Thursday, September 03, 2009
Guest Blogger: Tracy Wolff talks about The Weird and The Wacky (and a contest)
I’m a trivia nerd. Seriously, I’m a freak when it comes to useless—and useful—bits of knowledge. Trivial Pursuit is more than just a game to me, it’s a lifestyle and my husband laughs every time a new subject comes up and I spout off with some weird, obscure fact that almost nobody knows—nobody, anyway, but me and my oldest son, who is following in his mom’s footsteps.
I bring this up now because the flip side of the coin is that I love to research. I love, love, love to immerse myself in a new place or a new occupation or a new way of life and find out everything about it. Thank God my career as writer allows me to do just that, every time I pick a new setting or create a new character.
So, as I was writing my brand new erotic suspense, Tie Me Down, I immersed myself in the culture and history of New Orleans. Now, I lived in New Orleans for four years so I knew a fair bit about the city to begin with, but as I wrote TMD I learned a whole lot more. So, with no further ado, here are the top ten weird and wacky facts I learned about New Orleans while writing Tie Me Down.
10. Despite The Big Easy’s disturbingly high murder rate for much of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, there has only been one serial killer in its long and varied history: The Axeman of New Orleans, who terrorized the city for most of 1918 and part of 1919.
Southern Comfort whiskey was originally known as Cuff and Tails.
When Andrew Jackson and his men came to N’Awlins, they cleaned out the canals (which were filthy) and did away with malaria for nearly five years.
7. New Orleans hosted the first opera in North America—at the end of the 18th century.
6. Louisiana’s maximum security prison, Angola, hosts one of the largest Rodeo’s in the country every year. People come from all over the country to see it.
5. The architecture in the French Quarter is Spanish (I already knew that, but I think it’s cool.
4. The first president of LSU went to jail for embezzling for the university. They still have his picture hanging up—in his prison uniform.
3. In Louisiana, biting someone with your natural teeth is considered a simple assault, but biting someone with your false teeth is considered an aggravated assault.
2. The airport code for New Orleans, MSY, is so noted because long before there was an airport there it was a plantation, where a pilot named John Moisant crashed his plane in the late 1800s and died. The area was later named Moisant Stock Yards after him and the name has stuck, even after it was turned into an international airport.
1. Famous bar Pat O’Brien’s was originally a speakeasy during Prohibition. Its most famous drink, the Hurricane, was invented to get rid of a surplus of rum during World War II.
So, lay it on me—what weird trivia facts do you know? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of my June Superromance, From Friend to Father.
Oh, and one more thing—I’ve included an excerpt of Tie Me Down here, as part of my Tie Me Down Contest Extravaganza. So head on over to my blog, www.tracywolff.blogspot.com to get the scoop on the contest. There are daily prizes and the Grand Prize (given away next Tuesday) is a $100 gift card to the winner’s choice of bookstore.
Genevieve shuddered as she looked up at the Hotel Monteleone. It was the oldest—and most famous—hotel in New Orleans and had been a personal favorite of hers for years because of its fabulous restaurant and beautiful decor.
She’d been here to eat more than once in the past few months; had stayed here with a lover over a year ago. But suddenly, she didn’t want to be here. Wanted to be as far away from the historic hotel with its ornate columns and marble floors as she could get. Though she didn’t know what waited for her up the steps, she couldn’t shake the feeling that it could change her life forever.
Sighing impatiently, she headed into the hotel. Standing out here wasn’t doing anything but prolonging the inevitable. Whatever was in there had to be faced, and faced soon. This was her case, and if the killer had left a clue, as he’d promised, that was just one more reason to get a move on.
“Hey,” Cole called through the rolled-down window. “Are you sure you don’t want me to wait? It’s no big deal.”
She turned, smiled at him though she knew it didn’t reach her eyes. “It’s fine—I’ll probably be here for hours. I’ll just catch a ride back with Shawn.”
Cole’s jaw tightened, but he didn’t protest. Instead, he raised his hand in a wave and said from between clenched teeth, “Be careful.”
She laughed. “Look around. There’s got to be twenty cops here. I’ll be perfectly safe.”
He regarded her soberly. “It’s the enemy you aren’t expecting that often does you in.” He rolled up the window and pulled away, leaving her staring after him, mouth agape.
“Delacroix.” Chastian’s voice cut through the early morning gloom as he climbed the stairs to stand next to her. “I’m glad you could join us.”
Stiffening at the censure in his tone, she turned to face him. “Shawn called me only fifteen minutes ago, sir. I got here as soon as I could.”
“Well, I know how you ladies like to primp,” he answered, shooting her a patently disbelieving look. “But next time, make sure murder takes priority over makeup, will you?”
Genevieve bit her tongue in an effort to keep from exploding. She was sick of this bullshit, sick of the sexist innuendos and supercilious comments Chastian threw around like candy. She was already pissed enough that Shawn had been called first and had actually made it to the murder site before letting her know what was going on. The last thing she needed was her asshole lieutenant rubbing in that fact. Especially since there wasn’t a drop of makeup on her face.
Somehow she managed to keep her cool, and headed through the double doors without another word to her boss. Moving through the hotel’s extravagant lobby, she caught the elevator to the fourteenth floor. Exited and followed the signs to the Tennessee Williams suite.
As she walked down the hall, she wondered what had prompted the killer to move so far up the social scale. The Hotel Monteleone was a five-star hotel, and their regular rooms ran hundreds of dollars. The bill for three days in the Tennessee Williams suite would run well into the thousands of dollars.
The door to the room was ajar when she finally found it, but the rookie cop doing door duty didn’t give her any trouble—he was the same one who had discovered Jessica Robbins’s body and he must have remembered her.
Crossing the threshold, she couldn’t help the gasp that escaped her at her first glimpse of the room. It was a scene right out of a horror movie. Bright red blood spattered the pale yellows walls in violent slashes and curlicues, while more had soaked the gold carpet around the body.
“This can’t all be hers,” she murmured as she stopped next to Shawn, who stood next to the poor girl’s body.
“That’s what I said. But Jefferson disagrees.” He nodded at the ME, who was currently crouched beside the body, doing his damnedest not to get blood on his jeans.
“The human body contains nearly six liters of blood. The perp drained her dry, so this might very well be only her blood.”
“But,” Shawn said as he leaned down and rolled the body over, “that’s not the worst part.”
“What is?” she asked, then gasped as her stomach lurched.
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