In honor of the Mardi Gras festivities which begin on February 15th this year, here’s a daytime ghost walking tour of New Orleans!
Disclaimers: the addresses listed below are privately owned so you can’t just go running in to do a ghost hunt. This tour was designed as a daytime walking tour to view the exteriors, and hopefully have an enjoyable walk with some good ghost stories along the way.
Lamothe House Hotel
621 Esplanade Avenue
Story: This townhouse was built in the 1830s.
Manifestation: A woman in a red gown which seems to date from the 19th century has been reported appearing and vanishing in the cottage. Other guests have reported the sounds of children’s laughter.
Walk down Esplanade towards the Mississippi River to 500 Esplanade Avenue.
547 Esplanade Avenue
Story: In 1879 businessman Charles Johnson built his dream mansion with the expectation of marrying and filling it with a family. But he never did. And when he died, he willed the mansion to his business partner’s daughter, Marie Andry Lanaux – a case of unrequited love?
Manifestation: The apparition of Charleson Johnson has been reported roaming the halls.
Turn right on Decatur Street and then right again on Barracks Street and left on Chartres to 1234 Chartres Street.
Le Richelieu Hotel
1234 Chartres Street
Story: This lovely hotel is believed to have been built on a place of execution. In 1802, when France seized Louisiana from Spain, several Spanish soldiers were executed by firing squad on this site.
Manifestation: The ghosts of executed Spanish soldiers have been seen wandering the grounds, near the hotel’s swimming pool and small bar.
Continue down Chartres Street to 1113 Chartres.
The Beauregard-Keyes House
1113 Chartres Street
Story: The Beauregard-Keyes House, was built in 1826 and got its name from two of its former residents, Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant (P.G.T.) Beauregard, and author Frances Parkinson Keyes. The garden was also the sight of a mafia massacre in the early 1900s, when it was owned by the Giacona family. At the time, the Black Hand was running an extortion racket in New Orleans, and attempted to extort $3000 from the Giaconas – a hefty sum at the time. The Giaconas fought back, killing several Mafioso in a gunfight in their garden.
Manifestation: A ghostly recreation of the bloody Battle of Shiloh has been reported to take place in the main hall, complete with the smell of blood and gun powder, and the vision of mangled men and animals. This begs several questions. Did the battle appear in miniature, or is there a bend in the space time continuum inside the hall? The latter would be cool. Next, if a ghostly battle was re-enacted in the hallway, I have to wonder about the person who identified it as the Battle of Shiloh. That’s pretty specific knowledge. And finally, WTF? I’m imagining the ghosts of Civil War re-enactors have taken up residence in the place. In the garden, people have reported smelling fresh gunpowder, and hearing shots, and seeing shadowy figures around the garden fountain.
A Vampire Tale
Across the street is the Ursuline convent, the source of an interesting vampire story. In N.O.’s early days, women from Spain of the rougher classes were shipped to the new world. Spending months below decks, and lips stained with blood from tuberculosis, the women were taken straight to the convent upon arrival. With their pale complexions and bloody mouths, the rumor circulated that they were vampires. Was this the source of the city’s reputation as a vampire capital?
Go right on Ursuline and peek through the gate into the haunted garden.
Turn right on Royal and go to #1140 (on the corner).
1140 Royal Street
Story: Built in 1832, the Lalaurie mansion was the site of many fashionable parties. On the afternoon of April 10, 1834, an fire started in the kitchen while the Lalauries were away. Neighbors rushed in to fight the fire, and found slaves chained in their quarters. The fire was put out, and newspapers reported – and most likely exaggerated – the wretched condition of the slaves. It’s now believed that Madam Lalaurie may have been one of America’s early victims of Yellow Journalism.
Public indignation at the tales of torture and abuse raised to a fever pitch, and a mob ran the Lalauries out of town. They escaped and eventually made their way to France, never returning to New Orleans. The mansion is reputed to be haunted by the Lalaurie slaves and it is believed that Madame Lalaurie was a friend of the voodoo queen, Marie Leveau, and was keenly interested in the occult. Apocryphal stories about the house and the torture inflicted by Madame Lalaurie on the slaves blossomed, and most are likely untrue. But the place was reputedly even too haunted for one of its more recent owners, the actor Nicholas Cage, who sold it in a foreclosure and claimed in an interview on the Letterman show that he never spent the night there.
Manifestation: The apparitions of tormented slaves and of Madame Lalaurie have been reported in the house. The sounds of moans and weeping. A re-enactment of the fire also seems to take place, with people reporting hearing the servants begging people for help putting it out, shouting, and doors slamming. Furniture has moved of its own accord, and people have reported feelings of oppression. Reverse directions on Royal and return to Ursuline.
Turn right on Ursuline, then go left on Bourbon Street to #1003.
Lafitte Guest House
1003 Bourbon Street
Story: According to legend, two children died in room 21 during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1853 and the mother never left the room afterward.
Manifestation: The cries of a grieving woman have been reported emanating from room 21.
BTW, Bourbon Street has its own haunting: witnesses have reported seeing the apparitions of a mob beating each other with curtain rods in the middle of the street. But Bourbon Street is long, so it’s unclear where these apparitions have been seen. It also smells like vomit in the seedier section.
Continue down Bourbon Street and go left on St. Phillip Street, then right on Royal Street to #919.
The Andrew Jackson Hotel
919 Royal Street
Story: The original building was the site of a boys school, and was destroyed by fire in 1788. Five children perished in the blaze. The school was replaced by a courthouse. Andrew Jackson was charged here with obstruction of justice after he saved New Orleans from a British invasion during the War of 1812. The courthouse was torn down in the 1840s and the current building is used as a hotel.
Manifestation: A male figure who looks like Andrew Jackson has been reported in the halls of the hotel, and ghostly children have been seen and heard playing around the hotel and courtyard. A female presence, possibly a maid, has been reported in the hotel rooms. The figure of an unknown male, hands behind his back and head down, has been seen in the courtyard – possibly the victim of an execution.
Retrace your steps up Royal and go right on St. Phillips.
Flannagan’s Café and Pub
625 St. Phillip Street
Story: Angela, the sister of the former owner, committed suicide in the ladies room.
Manifestation: Angela’s ghost has been seen and sensed around the café and pub.
Look across the street (roughly) to #626.
626 St. Phillip Street
Story: Built in 1849, this was the city’s first integrated mortuary, and saw heavy use during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1853, during which 10,000 New Orleans citizens perished. The mortician’s daughter was accused of stealing people from the dead. It then became a bar (The Morgue Bar and Lounge) and was believed that her spirit stole objects from the patrons who used the ladies room there. The ladies room was once the storage room for corpses.
Manifestation: Missing objects from the ladies room and orbs, moving objects, and apparitions in the main bar area.
End of Walk
About the Author:
Kirsten Weiss is the author of the Riga Hayworth series of paranormal mysteries: the urban fantasy, The Metaphysical Detective, The Alchemical Detective, The Shamanic Detective, The Infernal Detective and The Elemental Detective.