posted on May 14, 2015 by Suzanne Johnson

Five Preternatural Species to Avoid in New Orleans

by Suzanne Johnson

PiratesAlley_compPeople in New Orleans know Hurricane Katrina changed everything. In the Sentinels of New Orleans series, whose fourth book PIRATE’S ALLEY released recently, they don’t know the half of it.

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!

Elysian_compIt is recommended that readers at least read Book 3, ELYSIAN FIELDS, beforehand.

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.

River Road book 2Wizard sentinel DJ Jaco thought she had gotten used to the chaos of her life in post-Katrina New Orleans, but a new threat is looming, one that will test every relationship she holds dear.

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.

Royal Street_REV book 1Her 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

Suzanne Johnson

Suzanne Johnson

The Unofficial Bio:
I am ridiculously nearsighted, have a weakness for reality shows (anyone for a marathon of “Ice Road Truckers?”) and am somewhat obsessive-compulsive. Well, okay, my critique partner calls me “Rain Man.” I like to color-code anything, am obsessed with the search for the perfect daily planner, and love listening to Canadian French folk music.

The “Official” Bio
Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series from Tor Books: ROYAL STREET, (Book 1), RIVER ROAD (Book 2), ELYSIAN FIELDS (Book 3), and PIRATE’S ALLEY (Book 4). BELLE CHASSE (Book 5) will release on Nov. 8, 2016. She is also the author of a holiday short, CHRISTMAS IN DOGTOWN, a novella and collection of stories, PIRATESHIP DOWNTHE CONSORT, that was part of the Dark Secrets Paranormal Noir anthology.

Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the multiple award-winning Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance series: REDEMPTION, ABSOLUTION, OMEGA, and ALLEGIANCE, and a standalone spinoff, STORM FORCE; The Collectors romantic thriller series, LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP and DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD; and a paranormal digital short, CHENOIRE. Her new Wilds of the Bayou series with Montlake Romance begins with WILD MAN’S CURSE, releasing April 5, 2016, with book two (as yet untitled) following in late 2016.

A longtime New Orleans resident, Suzanne is a veteran journalist with more than fifty national awards in writing and editing nonfiction for higher education, including the Robert S. Sibley Award for the best university magazine in the U.S. and Canada, for the Rice University magazine. She currently works at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., and is plotting a return to the Gulf Coast within the next sixteen months.

Suzanne is an active member of Novelists Inc., Romance Writers of America, and is a member of the Southern Magic, Kiss of Death, Georgia Romance Writers, and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapters of RWA.

Suzanne Johnson Contest

Suzanne Johnson is giving away a print copy of WILD MAN'S CURSE (Wilds of the Bayou Book 1), writing as Susannah Sandlin.

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16 thoughts on “Five Preternatural Species to Avoid in New Orleans”

  1. Liz S says:

    Would love to meet Jean LaFitte and Louis Armstrong and Rene! The whole concept of the historical undead is brilliant! Do they exist in other countries as well?

    1. As much as I’d love to meet Jean and Louis, I’d really love to meet Rene. He’s turned into one of my favorite characters 🙂

  2. Roger Simmons says:

    The Historical Undead would be my favorite group to meet. What great fun that could be. Talking with Jean in a bar, with Louis playing his horn onstage, WOW! Loved Pirate’s Alley. Next Belle Chasse [2016].

    1. LOL. I keep imagining (I can’t help myself) what Jean Lafitte and I might find to talk about….and I come up empty. I dunno: “Plundered any Spanish ships lately?” doesn’t seem like a good pickup line 🙂

  3. Galena says:

    The historical undead seem the safest bet, as long as they’re not serial killers! 🙂

    1. Ha–good point. I DO NOT think I want to meet the Axeman of New Orleans!

  4. I’m reading this next and can’t wait!

  5. miki says:

    i would love to meet Jean and Rene or to organise a meeting between my mother and louis armstrong but the fae those i want to avoid witghout hesitation

    1. Ha, Miki–I think your instincts regarding the fae are spot-on! I think Louis Armstrong was a really, really nice man and your mom would love him!

  6. I’d love to meet Jake! He’s such an awesome character….

    1. Jake is such a sweetheart. He has some issues, but he seems to be finding himself again.

  7. BookLady says:

    I would love to meet the Historical Undead, especially Jean Lafitte! The Sentinels of New Orleans is a fantastic series and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys urban fantasy.

    1. Thank you! I adore Jean and foresee many more adventures for him in the modern world!

  8. bn100 says:

    meet Jean

    1. LOL–we all want to meet Jean. I wonder how intense and scary he might have been in real life–although he did have a reputation as a charmer, so with the ladies he was probably quite fun 🙂

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