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New Orleans Has The Most Terrifying Clowns Since 'It'

“I was not content to believe in a personal devil and serve him, in the ordinary sense of the word. I wanted to get hold of him personally and become his chief of staff.”

-Aleister Crowley

When I heard about the Voodoo Festival taking place in New Orleans, I knew I had to attend. It was Halloween, and between the mentions of voodoo, Ozzy Osbourne, Pax vaporizers, Gothic architecture, and Marie Laveau, it was sure to be a glorious weekend. Little did I know the fate that was in store for me, the delectably evil soulmates I was soon to encounter. Send in the clowns. Destroy thy sanity.

“Blessed be Providence which has given to each his toy: the doll to the child, the child to the woman, the woman to the man, the man to the devil!”

-Victor Hugo

In New Orleans, Pax, the boutique vaporizer company, had put up several media people in a neighborhood filled with French Gothic mansions. “Am I Emma Roberts,” I wondered. “Or am I more of a Gabourey Sidibe?” Both have a lot of attitude. It is hard to choose.

It rained at the festival, but Ozzy was still predictably fantastic. He consumed no small live animals onstage, but I swear I could hear the wind whispering. It called to me, softly moaning “Sharon, Sharon” in a nigh incomprehensible English accent. Vaporizers do make a funny little sound when you suck on them.

It was that first day at the Voodoo Festival that I found my first kindred spirit. He was standing in the mud, in the darkness. He was alone, the kind of alone that denotes an extreme sort of solitude, the kind of alone that signifies moving through the world without attachment to anyone or anything at all. The blackness was his dearest companion.

I asked if I could take a photo. He nodded, silently. He was a killer clown. He was a man from my darkest nightmarish fantasies. He was real husband material.

I was shaken, but after the festival I still managed to consume a rib eye, seafood gumbo, fried green tomatoes, soft shell crab, bread pudding, and a beignet. I have an Emma Roberts metabolism. Or perhaps the Devil knew I was on his side, and thus I needed to be nourished. Perhaps he had lent me his dark magicks so that I could find more of his minions. I needed to seek out the clowns.

“O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil.”

-William Shakespeare

We went to the French Quarter. I am Australian, so I did not realize that being in New Orleans on Halloween would be similar to being in Florida in April. Semi-nude college students abounded, so it was easy to spot my second friend amidst this Everclear-fueled revelry. He silently stood in the streets. He was alone. They are always alone.

I was abruptly taken to see a “DJ Unicorn Fucker” at a club called the Dragon’s Den. I drank. I drank a great deal. So when I saw the third clown, I attempted to initiate contact. His black and white makeup was streaming from sweat, his costume matted. I attempted to make contact. I received no response.

Later that evening, a writer from VICE took me to a queer warehouse rave in the middle of the suburbs. There was crazy music, a leaky roof, and half-naked men running around. I know I encountered one of these dark daemons, but I know not its sexual preference. These clowns have no true gender or sexuality. They are beyond gender and sexuality. They are free.

I woke up with a Polaroid in my pocket, but I do not remember the interaction. I choose to believe that I was taken to another dimension that the human brain does not have the capacity to recall. However, the devil does not cure hangovers.

Beauty and the devil are the same thing.

-Robert Mapplethorpe

The festival was rained out that Sunday, but Pax came through. There was a warehouse party with English DJ duo Gorgon City, an appropriate name considering the weekend’s theme. Revelers who got rained out were able to come and let loose. Including myself. Including a clown. We spoke using not our words. Our eyes told stories.

Later, I made another friend. At Aunt Tiki’s, a dingy bar in the French quarter, I met a trans dominatrix by the name of Rinko. She was wearing all black, with a clear affinity for Manga. A man, either a client or a boyfriend, accompanied Rinko. It was difficult to tell who he was, but I knew that he was a devoted slave. She took me to a secret club called the Dungeon, which is infamous for its real life vampyres.

I encountered my final clown in this pit below the Earth. I touched his face, and asked why there were so many of them here. Why were they there? Why was I lead to them? Where were the answers?

The clown was silent. He bit down on his glass. It shattered. And he walked into the night.


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