The story takes place in the Tremé District of New Orleans. Traditionally populated by black Creoles, this small district bears the distinction of being New Orleans’ first true suburb. Situated lakeside of the French Quarter’s old walls, now North Rampart Street, this mostly poor neighborhood is but a shadow of the quaint area it once was. The run-down (and often derelict) condition of many of the district’s once beautiful buildings has recently spurred residents to rally in an attempt to revive the area. Progress is slow, however, for many consider the Tremé nothing but a lost cause.
Still, a number of important sites are located here, amid and beneath all the crime and grime. One of the most wondrous churches in the region, St. Augustine’s Church, is located here. Built by the same architect who rebuilt the St. Louis Cathedral, St. Augustine’s opened in 1842, making it the second-oldest African-American Catholic church in the nation. Down the road sits Louis Armstrong Park, the place commemorating the legendary jazz cornetist
and singer. In the mid-19th century, the area was just outside the city walls and was the location for a slave-and-freed-blacks market called Congo Square. In the early 20th century, the infamous red-light district of Storyville occupied the adjacent area.
Wed Feb 25th, 2004, just shortly after midnight - 5 people find themselves in Louis Armstrong Park with no memory of the past few hours. As each of them pick themselves off the ground they notice that something is different. They no longer breathe, their bodies are cold, and their heart has stopped. They’re not in any discomfort and can move about as freely as before. However, they’ all feel a strong sense of hunger.
Just then, 5 partygoers round the corner of a path; 3 men and 2 women. All but one of walking corpses seize the opportunity to feast on the blood of the living. Of those 4, only 1 has the willpower to resist killing his prey and holds fast to his humanity. Of the female corpses hardens her heart at the murder she just committed while the other two know that they’ve done wrong. Meanwhile, the last corpse who refused to attack the partygoers loses control of himself as he sees the others feeding and flies into a hunger frenzy, killing the last male partygoer. He feels sorry for what he has done.
Then, behind the group, a man walks towards them with his hands outstretched showing that he means them no harm. He explains that like the rest in the group, he too is “kindred”. He introduces himself as Father John Marrow. He takes them to Corpus Christi Church after shooting 4 of the bodies in the head with his handgun.