It’s not just what you see in New Orleans that will amaze you – it’s what you might not see. Scare up a few extra bucks and tour the “Most Haunted City in America” with an educated, entertaining guide who can bring the dead to life for you.
We recommend some of these cool opportunities to learn about the legends and folklore that has helped make New Orleans famous. Why just come here to drink spirits when you might actually get to see one?
The tours ought to get you started exploring the "haunted" history of New Orleans.
If you enjoy a good ghost story, you’ll love these New Orleans ghost tours—they’re a scream!
Until You Get Here…
Below is some information on other sites rumored to be haunted in New Orleans to conjure up your appetite for adventure!
During the Civil War, the Hotel Provincial was used as a hospital for Confederate soldiers. Guests and maids have told of encounters with ghostly men on crutches and spirit surgeons. Once, a security guard said he stepped off the elevator onto the second floor into a hospital scene from the past -- nurses rushing frantically from patient to patient. He stepped back into the elevator without saying “boo.”
Lafitte Guest House
Lafitte Guest House at 1003 Bourbon Street also has a ghostly tale or two. In 19th century Louisiana, people covered mirrors in their houses with black cloths if there was an illness in the house, believing that the soul of the departed could enter a mirror and be trapped inside for all eternity. Legend has it that, apparently, Paul Joseph Gleises and his wife Marie Odalie Ducayet were too late with the cloth. It is said that a mirror outside Room 21 at the Lafitte Guest House is haunted by their daughter, five-year-old Marie, one of thousands of children from New Orleans who died during the yellow fever epidemic of 1853. Too upset to leave her baby, the ghost of the elder Marie is rumored to reside here as well.
Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
And if you suspected Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop at 941 Bourbon Street was haunted, you’re not alone. The privateer Jean Lafitte himself is said to keep an eye on the fireplace in his former Blacksmith Shop built in the late 1700s, a front for his smuggling operation, where it’s believed he hid his bootie. While some of the regulars swear the place is haunted, others claim those who’ve witnessed the apparitions couldn’t pass a sobriety test. You be the judge.
St. Louis Cathedral
In 1769, a group of French rebel leaders were executed by the Spanish for insurrection against the crown. To set an example, the bodies were left outside in Jackson Square to rot in the heat and rain. The French community was horrified, but no one was brave enough to challenge the Spanish leaders. Then nothing short of a miracle occurred. Pere Dagobert, the beloved priest of the Church St. Louis, later St. Louis Cathedral, showed up at the homes of the slain men and summoned their families to the church where to their amazement they found the bodies of their loved ones. It’s a mystery to this day, but somehow, under the watchful eyes of the Spanish soldiers, the priest had recovered the bodies. Then in a terrible rainstorm, Pere Dagobert performed a funeral mass and led the procession to Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1. Today, on rainy mornings before sunrise, some say they hear Pere Dagobert singing the Kyrie.
Le Petite Theatre du Vieux Carré
At Le Petite Theatre du Vieux Carré, right off Jackson Square at 616 St. Peter Street, it has been rumored that you might bump Caroline, an actress who performed here in the 1930s. One day, while joking with a director on the third-story balcony, she tumbled over the railing. According to legend, she slammed to the courtyard below where she died, dressed for the evening’s performance in a white wedding gown. But Caroline isn’t the only legendary ghost haunting Le Petite. Others include the Captain, the suitor of another actress who used to perform here. There have been reports that he settles into his balcony seat while modern day actors rehearse in hopes of catching a return performance by his lover.
Ursuline Convent at 1100 Chartres Street, the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley, is rumored to have a few ghosts – vampires, even. In the 1700s, the Catholic Diocese sent young girls from the French convents to New Orleans to find husbands and spread Christian values. They carried coffin-shaped chests as their suitcases. The chests were called “caskets,” and the young women became known as “the Casket Girls.” According to superstition, the caskets held vampires from the old country, and they were stored unopened in the attic, sealed shut with nails and screws blessed by the Pope himself. Legend has it that in the 1970s, after spotting a set of the attic’s shutters half open, two ghost hunters hid in the convent’s courtyard to try to catch the vampires on film. Legend has it that their bodies were found the next morning, drained of blood with a few mysterious scratches. (Those in the know say the shutters said to have been sealed shut with nails were installed 100 years later to protect from hurricanes.)
The Bourbon Orleans
The Bourbon Orleans at 717 Orleans Avenue is the site of the Orleans Ballroom, home to the famous Quadroon Balls, the grandest social events of the nineteenth century. Today it is said to also be the home of a lonely ghost dancer, seen twirling beneath the ballroom's crystal chandelier, and a ghost nun, from the time when a convent and a hospital were on the site. They say a man working alone on a stairwell felt a slap on his face after uttering an obscene word. Apparently, a sister was offended.
One of the most notorious haunted houses in America is LaLaurie Mansion at 1140 Royal Street. In 1832, Creole socialitie Delphine LaLaurie and her doctor husband moved to these splendid quarters, where they entertained lavishly. But although Madame LaLaurie was quite beautiful, she was also quite mad – a murderess, in fact. Come learn all about her on visit to this historic home, once owned by actor Nicholas Cage.
The raised center-hall Creole cottage at 1113 Chartres has been lived in by several famous residents, including Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard, the Southern commander at the disastrous Battle of Shiloh. It’s said that around 2 A.M., the ghosts of the general and his troops have been known to reenact that famous battle in the hallway outside the ballroom. The soldiers first appear in full Confederate dress, then slowly turn tattered and bloody. In his 1996 book New Orleans Ghosts, Victor C. Klein writes that "Men with mangled limbs and blown-away faces swirl in a confused dance of death." The despondent ghost of General Beauregard repeatedly whispers, “Shiloh.”
We hope you have an experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life!