All Hallows’ Eve, The Afterlife, And The Business Of Seeing Into The Future
Imagine walking down Royal Street and suddenly spying hundreds of shadowy specters dressed like characters from a bygone-era opera. Envision apparitions in full taffeta skirts, ghosts clad in tailored waistcoasts and stockings, both wearing wigs and hats while holding walking sticks and parasols. There are so many of these phantasms swirling around you that you feel claustrophobic and faint.
It might seem like you’re caught up in the Society of St. Anne parade on Mardi Gras morning, but you’re not. You’re experiencing the shocking, supernatural vision Cari Roy did when she was 9, still a child but old enough to commune with the dead.
Roy said on Oct. 31, the veil between the world of the living and the deceased is at its thinnest.
“Halloween for psychic mediums is like tax season for accountants,” Roy said. “This time of year is considered the easiest for the two worlds to communicate.”
Roy bills herself as New Orleans’ most accurate and empathic psychic reader and medium and, for more than 20 years, has been casting her spell on her select clientele, connecting them with their dearly departed to gain comfort and closure. She also helps them discover what opportunities lie ahead, leads them towards peace of mind, and navigates their present and their future when it comes to romance, finance, health and wealth.
Roy has turned her unearthly gifts into a profitable business and attributes much of her prosperity to the city in which she experienced her earliest, eerie visions.
“I think New Orleans has helped me achieve my business success,” she said. “There’s much more acceptance here. It’s a town of mystery. People associate it with Voodoo and religion. The paranormal is more accepted here. I’m connected here. I’m a member of the Women’s Professional Council. Where else in the United States would a psychic medium be a member of a Women’s Professional Council? Only in New Orleans.”
Entrepreneurial by nature, Roy didn’t attend psychic business school. But she did participate in séances, learned all forms of divination, read astrological charts, practiced automatic writing and dream interpretation and studied comparative religion, psychology and cultural anthropology.
She said she understands marketing and business plans and promotes herself as a consultant. She’s even landed herself on multiple TV shows including A&E’s “Haunted Houses,” The Travel Channel’s “America’s Most Terrifying Places,” Fox News, The Discovery Channel and NBC’s “Today” show with travel correspondent Peter Greenberg and celebrity parapsychologist Dr. Larry Montz. Roy was named New Orleans’ “most renowned psychic” and “best psychic to see” by travelchannel.com, was rated the number one psychic to see in the U.S. by bbcamerica.com and led many high profile paranormal investigations into some of New Orleans most haunted landmarks including spooky French Quarter hotels and restaurants, creepy plantations and mansions and author Anne Rice’s exclusive Garden District properties.
“New Orleans is a perfect place to get a psychic reading,” she said. “We’re the only city with cemeteries in the middle of our neighborhoods so we’re constantly surrounded by Death. It’s not sanitized and cast out into the suburbs.”
“There’s a lawlessness about New Orleans like one would have seen in the Wild West,” she said. “It holds ghostly energy. It’s a given that this is the place where spirits dwell.”
Unlike the gypsy readers one can find in Jackson Square, Roy’s clientele is not tourist driven. She said half of her clients are locals, and she gives 4 to 5 readings a day, 4 days a week. Roy has a LLC, a real office in the CBD and an assistant who books her appointments 2 to 3 months in advance.
When an out-of-towner does find their way to Roy, she said she’s always honored and flattered by the multitude of referrals. She said it’s not uncommon to have 10 people from that new client’s town call soon after for phone readings. Word-of-mouth seems to be Roy’s most effective marketing potion.
“This is a long term business, and I don’t want to burn myself out,” she said. “I think my clients would prefer to wait 3 months and have me give them my 100%, than be the 15th person I read that day. There’s just so much you can give.”
Roy charges $100 for a 30-minute reading and $150 for an hour. She offers discounts for those booking 3 or more appointments, has psychic party and special event rates and sells gift certificates.
Roy asserts she has never been involved with any gimmicky psychic hotline, and she’s never met Ms. Cleo, but she does handle 25% of her business by phone.
“My clients live and travel everywhere,” she said. “Chicago, Japan the UAE. The phone allows me to provide my clients with time sensitive information.”
While Roy is sought after for her otherworldly psychic abilities, she said she’s not alone.
“Many are born psychic, but their gifts are often disregarded by their families, or for religious reasons,” she said. “When a child says ‘I see grandma,’ who passed 5 years ago, parents tend to discount and discourage the gift. But people are exceptional at all kinds of things. This is just another one of them.”
Roy received encouragement from her elders who understood and helped develop her startling talents. A third generation New Orleans psychic medium, Roy’s mother was a spiritualist practitioner and clairvoyant. Her maternal grandfather was a master astrologer and numerologist.
“Popular culture has not painted us in a very good light,” she said. “There are all kinds of readers and gypsy readers, but they lump us into the same category.”
Roy said her psychic readings are like massages for the soul. She alleviates doubt and fear, answers important questions, reveals unknown opportunities, helps guide in decisions and leaves her clients feeling more in control and at peace with all aspects of their life.
She gives “pure” psychic readings, which means she doesn’t use tarot cards, palms, tea leaves or crystal balls. Instead, Roy tunes into her client’s energy to access her intuitive brew of advice and information.
As a medium, Roy believes the dead are ever-present. As a reader of astrological charts, Roy uses the planets to determine personality strengths and weaknesses and relationship dynamics to forecast the best dates for action. As an interpreter of dreams, she determines the messages your subconscious is sending, and as a past life reader she can tell you about your “soul” family.
Roy, who sees her visions in color but dreams in black and white, likes to debunk 2 ghastly myths: It’s not scary to talk to the dead, and she won’t tell you bad things about your future.
“There is a misconception that psychics are doomsayers,” she said. “Mostly this comes from myth and movies and, unfortunately, some bad psychics out there. The majority of us are using our abilities to help people live happier lives. I am quite truthful in that I do not just tell people what they want to hear. Tough times are a part of life, but every cloud does have a silver lining. While I will let you know if a cloud is coming, I prefer to focus on the silver lining.”
Eighty percent of Roy’s clients are professional women, aged 25-65.
“Men use their intuition more, their killer instincts, they trust their gut,” she said. “With men it’s all about business, business, business. Women have more curiosity about what the future holds and want to learn more about their personal relationships and family. It’s the way we’re wired.”
If you want to know what the future holds for Roy tonight, she won’t be disguised as a gypsy. This Bywater resident, and hard-core costumer, likes to dress up like an astronaut or something from another world.
I couldn’t resist asking Roy about a business forecast for New Orleans. She told me she predicted the 2005 storms and left town early with her computer and all her photographs. But soon after she returned, she attended a function on a riverboat and saw another chilling and powerful vision.
“I looked over at the river bank, and I saw the river the way it must have looked in the 1700s and 1800s, crowded and full of life, teeming with life. I was able to see exactly what the city was, filled with traffic, and packed like a highway in L.A. or New Jersey. Business was churning business. And it reminded me of the glory of this city. We’re so resilient, and to see it like that again was amazing.”
Roy, a member of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, Stay Local! New Orleans and The NOLA Healing Alliance, said she saw new industry coming to New Orleans, manifesting itself as the tech boom.
“This is the future,” she said. “And one thing you learn in my business is you don’t fight the future.”