When I think of New Orleans, I think of a bewitching and mysterious city, and Halloween has a way of heightening these. So if I was going to send a friend to New Orleans on Halloween to experience a few of the most haunted places, the following would be my immediate recommendations.
When I think of New Orleans one of the first thoughts I have is of the “Voodoo Queen,” Marie Laveau.
She is credited with blending Catholicism with voodoo rituals, which differentiated New Orleans voodoo from other forms of the practice. Marie Laveau is well represented throughout the city. You don’t have to take a haunted or historical tour to see Marie Laveau’s influence. She is remembered at 1020 Saint Ann Street as the location where she lived, but her death certificate shows her address to have been 152 Rue St. Ann. This address no longer exists because it was demolished in 1903. People still say that they hear Marie conducting voodoo rituals at 1020 Saint Ann Street. They also see her walking down the street in a white dress and tignon.
Evoking the 6 degrees of separation from Marie Laveau, the most haunted house in New Orleans is the LaLaurie House at 1140 Royal Street. Delphine and Leonard LaLaurie were members of the New Orleans high society. Behind closed doors heinous things went on in that house. Just how did Marie Laveau become intertwined with a member of high society? Marie Laveau did Delphine’s hair from time to time. It has been said that Delphine or “Madamme LaLaurie” learned voodoo and witchcraft from the “Voodoo Queen” herself. Whether or not this is true, it is true that Madamme LaLaurie tortured and killed her slaves. At one point, Madamme LaLaurie’s slaves were confiscated because of the abuse and resold. But Madamme LaLaurie regained the slaves by having someone purchase them at auction and then return them to her. Then the torture, dismemberment, and murder continued. It is said that the slaves still haunt this home. Because of the atrocities committed in this house it is the focal point of most of the ghost tours in New Orleans.
On a lighter note, this house was once owned by actor Nicholas Cage. In 2010 it sold for over $2,000,000.
During your quick visit to New Orleans you need a place to rest your head. So just down the street from Madamme LaLaurie’s residence is 214 Royal Street. That is the address for the very haunted Hotel Monteleone. Here is what the hotel website has to say about it: Many people who come to Hotel Monteleone don’t want to leave. Some never do. Hotel Monteleone is known for being a haunted New Orleans hotel, and is one of the premier haunted hotels in North America.
Generations of hotel guests and staff have regularly experienced haunted events that would cause even the staunchest skeptic to take pause. This haunted hotel has an elevator that stops on the wrong floor, leading a curious couple down a hallway that grows chilly and reveals the ghostly images of children playing.
In March 2003, the International Society of Paranormal Research spent several days at the Hotel Monteleone, investigating the hauntings. While at the hotel, the team made contact with more than a dozen earthbound entities. Among them were several former employees, a man named William Wildemere who died inside the hotel of natural causes, and a boy who was much older when he died but enjoys returning to Hotel Monteleone as a 10-year-old to play hide-and-seek with another young spirit.
For fans of the paranormal, Hotel Monteleone is the perfect place to stay during Halloween or any time of the year.
I have yet to stay at Hotel Monteleone, so a New Orleans resident friend of mine confirmed that this truly is a haunted hotel.
At some point you will need to eat. New Orleans offers a great variety of delectable food. I wanted to send you down the street to 417 Royal Street. That was one of my favorite restaurants, Brennans. It is currently closed and may open later this autumn. None the less the location is still haunted. You may be able to feel it as you pass by. But just down the street from the hotel is 613 Royal Street. That is The Court of the 2 Sisters. I have been there for the jazz brunch and traditional Creole dinner. I had dinner there one night that they served a coconut mousse that was “to die for.” This is a very well known restaurant and worth the money. From a haunting perspective The Court of 2 Sisters is on the list of the 10 Most Haunted Restaurants in New Orleans. This is what the site says about The Court of 2 Sisters: This building once housed the Camors sisters; Emma and Bertha. Dealing in perfumes and gowns from Paris, the sisters were inseparable. They died 2 months apart and are often seen by staff and diners strolling together or sitting in their beloved courtyard.
After dinner you may be ready for some “spirits” of a different kind. Keeping with the haunted location theme I have to send you to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar. That is at 941 Bourbon Street. Now Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar was built in the early 1700s. It is said to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States. I have never had a drink there, but I have experienced it. It does have its own haunting vibe. So if you want to drink “Spirits with Spirits,” this is the place! I know you will feel something at Lafitte’s!
After your drink at Lafitte’s it is time to get out onto Bourbon Street to celebrate Halloween in costume. This is a party that you can be sure that you will not be the only one showing up in costume to. Halloween in the French Quarter is like a mini Marti Gras. Get out there and party!
When you return to Hotel Monteleon you may want to stop by the hotel’s famed grandfather clock, which is located in the lobby. It is said to be the center of one of the hotel’s ghostly activities. It is said that the apparition of the clock’s maker can be seen working on it at night and sometimes during the day. Hotel staff and guests have also told the story of jazz singers wailing in the lobby for an entire night. There is the lost child who asks people to hold their hand and then quickly disappears after looking up into the guests’ eyes.
To ensure that you get some sleep you may want to consider burning a little sage to keep the ghosts away…
In the morning before you leave the city, you may want to consider visiting one more haunted destination. I recommend 425 Basin Street. Doesn’t scare you yet, does it? 425 Basin Street is more commonly referred to as Saint Louis Cemetery #1. That is the oldest cemetery in New Orleans and where Marie Laveau is said to be “laid to rest.” I use that term loosely. Marie’s spirit is said to haunt the cemetery. People from all around the world visit her tomb annually seeking her help from beyond the grave. It is also said that Marie’s familiar, her large snake that she called Zombi, guards her tomb. During the day Zombi has been seen atop the crypt sunning itself. At night Zombi has been seen slithering through the cemetery possibly looking for its next meal. Don’t let it be you. Stay out of the cemetery at night!
If you get to New Orleans and have more than a 24 hour trip planned for a haunted visit, I have a lot more recommendations. New Orleans is a city that calls to me, and when I can, I answer her. I hope you have a fantastically haunted time in The Big Easy.