Whether you believe in ghosts or not, walking through haunted New Orleans at night can feel a little spooky. We all know that New Orleans is the home of Mardi Gras, cajun food and jazz. But the Cresent City also has a dark side in its history which has made it notorious for its Legends and Paranormal Activity.
You can certainly explore the most haunted city in the United States on your own. However, there is no better way to learn the history and dark stories that color the Big Easy than to take one of the famous French Quarter Ghost Tours. Come with me and let’s explore Haunted New Orleans.
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Haunted New Orleans History Tours
There are many great haunted New Orleans ghost tours to choose from. Since I have had great experiences with Free Tours by Foot I decided to book my ghost tour through them.
I love them because their tour guides are knowledgeable and the price of the tour is determined by you. This means it should fit your budget.
However, please remember to tip your tour guide well. They work very hard to provide you with a meaningful experience and this is how they make a living.
A big shout-out to my tour guide Melissa Huguenot who made the ghosts stories of haunted New Orleans come alive. She is passionate about her city and what she does and that passion comes across beautifully in her stories. Furthermore her story telling is enthralling and I promise she will keep you riveted for the entire 2 hours of the tour.
To read reviews of Free Tours by Foot or look at other great companies for the best New Orleans Ghost tours you can refer to Trip advisors list.
My Favorite Haunted New Orleans Stories
There is a reason why New Orleans is considered America’s most haunted city. The city has dozens of history based tales of tragedy, murders, saints, witches, vampires, pirates and voodoo.
Here are 5 of my favorite haunted New Orleans stories. All of which I learned about from the walking tour with Melissa Huguenot from Free Tours by Foot.
Please note that legends and stories vary wildly. And therefore the versions below may vary from what you learn on your haunted New Orleans ghost tour.
1.The Ghost of Pere Dagobert
When you hear about haunted New Orleans, you will undoubtedly hear at least one story about the St. Louis Cathedral. The Cathedral has a long storied history in New Orleans but one of its most famous ghost is that of Pere Dagobert.
In the mid 1760’s Louisiana changed hands from French to Spanish rule when the French King Louis XV gave Louisiana to his Spanish cousin King Charles III. This change was not popular. So when the Spanish arrived, five leading members of the community enlisted soldiers and attacked. It was a successful rebellion and the Spaniards returned to Spain.
This attack was considered treason and Spain could not tolerate this behavior. Therefore, Spain built up its forces and retaliated by sending 42 ships with a new Governor to instill its rule. This new governor was Don Alejandro O’Reilly, who upon arrival marched into Jackson Square and killed the five men who had started the revolution. Since the men were convicted of treason they were not allowed proper burial. They were displayed instead in front of the church as an example of what happens to traitors.
French priest Pere Dagobert begged for the men to be buried and was denied. Despite the denial he did not give up hope. In fact, the congregation prayed for a miracle and the priest sang the “Kyrie”. Finally, the prayers were heard and answered. And one night a thick fog rolled in allowing the congregation to move and burry the bodies.
The legend says that the ghost of Pere Dagobert haunts this church today. And that when the fog rolls in and the square is quiet you can hear his voice signing the Kyrie.
2.The Ghost of Pierre Antoine in Muriels
The story goes that Pierre Antoine inherited the building from his father. But Pierre was a man who liked the thrill and excitement of gambling. In the early 1800’s, this weakness led him to wager his home in a poker game and he lost what he loved most in his life.
The shock and pain of this loss was so intense that he hung himself on the second floor of his home so that he would never leave.
The legend says that Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan is still with us today in spiritual form. His ghost appears not as a human but as a white glimmer that sparkles. Furthermore, he wanders around what is now the Séance Lounge of Muriel. The restaurant even has a “Ghost Table” at the end of their carriageway. The table is set daily and reserved for Pierre Antoine.
3.The Provincial Hotel
The hotel has five buildings but according to my guide it is building 5 which shows the most amount of paranormal experience.
This property was many different things one of which was a military hospital owned by the Ursuline Nuns. The hospital was used during the civil war as a Confederate hospital where many of the soldiers died of their wounds.
Because it was a hospital, many of the sightings and residual energy found in the hotel have blood. As a result some have seen stained walls, or blood pooled on the floors. But these are all like mirages that disappear. Some guests also claim they are awoken at night by their beds shaking.
