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Haunted New Orleans

Last Spring Break I was fortunate enough to visit one of the most exciting cities in America. That city of course is New Orleans! Authors and experts have hailed this city as "one of the most haunted places in America." I have provided a list of haunted sites in the French Quarter and in other parts of the city which account for the city's familiarity with the unknown.

Note: New Orleans is just one of my favorite Southern cities, so please don't criticize me for including haunts from Louisiana. Thank you. I might plan in the future for the website to have info on the Southeastern United States and its ghost stories.

Beauregard-Keyes House - A legion of ghosts haunts this house, which was built in 1812. General Pierre Gustave Toutant de Beauregard lived in the house until 1869. He commanded Southern soldiers at the disastrous Battle of Shiloh, where thousands of Americans lost their lives. Sometimes, around 2:00 A.M., the ghosts of Beauregard and his troops stage the Battle of Shiloh right in the hallway outside the ballroom. Beauregard and his troops first appear in full Confederate dress, then slowly turn tattered and bloody, as if reliving the course of the doomed fight.

Cities Service Tanker Dock - New Orleans was the home port of an oil tanker, the S.S. Watertown. On December 4, 1924, two of its crew were buried at sea. James Courtney and Michael Meehan were overcome by fumes while cleaning out an empty tanker compartment during a return trip through the Panama Canal. Nearly every day after their burial, crew members reported seeing their faces following in the wake of the ship. Eventually everyone on board saw the apparitions and agreed they were the faces of the dead men. When the tanker docked in New Orleans, Captain Keith Tracy made a full report to the company. Supervisor J. S. Patton suggested that the captain try to take photographs of the phenomenon. Shortly after the Watertown left port again, the faces materialized at the stern of the ship, and the captain was able to take six pictures. The film was turned over to Patton, who had it developed. One of the photos clearly showed the faces of the two dead crewmen. Cities Service wrote up the story in their company magazine and had an enlarged version of the photo on display at its New York headquarters. The negative was checked by the Burns Detective Agency and declared genuine.

Gardette-LePretre House - This lavish house was leased by a brother of the Turkish Sultan and his family in the late 1790s. One stormy night, assassins from a fanatical Arabian sect searching for the sultan's brother traced him to the house. They brutally murdered everyone they found, including the sultan's wives and servants. The killers buried the sultan's brother under a date tree in the courtyard and left behind an inscription: "The justice of heaven is satisfied, and the date tree shall grow on the traitor's tomb." The date tree is known as the Death Tree. Ghostly forms accompanied by the sounds of Oriental music were seen there for many years, but after the house was turned into apartments, the visitations stopped.

Griffin House - This french-style house, built in 1852, is home to an unidentified presence that is blamed for a variety of eerie phenomena, including invisible footsteps and other sounds.

Hermann-Grima House - The ghosts here are very considerate. They are said to scatter fragrant rose and lavender about the parlor to freshen the room. On cold mornings they light the fireplaces to keep things cozy.

****Lalaurie House - Delphine Lalaurie was a rich and beautiful New Orleans matriarch who built this house in 1832. But the seemingly charming woman harbored an intense hatred for black people and kept slaves chained in the attic, where she maimed and tortured them. In 1833, one young girl slave freed herself from her chains but was cornered on the roof by Dame Lalaurie. Witness saw the crazed woman beat the black girl with a whip, until the slave leaped to her death to escape. Dame Lalaurie hid the body in a well, but police discovered it after a neighbor told them what had happened. Lalaurie was fined and forced to sell her slaves; however, friends purchased the slaves at public auctions and returned them to her. On April 10, 1834, a black cook set the kitchen on fire because she could not stand the living conditions anymore. Firefighters who put out the fire found the cook chained to the floor and discovered seven slaves fastened to various torture devices in the attic. An angry crowd formed and forced Lalaurie to leave town. She settled in southern France and died on a hunting expedition a few years later. (She was gored to death by a wild boar.) At the turn of the century, the house was turned into apartments. Tenants reported many different ghostly figures on the premises, including Madame Lalaurie, a tall black man on the staircase, and strange shrouded forms moving about. Strange sounds were also heard: an invisible chain being dragged down the staircase; the pitiful cries of the slave girl near the cherub fountain in the courtyard; and tortured screams coming from the attic. Even today, passersby whisper, "La maison est hantee" ("The house is haunted").

