I’m a huge fan of walking tours. I love to go on them wherever I am. Poland, Budapest, New Orleans. It doesn’t matter. Sign me up and I’m down to learn about whatever city I’m in. It’s by far my favorite way to see a city that I’m brand new to. The hop on/hop off bus tours are for the weak.
New Orleans is often described as one of the most haunted cities in America. New Orleans residents say the dead refuse to rest here because there is no solid ground to hold them (New Orleans being a swamp and all). There are so many different tours you can take, and you can even opt to spend a night in a haunted hotel, but since Kristen and I weren’t that brave (plus we had our own hotel to sleep in, thankyouverymuch) we did some Googling and purchased tickets for the “Ghost Tour” around the French Quarter with a company called “Spirit Tours.” Tickets were $21 each and easily purchased online (now they’re $25 each, according to their site).
It was sort of a combination of a bar crawl AND a ghost walking tour, stopping at various bars along the way. We started the night at Patrick O’Briens, the infamous spot where Hurricanes (the drinks, not the weather) were invented, and we definitely imbibed a fair bit there before joining the tour.
Because of this fact, I don’t remember many details of the stories we were told about the different sites we visited but thank goodness for Facebook because I had little snippets of the stories that I did remember when I returned under some of the photos in my photo album. Here’s what I wrote:
The first haunted stop of the night was the site of the former French Opera House, which is now a Sheraton Hotel. Apparently sometimes people see ghosts of those who lost their lives in the fire in the hallways. As you can see, I didn’t catch any in my photos!
Next we stopped at Antoine’s Restaurant. Antoine Lepardi Jourdan and his entire family once ran this restaurant and now everyone who works at this restaurant claims to have seen the ghost of Antoine at some point. Allegedly you have a better chance of encountering Antoine’s ghost if you ask for a seat in the back room.
The only part of the story I could recall from this photo was that this building was haunted by the spirit of a girl who was killed there. The tale goes: this green door was once the door to a speakeasy during prohibition and one night three girls went in, but only two came out. No one knows what happened to the third girl so we can only assume she never left and now people see apparitions from time to time.
The Bosque House once stood in this spot. It was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1788 when curtains caught on fire from a candle on the family altar of army treasurer Don Vicente Jose Nuñez. Because it was Good Friday, the church would not allow the bells to be rung to alarm residents, thus the fire destroyed the church and 900 other buildings that night. Residents of Bosque House now report hearing the sound of bells ringing sometimes.
Said to be one of the most haunted hotels in New Orleans, the Andrew Jackson Hotel was at first a boarding school where many young men died of during the yellow fever plague in New Orleans. This spot is also haunted by the ghosts of five young boys who died in a fire there in 1778. Creepy.
This is St. Louis Cathedral. St. Louis Cathedral was built on a cemetery. You know how much ghosts love mortals building things on their homes. Yeah. Good times. Here’s a creepy photo of the creepy Jesus statue at night all lit up.
The Old Ursuline Convent is the oldest building New Orleans and is said to be one of the most haunted places in New Orleans. The most haunted place in the most haunted city in the country? What could go wrong?! Nothing went wrong, but it’s a church and churches are, to me, creepy to begin with. There are about four versions of the story of the “Casket Girls,” who came to America aboard a ship from France and you can read all of the stories here.
One version of the story went that the three girls came here from France with casket-like trunks that they assumed held their belongings and when the girls realized they were being sold into prostitution in New Orleans, they went back to France. When the nuns looked in the coffins they left behind, they found nothing. Thus the story that these three girls brought European vampires to America began.
Even New Orleans Supreme Court House is said to be haunted by the ghost of two people who were shot during a murder trial in the 1930’s. This is believed to be related to the Mafia. Of course it is.
The last stop I can remember is Muriel’s, another haunted restaurant. Firstly, the servants of Claude Trepagnier, one of the original founders of New Orleans, are said to haunt the area as his home was located on this land. Until the Great Fire of 1788 that is and after that Pierre Antoine Lepardi bought the land and built his dream home. Unfortunately he was also had a gambling problem and one night after he gambled and lost everything, he killed himself in what is now known as the “seance room.”
Employees of Muriel’s have all seen things moving on their own and they always keep a table in the back corner set for Lepardi in case he’d like to dine with them.
I found photos in my album from several other haunted spots but I can’t recall the details. Needless to say, we got our monies worth for this tour, even if we can’t recall a whole lot from the end because of the aforementioned Hurricanes. If you’re going to the the most haunted city in America, I’d say a ghost tour should be at the top of your list.
PS: The first photo was from a stop whose name I can’t recall and is it just me or is there a ghost-like blur in the center?