Welcome to The Big Easy
“We have been through change
by the season of the storms
accept eccentric faith
to need religion
to sit high among the elect
on march the saints "
New Chronicles of the Mississippi Delta
A setting for Vampire: The Masquerade after the flood.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the city of New Orleans, Louisiana was all but torn apart. On the morning after the levees finally gave way almost 80% of the city was flooded, destroyed, awash. The flooding left utter devastation in its wake, destruction on a scale that survivors described as like that of a vengeful god.
The impact that the thick mud and floodwaters had upon New Orleans and the surrounding area was nearly impossible to quantify. The tragic loss of life, not to mention the astronomical financial cost in property damage happened on a scale never before seen in mainland America. The waters that had made the area the very core of Louisiana commerce and gave birth to the city had now brought it to it’s knees. With the inundated infrastructure left in tatters, chaos reigned in all but a scant few districts of the city.
The Mississippi had finally broke through the levee as it had threated to to for so long, but when the floods came much of the city was unprepared for their violence. Only a few ‘island districts’ escaped the full wrath of the ‘Big Muddy’, the rest were washed away in a toxic swathe of foulness and river water as the sewers burst and heavy debris borne aloft on the swell swept aside whole districts. Entire neighbourhoods were destroyed, places which were once home to hundreds of thousands of people and their families.
To the Kindred the storm was catastrophic as the floods destroyed much of their carefully-balanced political system. Elder Kindred are by their very nature creatures of habit, reliant on maintaining the delicate status quo. Thus many were slow to react to the storm warnings and even those that were able to recognise the approaching threat, few wished to evacuate their hard-fought domains let alone the city itself.
Alliances that had held for countless nights were severed in moments as once-feared Elders were reported killed or missing. More than one powerful and influential individual was thought to have been washed out of their flooded haven only to face their final sunrise borne aloft amongst rotting flotsam on the day after the flood. Some Kindred suspect that other, perhaps wiser Elders have sunk into torpor deep in the sodden earth to await the rebuilding of the city. It is with such things as this in mind that there is some haste to bring back order to the parishes. At least amongst those with an interest in such things.
When the waters finally subsided the city was left in a vulnerable position both socially and politically and this precarious position bode ill for the Kindred. The court of New Orleans was altered irreparably by so much death and confuson, with pieces missing from the chessboard the it seemed that the endless game would collapse. With their source of fresh vitae disrupted, displaced and panicked, feeding became risky. The Masquerade had to be upheld and those few who remained fought to keep their true natures from the eyes of the terrified Kine.
But just as it is in the wild, scavengers can smell the scent of a sick animal and they come from miles around in search of an easy meal. Nomad Kindred came to feed and exploit the power vacuum left by the missing Elders, to feed freely and to watch with morbid fascination as the city bled itself dry. ‘Disaster tourists’ began to gather.
As with all disasters throughout time immemorial, the Sabbat came in droves, drawn to the scent of chaos and despair, as did the Anarchs revelling in the freedom while it lasts and several independent bloodlines for reasons of their own. The true reasons for the new arrivals were too varied to list and are unique to each of them. They came drawn by the chance to carve out new domains, to seek fresh hunting grounds and often to escape the oppressive ancient power structures of their previous residences.
You are vampire, a creature new to the night recently freed from the tutelage of your Sire and struggling to make a place for yourself in the restless cities of the undead. You have joined with a few others with a similar tale and have come to New Orleans to seek a territory of your own.
But instead of a land of opportunity you have found a city on the brink…
This is a work of imaginative fiction and although based on real world events it does not seek to in any way trivialise them. The intent here is to explore a setting as the original White Wolf source material puts it: “through a mirror darkly”, not to offend those involved or belittle the tragic events to which it refers.
The horror that was wrought by the floods of 2005 and subsequent social displacement are far more grim than any story of supernatural horror could possibly discuss. Our hearts go out to those who have been affected by the disaster and we sincerely hope that the wounds can be healed in time.