NEW ORLEANS— We have all wondered about the historic, fun, true, quirky, unusual, weird, and strange underworld of New Orleans, right?
Well with so many mysteries surrounding the Crescent City, I took my questions to the people who know the city well. Who are these self-proclaimed experts? How did they get started? Are the stories they tell, true? I headed to the Quarter on a sweltering July day and I found Jane Dekovitch and Jeff Holmes, the owners of “Strange True Tours.” I met them by an alleged haunted house. Spooky, right?
Jeff and his wife Jane started the business three and a half years ago. Jeff started doing haunted tours several years before that because he says he needed a job. His friends told him he was a great story teller, so he gave it a go. After giving tours for many years, Jeff fell in love with all of the stories and legends.
He then decided he wanted to start researching the stories to learn all the hard facts and not just learn the script from work. Right now they have spooky tales on ghost legends and lore tour, an adult oriented history tour and they visit the cemeteries of legends in the city.
Jane is a historian who studied at USC. She was a researcher in LA before moving back to New Orleans. She loves to study old legends and discover the real facts.
Jeff says a lot of the stories come from natives.
“This is a town where people are connected to each other,” Jeff said. “Even back in the day, people found out about what was happening by chatting often times with strangers. That’s how most of these tales came to be.”
Jeff and Jane’s tours are like a fine gumbo of horror and history, comedic characters and conflicted spirituality. They serve it up Cajun style and it’s up to you to figure out fact from fiction.
“It’s fun telling stories and watching the visitors pay attention and hold on to some of the historic details,” Jeff said. “We research everything, we tell the true stories. And the not so true. It’s all about business and sharing the tales.”
Jeff said he is one of the only people who knows the true story of Lee Harvey Oswald and his connection to New Orleans.
“We go the extra mile for our tourists,” Jeff said.
Now he has my attention.