The amount of depth that the writers put into Bill and Virginia, the cinematography, and, most importantly, the acting between Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan.
I am a little fuzzy, but around half of the episode (if not more) takes place in the hotel room that Bill and Virginia are sharing. The elements that happened before (and after) this scene affected the couple as they met again, for another “study”. Bill was uncharacteristically aggressive, and Virginia, being the ever nurturing soul, was trying to help him… but not put up with his bullshit, at the same time. You could tell these two cared for one another. But from the circumstances of life outside of the hotel room, they couldn’t admit it out right. (For one, Bill is married. Yeah.)
But Virginia got the closest. She described a lover she had in the past. A boyfriend. Who had been a captain in an army. The “man” had claimed he was engaged, but supposedly the fiance ran off. Of course that’s not the case and he abandons Virginia to go back to said fiance.
“What does that mean for us?” Bill asks.
(It has been previously established that Bill and Virginia are posing as a married couple.)
Virginia: (And this is a paraphrase) “Oh… I’d only marry a man who I love and desire.”
And Bill in this episode is dealing about the memory of his father. Who abused him. This was established waaaay back in the show. But we have more depth into Bill’s back story now. Bill confides in Virginia that his father broke his nose once, and left him at a boarding school when he was only 14. And Bill never returned home.
This is also a powerful step in their relationship because Bill doesn’t even confide in his own wife. He keeps everything bottled up inside. And yet, he feels so connected to Virginia that he opens up to her. And she listens. Unlike anyone else in his life. (Also Virginia stated in this episode that Bill basically respects her and listens to her. Take notes boys!)
But the way these scenes come across is simply amazing. The tension between Bill and Virginia is absolutely palpable. The tension between their private life and the world around them… you can feel it. It’s just… wow.
I really suggest you guys watch this TV show. It is nothing short of amazing. And, yes, it has A LOT of sexual content. So not for kids. But it’s worth your time.

 

Oscars 2014, My Favorite Speech: Matthew McConaughy

Watching The Oscars tonight, I thought this was one of the best speeches. And THAT is saying something, considering there were so many great speeches: the most notable being Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o.

My favorite part of Matthew McConaughy’s speech goes as follows:

“… and to, uhm, my hero. That’s who I chase. Now when I was fifteen years old, I had a very important person in my life come and say to me ‘Who’s your hero?’ and I said ‘I dunno, I got to think about that, give me a couple of weeks.’ I come back two weeks later, this person comes up and says ‘Who’s your hero?’ I said ‘I thought about it. You know who it is? It’s me in ten years.’ So I turn 25, ten years later, that same person comes to me and goes ‘So are you a hero?’ and I was like ‘Not even close! No, no, no!’ and she said ‘Why?’ and I said ‘Because my hero’s me at 35.’

“So you see every day, every week, every month, and every year of my life, my hero’s always ten years away. I’m never gonna beat my hero. I’m not gonna attain that. I know I’m not! And that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.

“So to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to, and whoever it is we’re chasing, to that I say ‘Amen’, to that I say ‘Alright, alright, alright’ and to that I say ‘Just keep on living.'”

This speech spoke volumes to me. Before the week is over I will have reached my mid-20s, with a lot of accomplishments under my belt. Just not nationally. I am proud of these accomplishments, without a doubt. And every day I make it a point to challenge myself. As Matthew had said in tonight’s Oscars broadcast, I’m chasing my future self.

Or, rather, I’m excited for what the future brings.

For those of you who may not know me, I am an aspiring writer living in Northeast Ohio, about an hour south of Cleveland, and two hours north of Columbus. I live in the heart of Amish Country, just outside of the City of Wooster. I guess you can call me a professional writer since I used to work at our local weekly newspaper. It was a fun job and I got to stretch myself, meet new people, and grow my writing skills. But at some point I wanted to move away from that job, before I had been at it for a year, to work on the novel that I’m working on now. Which is nearing completion.

I made this blog to promote myself, my creativity, my randomness, my fangirling, and, most importantly, to meet new people. I hope that this will grow into something that everyone will love. Thank you for checking my blog out.

Honestly I didn’t really think that this would be the first post, but through a computing error I decided to leave it. It kind of fits perfectly.

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