Great New Orleans Ghost Stories and Hauntings

The LaLaurie Mansion 1140 Royal Street, New Orleans. Built 1832. It is reputed to be haunted by mistreated slaves - a story stemming from a fire in the building in 1834 when neighbours helping to save furniture from the flames reputedly found tortured slaves belonging to Madame LaLaurie chained up in their quarters. LaLaurie's house was subsequently sacked by an outraged mob of New Orleans citizens, and it is thought that she fled to Paris, where she died. Nicolas Cage owned the building from 2007-9.
Tom Bastin 16801915@N06/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

New Orleans is a Haunted City

There are many hauntings in New Orleans. In fact, we don't add the "para" to normal activity when we talk about them. For us, it's closer to normal to have a ghost or two in you house. Our house is typical of much of the New Orleans housing stock and was built in the 1870s. We have a female ghost. My husband calls her "Carney". She likes to move things around on the mantles and scare the cats by walking down the stairs late at night, but otherwise, she's pretty quiet. As ghosts go, she's not very scary, and it probably typical of most ghosts in New Orleans. As such, she won't get a story written about her. Carney is haunting a house in one of the most haunted cities in the country. So, she probably won't become famous outside of our friends and family.

Ghosts like Carney don't get a lot of press. But, others in New Orleans do. Friar Antonio de Sedella came to New Orleans around 1774 with the Spanish Inquisition in Louisiana. Never an enthusiastic inquisitor, over the course of a few years, Father Sedella became the beloved Pere Antoine, the pastor of the (then) St. Louis Church. The alley alongside the St. Louis Cathedral is named for him, it's Pere Antoine Alley. He's still around the St. Louis Cathedral, which is not a bad place to haunt. The Cathedral is just off Jackson Square and is really at the heart of the New Orleans French Quarter.

Then there's Prince Suleyman, a Turk who claimed to be the sultan, or former sultan, of a mid-eastern country. Apparently, the Sultan had made some violent enemies before his sojourn to New Orleans and they paid him and his harem a deadly visit. Although dead, the Sultan has never left. The Sultan is probably the most exotic and mysterious of the New Orleans ghosts. Here's his story.

The beautiful Octoroon, Julie, was the mistress of wealthy Frenchmen in the early 1800's. Julie's master kept her in great style on a fine home on Royal Street. He provided her with fine clothes and jewelry. He made certain she had the best cuisine to dine on and servants to take care of everything for her. The Frenchman would come to Julie most evenings and the two made passionate love in the sultry New Orleans nights. But, Julie made one big mistake, she fell in love with the handsome Frenchman and talked of marriage many times. The Frenchman was also in love, but marriage to a woman with 1/8 black blood was unthinkable at that time. Finally, Julie's master agreed to the marriage, if Julie could prove her love for him. He promised Julie that if she spent the night outside, naked he would marry her. This was in December. The Frenchman was certain that Julie would stay outside for a while and come into her warm room before too long. Unfortunately, the master was wrong. In the morning, he found his beautiful Julie, naked and lifeless outside on her balcony. Now on the coldest December nights Julie can be seen walking on her roof, naked.

I would guess the most haunted house and the most evil doings went on in the Lalaurie Mansion in the French Quarter. Arguably, the most haunted house in New Orleans the Lalaurie Mansion has surely endured the most gruesome history, and its reputation for otherworldly visitations is well-deserved and well-documented. Once the lavish home of Dr. Louis LaLaurie and his wife, Delphine, this mansion was suddenly revealed to be the grisly scene of experimentation on slaves when a fire broke out in 1835. Read the entire story.

Le Petit Theatre is nearly 100 years old and has operated as a community theater in the French Quarter since its beginning. It is undergoing some renovations now and it will be interesting to see if its resident ghost, a handsome man in 19th-century evening dress, will attend the new opening.

There are many other ghosts in New Orleans. Some in hotels, some in bars, and some, like our Carney, in ordinary New Orleans homes.

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