The summer of 2012 I had the wonderful privilege to visit New Orleans with a native Louisianian who could take me to the best places. I lucked out weather wise those few days I wandered the city’s streets and haunts. And I must say, what a tourist trap, but New Orleans definitely has a vibe all its own. And I loved every minute of it, enjoying the best food ever (that I didn’t have to cook) and soaking in every inch to use in my novel Revenge.
New Orleans certainly is a setting that can be considered a character in any novel where the city appears. It has a life of its own and can mold or change any character that fictionally steps foot on its streets. For my hero, Detective Remy LeBeau, New Orleans means death. On the opposite end, for my heroine, Cody Lewis, it meant learning what kind of woman she has become and life.
The gist of Revenge is spent in the city in a good portion of the places I visited. I was able to layer in much of the sensory details, probably better than in any book I’ve written before. The nuances of the city made their way into the story, as well as some oddities—like random people adding comments to the conversations of people passing by—happened on more than one occasion to myself and my friend.
On the surface, New Orleans is a beautiful city, but if you look deeper than the surface you can see the ugly side. For years, authors familiar with the city have shown a side of it that not many know; ie… the corruption of public officials and the police force and the dangers that lurk on every corner. Many of us remember what happened to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina from what the news reporters showed us. But there were darker, more horrible things that never made it to the national news, and honestly this was nothing new for the people. A lot of the things I wrote for Remy to see from Katrina’s destruction impacted him greatly. And I can honestly say, a lot of the city remains in disrepair from the flood waters.
But New Orleans is resilient, and so are the people. As I said, it’s a setting than can take over as a character all its own. And what a character! I can’t wait to go back.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
What city or setting in a book would you consider as a character?