Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.
Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.
It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.
Hi Rene! Thanks for stopping by. Can you tell us a little about yourself?Sure thing, babe. I’m Rene Delachaise (pronounced REN-ay DELLA-shay), and I’m an aquatic shapeshifter—you’d probably call me a merman. I’m head of my clan down in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, southeast of New Orleans. My twin brother Robert and me, we run a shrimping business down there with a couple of trawlers. We hunt gators during season, and sometimes boar. Lately, we been doing way too much business with the wizards while they’re tryin’ to figure out what’s wrong with the water in the Mississippi River. On the whole, I don’t like wizards.What is a normal day like for you?Depends on the season. Before we got all tangled up with the wizards, I’d wait till almost dusk and take the Dieu de la Mer II out on the water and trawl for shrimp. During gator season, I’d put out baited lines late in the afternoon, then go back on the water and pull in the gators next day. Whatever you catch, shrimp or gators, you gotta take it into Venice, Louisiana, to the buyers. These days, wizards have to pay us a day rate to take them down below Venice, trying to test the water. They think it’s another problem, but I can tell them the whole bad water crap is ‘cause of the Villere clan of mers that have moved into our territory. They’re trying to run us out, but it ain’t gonna work.Thanks to fairy tales and folklore, people often have a preconceived notion of mermen and how they should appear. Is this something that bothers you or do you enjoy the surprised reactions?Well, see, my only problem is that it’s all mermaid this and mermaid that. I mean, I ain’t no chick, babe. I can prove it. Wanna see? I got some tattoos you ain’t gonna believe. And our women, they don’t run around half naked all the time. Well, some of the time. Wish they’d do it more, actually. Mers in Louisiana are mostly descended from the French mers who were driven out of Canada a few hundred years ago—what people call Cajuns now. Humans, they don’t know about us, and that’s fine with me.Of all the body art you have, is there one piece that is your favorite or that has more meaning to you than the others?My most unusual tat would be a diving bottle-nosed dolphin that’s…well, let’s just say it’s anatomically oriented, babe. The most meaningful is a letter “T” on my lower back—it’s in honor of my mom, Theresa, who died during Hurricane Katrina. Not many people know ‘bout that one.It's a well-known fact that all mers hate wizards. Now that you've met DJ, has your feelings about wizards changed at all? Would you ever consider dating a wizard?Heh. Yeah, you know, I didn’t like DJ at first—she was just another wizard, you know? But she’s okay, her. I like to shift in front of her because it makes her blush. I’d do her.What are your plans for the future?I just want to get this business with the Villeres and the poisoned river straightened out so the wizards can do their thing and leave me alone to my business. Me and DJ, we’ll stay friends….but not everyday friends. Every-once-in-a-while friends. Cause I still don’t much like wizards.Thanks for having me here, babe. Think you might want to go for a swim? I got no problem with human girls.
A big thanks to Suzanne for allowing me to chat with Rene. This was a lot of fun!