New Orleans is one of the most haunted cities in America. With a long history of voodoo, slavery, and vampires, how could it not be? There are haunted hotels and cemeteries all over the city, but for this article we’re going to focus on the eeriest streets of them all…
Pour yourself a drink and follow along with me as we tour the five most haunted locations in New Orleans’ French Quarter.
Jackson Square, a National Historic Landmark, was first developed in 1721. It functioned as a gathering area for locals to mingle after church and as a welcoming area for visiting soldiers. Oh, and it was also where they hosted public punishments and executions.
Today, during the day, Jackson Square’s grassy park is a lively, beautiful spot. It’s surrounded by local street vendors who sell their art, psychic mediums who reach for your hand to try and tell your fortune, and energetic street performers who will dance, sing, and play tricks for a chance to earn your cash.
But at night, the park becomes much more sinister.
The gates close at 6 o’clock sharp, just as the sun begins to set. No visitors are allowed in, and no ghosts are allowed out.
If you lean against the gate, you may feel a tug on your shirt, or find your backpack has been unzipped. Locals swear that it’s the ghostly hands reaching through the iron gates, trying to get ahold of you.
Locals have also seen stray cats wander through the park and look as if they’re rubbing up against a person’s leg. But of course, there’s nobody there.
Enjoy all that the park has to offer during the day, but stay far away from it at night.
Believe it or not, these three may not be the only ones dining at this table.
This photo was taken at Muriel’s, which is one of the many restaurants surrounding Jackson Square. Back in the early 1800’s, this was the home of Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan. He loved this house in the heart of New Orleans so much that he renovated it and turned it into his dream home. Unfortunately, he also loved gambling. During a poker game in 1814, Mr. Jourdan was so confident in his hand that he wagered his house. And you guessed it—he lost.
Unable to fathom losing his dream home, he decided to take his life so that he could stay in the house forever. And that he has.
Patrons of Muriel’s say they can see Mr. Jourdan’s ghost appear as a sparkly light that wanders through the second floor Seance Lounge. Rather than fear the ghost, Muriel’s embraces it and welcomes Mr. Jourdan to dine with guests at his reserved table every evening.
The LaLaurie Mansion
The building at 1138 Royal Street may look authentic and charming, but don’t let the flower baskets fool you. This building—The LaLaure Mansion—has one of the darkest histories in all of New Orleans…
Back in the 1830’s Madame Delphine LaLaurie lived in this mansion with her husband. On top of throwing lavish parties for the wealthy, Madame LaLaurie also housed many slaves. Some of them worked for her throughout the mansion, but others she kept all to herself, locked in the attic to be tortured at her leisure. The slaves were discovered when a fire broke out in the mansion in 1834. Unfortunately, none of the slaves survived.
The ghosts of the enslaved are said to still haunt the building, and that the mansion itself is now cursed. New Orleans’ enthusiast, Nicolas Cage, bought the mansion back in 2007 hoping it would inspire him to write a horror novel. Shortly after, he had to file for bankruptcy and sell the mansion. That’s also when the memes of his face started popping up all over the internet. Was it a coincidence or a curse?
Fans of American Horror Story may also recognize the mansion from season three, “Coven” which aired back in 2013. The spooky season follows a coven of witches in New Orleans, with Kathy Bates playing Madame LaLaurie herself.
Visit this eerie mansion in New Orleans’ French Quarter, but don’t expect to go inside. The property is privately owned by a local couple, and they don’t like visitors. Believe me, I tried.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shoppe
Don’t show up to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shoppe looking to have a sword or shield forged from steel. Instead, you’ll find lots of alcohol, ghosts, and maybe Nicolas Cage, if you’re lucky.
Lafitte’s is one of the oldest structures in all of New Orleans, having been built in the 1770’s. At one point it belonged to the famous pirate, Jean Lafitte, which inspired the bar’s namesake. Jean Lafitte earned the love of Louisiana when he helped Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans during the War of 1812.
According to local lore, Jean Lafitte haunts this bar as a full-bodied apparition. His favorite hobby is lurking in dark corners to watch patrons. And there are a lot of dark corners, because the whole bar is only lit by candles. So, keep your eyes out while you’re sipping on a hurricane. You might just lock eyes with the ghost himself before he vanishes into thin air.
Ladies who visit Lafitte’s can also get a scare in the bathroom. Rumor has it that if you take a photo of the mirror, you might just capture a ghost in the background. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I didn’t see anything when I took my picture.
Bloody Mary’s Haunted Museum
In 1999, author, TV celebrity, and Voodoo Queen Bloody Mary opened her Haunted Museum in the New Orleans’ French Quarter to showcase her supernatural collections. The museum is located—fittingly—in a 200-year-old haunted house.
The museum is two floors. The first floor showcases a variety of paranormal items, voodoo alters adorned with gift offerings, a shrine dedicated to Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, and a fully functioning Victorian séance parlor that is still used to this day.
The second floor is where it gets much creepier…
This haunted museum is located next to 826 N Rampart St, which was the home of Zack and Addie. If you don’t know their story, then you are in for a true horror story. The short version is that Zack had a mental breakdown and murdered his girlfriend, Addie, before going on a wild bender and taking his own life. The story is much more gruesome, but I’ll spare you the details.
So, on the second floor of The Haunted Museum is a kitchen with Zack and Addie’s fridge and oven which were… at the scene of the crime. Trust me, seeing them and knowing the backstory was very disturbing.
Across the hall is a room filled with dolls. Haunted dolls. Like, the kind of dolls straight out of a horror movie. Walking in this room, I felt hundreds of pairs of plastic eyes turn and watch me as I looked on in fear.
And let me just say, I have seen many horror movies and have been to all kinds of haunted houses, but I’ve never felt a fear like I did on the second floor of this museum. It was so much more than the feeling of being watched. It felt like I was surrounded by dark energy that I couldn’t shake. It also didn’t help that I was doing the tour by myself!
If you want to go, entrance to the museum is only $10, and the tour is completely self-guided. The museum gives you the choice between a ‘Fast Guide Through’ or a ‘Slow Guide Through.’ The fast guide lets you walk through the museum and reference a website that gives details on each numbered display. The slow guide takes about an hour and a half and lets you follow an audio tour by Bloody Mary herself through the museum’s app. If you have the time, I recommend the slow walk through to really get the full experience.
If you visit, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Bonus Destination: The Museum of Death
If you have a strong stomach and love true crime, then you’ll want to check out The Museum of Death. It’s not haunted, but you’ll leave feeling like you’ve seen a ghost.
This museum is packed with all the artifacts of death you can imagine, like a skeleton of an alligator, serial killer artwork from John Wayne Gacy, crime scene photos from the O.J. Simpson murder case, and lots more.
It’s truly not for the faint of heart. As someone who is fascinated by true crime, I had a tough time going through some sections of this museum. Luckily, it’s very small so you can tour the whole thing in half an hour, if you wish. And if you need a breather, just sneak away to the bathroom and scroll through @dogsofinstagram.
Different Ghost Tours
There are endless options for ghost tours, to the point where it will make your head spin to try and pick just one. Many of the tour websites are very alluring, but often leave out one important detail: which locations you will visit along the tour.
To help you choose, I suggest doing your research on Trip Advisor. They show the itinerary for each tour, so you know exactly what you’re signing up for. If you do more than one tour, then this will ensure you don’t overlap and see the same location twice.
I went on the Ghost Adventure’s Haunted Pub Crawl and had Carolyn as a tour guide. She was fantastic! She truly knew her history, and she made the whole experience really entertaining and fun.
As long as you have a knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guide, then you should have a great time—especially if you see a ghost!