4.Madame Delphine LaLaurie’s Mansion
One of the most famous stories of haunted New Orleans is that of Madame Delphine LaLaurie. Madame Delphine LaLaurie was a socialite that threw lavish parties for her neighbors in her mansion on 1140 Royal Street. She acquired most of her wealth from the death of her first two husbands – lucky for her.
However, it is her 3rd marriage in 1825 which caused the most controversy. She married a doctor nearly twenty years her junior – way to go Madame!!
Despite the appearance of a charming life, whispers of sinister things where being spread. It seems she had a high turnover of slaves. Frequently purchasing new ones, but no one ever knew what happened to the old ones.
The incident that changed it all
There was an incident where a young slave fell to her death in the courtyard. As a result an investigation was opened. And subsequently the slaves were confiscated from her.
But since Madame Delphine LaLaurie was so wealthy, she secretly buys them back and hides them in her attic.
Tales of mistreatment and experimentation
The slaves are not fed well and they are punished for minor mistakes. But the worst part is what her husband the doctor does to them. It is said the doctor conducted all types of experiments on the slaves. For instance, legend says that:
- A girl was found with her limbs crooked and bent from being broken and reset wrong. The limbs remained this way making her walk in a crab like form.
- A slave was found with a whole drilled into his head with a spoon sticking out of it. An attempt to stir the brains and let out pressure.
- Another slave was found with an exposed back. All skin pulled off leaving tissue and muscle exposed to the open air.
One morning in 1834 a fire was started in the mansion by one of the slaves. The slave who was chained to the kitchen stove risked losing her life. But the fire that destroyed part of the mansion also brought the authorities. As a result they discovered the hidden slaves she had kept starved, tortured and chained. Many had also died of starvation, disease or from the torture. However, Madame Delphine and her husband both escaped. It is said she went to France and he went to Cuba.
As a result of all this suffering, not only is the house haunted, but it is said to be cursed. Until now, no owner has been able to keep it for more than 7 years. Including actor Nicolas Cage who lost the house due to bankruptcy.
5.The Octoroon Mistress or Julie’s House
Julie is one of the most romantic but tragic ghosts stories in haunted New Orleans. Julie was an “Octoroon” which means she was 1/8 black. And although she could easily pass as white her heritage was not. Therefore, she was not allowed by law to marry.
Julie was considered by society as a Plaçage. This was an extralegal system in the colonies by which the women of African, Native American, or mixed-race descent would enter into an equivalent of a common-law marriage.
Julie fell in love with a high class Frenchman, but because she was an Octoroon is not able to marry. Despite her status the Wealthy Frenchman loves her and only her. Therefore, he gifts her with her own house on 734 Royal Street. But what Julie wants is to marry.
Not all is well in paradise
The subject of marriage caused many fights between the couple. And one night when she would not drop the subject of marriage the Frenchman gave her a test. He told her that if she really loved him, she would go to the rooftop naked and wait there all night. The Frenchman picked a night that was very cold convinced that Julie would refuse the test and go to bed. He then leaves her to entertain his friends.
When the Frenchman returns he finds that Julie is nowhere in the townhouse. Out of options he climbs to the rooftop to search for her there. And that is where he finds her dead, naked and huddled in a corner.
Since then, on very cold days, Julie’s ghost can be seen on the rooftop wearing nothing but her birthday suit. She is also seen throughout the house wearing a yellow dress that she favored. Additionally it is said that when she is seen you can smell gardenias. So if you ever smell Gardenias while walking by her house keep your eyes open as Julie is nearby.
More Haunted New Orleans
The ghost tour recounts many more stories and details. However I won’t tell you any more so I don’t ruin all the fun.
I highly recommend you go on your own Haunted New Orleans tour and discover all the legends and gory details on your own.
Below are some more stories that you may hear on your tour. Each one of these and many more are a part of haunted New Orleans.
- The Sultans Palace
- The Cabildo
- Pirates Alley
- Arnauds Restaurant
- Café Lafitte
- The Hotel Monteleone
- Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre
- St Louis Cemetary No 1
- The axeman of New Orleans
In the end, I do not think it matters if you believe in ghosts or not. By walking in the shadowy past of haunted New Orleans, you will see a different side of the city. A dark, history filled city that is most certainly unique. All it takes is for you to step away from the party scene that surrounds Bourbon Street and open your mind to the possibilities.
So do you believe in ghosts? Have you personally experienced a paranormal encounter? Or do you have a favorite ghost story? I would love to hear from you so please share with me below or get social with me on Instagram or Facebook.