Lord of the Zombi Court
The man that would become Baron Samedi was born Herman Monroe in New Orleans. His grandmother operated a small voodoo-themed gift shop off of Bourbon Street; a tourist trap for drunk revelers looking to buy beads and souvenir voodoo dolls. Both of his parents worked on a riverboat that offered dinner cruises. Monroe was prepared to find work in the tourist industry himself upon graduating. But after Hurricane Katrina hit, Herman decided to study engineering in college in order to help rebuild the city. He eventually ended up working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers upon graduation. But instead of working on redesigning levies to protect flood-prone areas, he found himself working on something called Project U.P.P. in Virginia.
The facility, he learned, was designed to be self-sustaining in the event of a nuclear war. He eventually discovered that several of these facilities were being built across the country. At first, Monroe assumed these were to protect sensitive government operations in the event of war. But as he dug deeper, he learned the project was selling slots to wealthy political donors in both parties. Monroe threatened to blow the whistle on the operation and found himself arrested on trumped up terrorism charges.
Doomsday came the day he was being transported to a “secure facility” for interrogation. He managed to escape during the chaos, but at some point fell unconscious. When he awoke, he had changed into a zombie. At first horrified, his horror slowly twisted into amusement even as terrified survivors tried to shoot him in the head. Eventually he came across others who shared his deformity. His good humor in the face of such a terrifying transformation caused others to look to him as a leader. Remembering the old lessons from his grandmother, he adopted the persona of Baron Samedi.
Samedi and his horde traveled up and down the East coast in the decades that followed, alternately terrorizing and assisting any settlements they came across depending on how the survivors reacted. Those that showed a semblance of civility benefited from Samedi’s generosity, while those that shot first and asked questions later found their settlements devastated.He eventually made his way back to New Orleans to discover his parents had survived the initial bombings, but had been killed by raiders during the Endless Night. Feeling guilty for not coming home sooner, and remembering his original dream of rebuilding the city, Samedi convinced the survivors of New Orleans to rally to his cause.
He has been the driving force to rebuild New Orleans. The establishment of the salt refinery and the construction of the water filtration facility have given the city hope again. But he isn’t without his detractors. Members of the voodoo community resent that he has adopted the persona of such a revered Loa and consider it sacrilegious. Others feel Samedi is often heavy-handed in his rulings and that in his quest for order he is more of a dictator than a leader. For now, however, the majority see Samedi as the city’s only chance of survival.