Ten years ago, in the post-Katrina city, we went through the slow, painful process of rebuilding. We knew we could never regain the lives lost, the homes and livelihoods destroyed, or the naïve belief that we were somehow charmed and invincible in our slice of paradise below sea level.
Now we know better. It can all be gone in a capricious gust of wind or pressure on a levee built on unstable soil.
When I began the Sentinels series around my own Hurricane Katrina experiences as a longtime New Orleans resident, I used the hard lessons of that flood to structure a paranormal New Orleans under a similar assault from the preternatural realms.
In the series, there are other breaches—the failure of the metaphysical levees between our world and the preternatural world known as the Beyond. The wizards who maintain the borders between worlds entered a crisis of their own, with a flood of paranormal creatures wandering into the modern city to live and create mischief among us.
Most of the jobs controlling that intersection of human and paranormal fall to heroine DJ Jaco, a wizard, and her partner Alex Warin, an assassin for the wizarding elders. And now that the borders have dropped permanently, they stay pretty busy.
But DJ took a few minutes out between weregator wrangling and goblin grabs to talk about the five prete species you might want to avoid next time you’re visiting the Big Easy.
The Historical Undead. That handsome guy in period clothing you see striding down Royal Street? He’s probably not an actor on his way to lead a French Quarter tour pretending to be the notorious early 19th-century French pirate Jean Lafitte. Because in the “new” New Orleans, if a person was famous enough in human life, he or she lives forever in the Beyond, fueled by the magic of human memory. So yeah, it’s the real pirate Lafitte, looking as alive as you or me. You also might run into other famous New Orleanians: DJ has hired Louis Armstrong as her spy; summoned up voodoo goddess Marie Laveau to pump her for info; had to turn Truman Capote and William Faulkner into cats; and she and Captain Lafitte have a….complicated relationship.
Merfolk. Mermen and merwomen (they no longer wish to be called “maids”) are not the exotic stuff of legend. They are aquatic shapeshifters descended from the French-speaking Acadians driven out of Canada by the British in the 1700s. Modern folk call them Cajuns. Most of the merfolk, who live in clans, work in the fishing industry in South Louisiana, which is sort of cannibalistic if you think about it too hard. They’re also prone to producing twins and triplets, are a tad on the grumpy side, but on the whole are an honorable people. Mostly. Usually.
Loup-Garou. No ordinary werewolves are the Loup-Garou, who are the lone rogues of the werewolf world. They don’t respect authority; they don’t travel in packs. They don’t recognize an alpha, because they’re all alpha. Humans turned Loup-Garou tend to have very poor self-control and often have to be killed by the wizards’ enforcers.
Elves. Forgot every lie JRR Tolkien told you: elves are Bad News. Did I mention DJ has elves in her family tree and can do some of their magic? They do not like this.
Vampires. These fanged fatales are not romantic noblemen of times past. In fact, they’re treacherous and unreliable. Never believe a vampire. He’ll be loyal…until he gets a better offer.
Faeries. DJ has a brief assessment of the vast fae population: “The fae are nuts.”
So there you have it! Which prete group would you most want to meet—or to avoid?
Thanks for reading!
PIRATE’S ALLEY—Book 4 of the Sentinels of New Orleans series—is out now!
After vanquishing undead serial killers and discovering the dark secrets of her family history, wizard sentinel DJ Jaco must now stop the coming preternatural war in Suzanne Johnson’s Pirate’s Alley.
Caught in the middle of a rising struggle between the major powers in the supernatural world–the Wizards, Elves, Vampires and the Fae–DJ finds her loyalties torn and her mettle tested in matters both professional and personal.
Her relationship with enforcer Alex Warin is shaky, her non-husband Quince Randolph is growing more powerful, and her best friend Eugenie has a bombshell that could blow everything to Elfheim and back. And that’s before the French pirate Jean Lafitte, newly revived from his latest “death,” returns to New Orleans with vengeance on his mind. DJ’s assignment? Keep the sexy leader of the historical undead out of trouble. Good luck with that.
Duty clashes with love, loyalty with deception, and friendship with responsibility as DJ navigates passion and politics in the murky waters of a New Orleans caught in the grips of a brutal winter that might have nothing to do with Mother Nature.
War could be brewing, and DJ will be forced to take a stand. But choosing sides won’t be that easy.
PIRATE’S ALLEY can be purchased in hardcover or eBook format