New Orleans is notorious for hauntings, voodoo, and witches. Since its founding in 1718, New Orleans has been a melting pot of African, Cajun, French, and Spanish cultures – and each adds a new flavor to the paranormal history of the city. These nine haunted places in New Orleans will terrify even the most skeptical tourist.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
941 Bourbon Street
Lafitte’s is one of the oldest buildings in New Orleans. It’s also believed to be one of the oldest buildings in the United States to be home to a bar. Built in the early 1700s, Lafitte’s may or may not have actually been a blacksmith for its first 50 years of existence. Lafitte’s was then bought by Jean and Pierre Lafitte, at which point it acquired its name. The Lafitte's used the blacksmith shop as a smuggling base through the late 1700s, causing the house’s rowdy history.
Two ghosts from this era are known to haunt the premises. Jean Lafitte’s eyes have been seen peering at customers through the grate of the fireplace. Those who sit by the fireplace have reported being touched by unseen, cold hands. And a female ghost has been spotted in the second floor mirror, although she has not been identified.
The Hotel Monteleone
214 Royal Street
The Hotel Monteleone was opened in 1886 by Antonio Monteleone, a Sicilian immigrant who had already found great success with his cobbler shop on Royal Street. Over the years, a number of significant and ghostly activities have occurred here. Hotel Monteleone has offered shelter to Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Anne Rice, John Grisham, Tennessee Williams, and Maurice Begere. If that last name doesn’t sound familiar, that’s because Maurice was a young boy who died of a fever within the hotel. He has been seen on the 13th floor of the hotel to a number of people since, including his own mother. A former devoted hotel employee, William Wildmere, also has remained at the hotel long after his death.
Related: 10 Most Haunted Hotels In the World
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
425 Basin Street
Because New Orleans floods so frequently, the city has developed a rather ingenious method of burying its dead to avoid corpses floating down with the floodwater. The above-ground graves of New Orleans are one of the iconic sites of the city. And one grave found in the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the most iconic of its graves.
Inside the walls of St. Louis, you will find the grave of Marie Laveau, the “Voodoo Queen” of New Orleans. Legend says that if you knock three times, mark the tomb with three X marks, then knock three times again, Marie herself will grant your wish. So many people have marked Marie’s grave that only guided tours are allowed into the cemetery to prevent further damage to her grave. You can still see the gravesite, which is a truly humbling experience, even for graveyard junkies.
140 Royal Street
In 1834, firefighters responded to a fire at society matron Delphine LaLaurie’s mansion. They discovered not only a fire, but also evidence of immense and twisted torture. LaLaurie chained her slaves to the walls of her attic or, in the case of the cook, to the stove, stretched their bodies with horrific devices, flayed them, forced them to wear spiked collars that wouldn’t allow them to sleep, and much more.
When the locals heard of what LaLaurie had done, they descended on her home and ran her out of town. The slaves were taken to a local jail and made available for public viewing. Despite the fact that LaLaurie was run out of New Orleans, something about her spirit, and those of the tortured slaves, pervades the air by the LaLaurie mansion. Privately owned today, you cannot enter the mansion. But even standing nearby will make your skin crawl.
716 Dauphine Street
The stories that surround the Gardette-LePrete Mansion are, somehow, even more grotesque than those of the LaLaurie mansion. Supposedly, the house was rented by the younger brother of a Turkish sultan in the 1830s. The man was wicked and dissolute, and he invited all sorts of less desirable elements into the neighborhood. Soon, a massacre occurred, leaving bodies and blood everywhere—and the sultan’s brother buried alive in the courtyard. Today, you may encounter the sultan’s brother in the courtyard, or hear his guests screaming for mercy.
The Jimani House
141 Chartres Street
In the 1970s, the location of the Jimani Bar was the UpStairs Lounge—one of the best known gay bars in town. In June 1973, an arsonist set fire to the bar, killing 32 patrons. Although the primary suspect, Roger Nunez, was never charged, he committed suicide less than six months later. Although the Jimani House has given a fresh face to this tragic locale, the third floor of the building remains damaged and unused. If you go up to the second floor, you may hear the whispers from the dead, who plead to be remembered.
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
514 Chartres Street
The Pharmacy Museum was home to America’s first licensed pharmacist, Louis Joseph Dufilho. But Dufilho didn’t just sell medicines. He also sold voodoo potions, including the “Love Potion No. 9”, to customers who were unwilling to visit voodoo practitioners.
Dufilho’s successor, Dr. Joseph Dupas, is said to haunt the museum’s premises today. Dupas had an unsavory reputation for experimenting on his patients, especially the pregnant ones. After more patients died than were healed by Dupas, the pharmacy business went under.
113 Chartres Street
Pierre G.T. Beauregard, a confederate general, lived here after his time in the Civil War. Supposedly, you can hear a battle in the distance at night from the Beauregard-Keyes House and may also see a Civil War soldier, in full garb, gazing off into the distance. The pets of Frances Keyes, author, are also sometimes seen around the house.
Muriel’s Seance Lounge
801 Chartres Street
Above a luxurious restaurant on the corner of Jackson Square, you’ll find a lounge infamous for the seances held there. Supposedly, you may hear from the original owner, Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan, who hung himself on the second floor after losing his home in a poker game. Those who have engaged in a seance in Muriel’s have also reported hearing knocking, a woman’s voice, and seeing objects flying through the air.
Photos (in order): Collin Poellot / Flickr; mktmgt / Flickr; M R / Flickr; Corey Holms / Flickr; Cory Balazowich / Flickr; Wikimedia Commons; Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr; End_the Wod / Flickr; Amy the Nurse / Flickr; Wally Gobetz / Flickr