Archive for Friday, 11 May, 2012

Just a reminder, folks, the New Orleans Vampire Association will be running an art auction beginning May 15th… This auction will run until July 15th with various items up for grabs… Please see the upcoming events on the website for updates on this event…

May 15th-July 15th, 2012 Silent (online) auction of a variety of items including artwork and jewelry
Here is what Zaar had to say about the event:
Greetings all,

As we, of the New Orleans Vampire Association, have decided to move forward with the next phase of our intentions, I thought I would explain what we are doing in a bit more detail.

As many of you know, NOVA is a State recognized non-profit organization. We have begun moving forward a little faster than we had anticipated on our next step. Our Federal status…

To accommodate this, we have decided to hold an “art auction”… Each House represented on the NOVA Council has offered articles to be auctioned off in a “silent” online auction. Three pieces, in particular, are donated by well-known New Orleans’ artists…

Once we have applied for our Federal non-profit status we will, with the help of another member of our local community, begin looking at possible grants which we can apply for to move into the next phase of our plans… Once appropriate grants are located, we have access to a grant writer, as well as other skilled members of the Council, to begin piecing together our ultimate goal… A Homeless Shelter.

The particular Homeless Shelter we are planning, as noted in the Season Finale of “Vampires: New Orleans” is going to be a two fold event. It will have “overnight stay” facilities as well as “transitional housing” for those who are truly looking to get a foot up in our local community. Our Homeless Shelter will focus on the gay/lesbian/pagan communities but be open to EVERYONE and ANYONE who needs it.

The design of the facility is also to be a safe haven for the vampire/otherkin communities. A place where meetups can take place in a friendly and safe environment, as well as education on HOW to be safe. It will give the community a TRUE place to turn that is NOT a bar type environment, allowing even younger members of the community to participate in events…

Among functions which we hope to offer are the following, however, we are not limiting ourselves to JUST these:

*a safe place for medical issues
*a safe place for psychological/psychiatric issues NOT revolving around vampirism or otherkin nature (Yes, the doctors, nurses and faculty WILL be informed of the VERY vampiric nature of the organization founding this)
*a safe place to pursue GED/educational classes as offered
*a mailing address (we will be installing P O Boxes as well as the transitional housing apartments)
*transportation to and from other appointments, as necessary

Should anyone have questions or wish to donate to this endeavor, they can contact us at


Belfazaar Ashantison
Founder and Elder, House of Mystic Echoes
Founding Member of the New Orleans Vampire Association

That said, we here at the Grave Yard Press wanted to dig a little deeper when speaking with Zaar. Please enjoy the following “mini-interview”!
GYP: We see a lot of elders, self-described or otherwise, who focus on the community inward, while those of you in New Orleans seem to be focused on the community outward. It’s very refreshing in a day and age of “me, me, me”. But it also begs the question: Who taught you this?

Zaar: Throughout my life, I have been blessed to have guides, Elders and teachers who were about giving back. This has been a precept that I have constantly worked into my life. It all begins at one point, however. My Grandmother. My Grandmother was a loving woman who spent years helping others in any way she could. Along with my Grandfather, she was a loving foster parent to several within the foster care world. This was my first exposure to a world helping others. It set the pace for the person I was to become.

Thankfully, when hearing what the ultimate goal of the Homeless Shelter idea was, the members of the New Orleans Vampire Association chose to carry on this tradition as well. This took a great deal of pressure off of the House of Mystic Echoes from doing it as a lone project.

GYP: What are you doing to share with and teach the newer and younger generations?

Zaar: One of the primary lessons I teach, personally, is that “adaptability is the father of survivability, just as necessity is the mother of invention”. In this, those that are in my care learn a large array of survival skills, martial arts and life skills. I was truly surprised by how many of the newer generation of children (both young and old) really had no earthly clue how to do even the basic things, such as shop for groceries, plan a budget, do laundry properly… It is truly a crying shame. It seems that our children are being just pushed through school systems with just the barest of standards…

There was a time where education took precedence… Now… The barest minimum of life skills are being instilled in our children… Educational cuts suck majorly…

GYP: Did the food drops after Hurricane Katrina inspire you (holiday dinners and food drives), or was this something that was always in the back of your mind?

Zaar: Honestly, it was always something in my heart to do, however, I didn’t really have the chance to do anything about it until that most calamitous event, Hurricane Katrina… When she blew through, I had the chance to see and BE the changes I had longed to be part of. I began this with the help of two other friends. We set up our own food drop at the corner of 18th and Edenborn in what is popularly called “Fat City”, Metairie… We were even listed by local news as the “Official Unofficial Food Drop of New Orleans”… Consequently, we were also the ONLY food drop in the city that did not get robbed nor stolen from… Of course… That could have had something to do with a 6 foot 1, fanged man carrying around swords and singing songs to Orisha and Lwa… But hey… It could have been any number of things back then… LOL

GYP: Can you tell us about the larger vampire community prior to Katrina?
Zaar: Before Hurricane Katrina, the vampire community was set up on a Court System based off of the Sanguinarium system from the New York area. It was truly evident within the first years of this system that it DID NOT WORK here in the New Orleans area. New Orleans has her own flow, history and methodology… Applying a system that works in one place does not always mean it will work in another area… However, to be completely honest… It didn’t work in New York either… More often than not, if your House/Clan/Coven was not “recognized” by this system, you were treated as “less than worthy” by the members OF this system…

There was one specific leader that CHOSE to elevate specific people and the rest of us within the community were EXPECTED to bow, scrape and kiss their asses… I don’t bow, scrape nor kiss anyone’s ass…

During this time, many of the community members who were abused by such people pulled away from the community to seek their own methods and paths, instead of work together to find a better way of doing things…

GYP: Many of our readers are interested in the “old school”. Do they still show up now and then? If not, do you know what happened to them?

Zaar: Here in New Orleans, most of the “old school” have since either fled because of mistreatment OR because of Hurricane Katrina… Once in a while, they pop their heads out and we will see them at an event… More often than not, though, there is no sight, no sound and no sign of them… Which is truly a sad thing to me… All that knowledge lost…

I am glad that I keep in touch with my former Elders… It truly helps me to keep my head on straight, having that connection that I can always touch base with, even though I don’t follow their particular path these days…