Laveau House - An illegitimate mulatto born in 1794, Marie Laveau was the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. She led voodoo dances in Congo Square and sold charms and potions from her home in the 1830s. Sixty years later she was still holding ceremonies and looked as young as she did when she started. Her rites at St. John's Bayou on the banks of Lake Ponchartrain resembled a scene from hell, with bonfires and other stuff which I don't want to type on this page. She had a strange power over police and judges and succeeded in saving several criminals from hanging. Her perpetual youth led some historians to speculate that there were actually two Laveaus, perhaps a mother and daughter. In fact, two tombs are said to belong to Laveau in an old cemetery in the French Quarter (see St. Louis Cemetery, below.) In any case, by 1895 Marie Laveaus I and II had disappeared. Her ghost and those of her followers are said to practice wild voodoo rituals in her old house, where one can still buy voodoo potions and gris-gris bags of spells. Laveau has also been seen walking down St. Ann Street wearing a long white dress. The phantom is that of the original Marie, because it wears her unique tignon, a seven-knotted handkerchief, around her neck. On St. John's Eve, her spirit can be heard singing at St. John's Bayou. See Voodoo Museum, below.

Pharmacie Francaise - This museum displays ancient cures and methods, including a collective of voodoo hexes and magical gris-gris potions. It is listed by the U.S. Department of Commerce as an official haunted site. Most of the instruments, furniture, and glassware date from the nineteenth century. An apothecary was opened on the first floor of this town house in 1823 by Louis Dufilho, the nation's first licensed pharmacist. It became a museum in 1950.

St. Louis Cemetery - Two unmarked, graffiti-covered tombs here are thought to contain the remains of the two Marie Laveaus (see Laveau House, above). Even today, people leave voodoo offerings, mark and X for good luck, or knock three times to summon her spirit. Many believe Laveau's spirit can be seen as a large black crow that flies over the tombs. One man claimed that the ghost of Marie slapped him across the face and then floated to the ceiling, when he failed to acknowledge her presence in a drugstore in the French Quarter. The scene was witnessed by the owner of the store. Others claim she takes the form of a large black dog that roams through the cemetery.

Voodoo Museum - This museum traces the history of the voodoo cult in New Orleans and contains many items relating to voodoo spirits and spells. See Laveau House, above.

Haunted House on Royal Street - This rowhouse behind the church is famed for the ghost of the Octoroon Mistress who walks the roof on cold December nights. She was a beautiful octoroon lady who was discovered by a rich French man at one of the famous Octoroon Balls held at places like the present site of the Bourbon Orleans Hotel. Being a woman who had black blood, they were prohibited to marry. His mistress begged him to marry her almost every night. The man, believing that his mistress was not very serious, told her to take off her clothes and sit on the roof all night to prove her love for him. He thought that she would never take him seriously, so he played a game of cards the whole night with one of his close friends who had come to visit. When he came back to his bed, he discovered no mistress lying there. He quickly ran up to the roof to find her lifeless body freezing in the cold winter night. The man was forever heartbroken. It is said that people who pass on Royal Street often see her on winter night walking around the roof of the three store building. The building on Royal Street is now owned by the Bottom of the Teacup Psychic Readers? If anyone in New Orleans has a different name for the place, please e-mail me. (I think that's the real name, though.)

Le Petite Theatre Du Vieux Carre - This little theater near Jackson Square is supposed to be home to scores of ghosts, which include a ghost called "Caroline", a ghost called "the Captain", a ghost called "Sigmund", and little children ghosts which are known to play pranks.

Provincial Hotel - Another haunted location is this hotel on Chartres Street. During the Civil War, this building was used as a hospital for Confederate soldiers. The part of the present-day hotel that is referred to as "Building 5" was a ward for critically ill and maimed men. The trauma endured by these men has apparently left a lasting impression behind as it is the only part of the structure that is said to be haunted today. Staff members and guests have told of encounters with ghostly men on crutches, spectral doctors and surgeons and even bloodstains that mysteriously appear and then vanish. I found out while in New Orleans that a common complaint in the hotel is that of bloodstains which have been found on the sheets in the rooms.

Dauphine Orleans Hotel - A ghost named "George" reportedly haunts this hotel. Two particular suites, Suite 110 and 111, are known for the weird occurences which happen in the rooms.

Of course, same goes for this page as Northern Alabama Hauntings. I used the "National Directory of Haunted Places" by Dennis William Hauck, a book called "Haunted New Orleans" by Troy Taylor, and accounts which I had heard and experienced in New Orleans.