New Orleans is usually a place you associate with fun, whether you're in town for a massive party like Mardi Gras or Southern Decadence, or simply hanging out on Bourbon Street on any given weekend. What you might not realize, at least not immediately, is that underneath New Orleans historic – and sometimes, to be sure, a little seedy – exterior lies some of the spookiest places in the country. Have you visited any of them?
St. Louis Cemetery #1
On the surface, it's no surprise why New Orleans' St. Louis Cemetery #1 is one of the spookiest spots in the Big Easy. Built in 1789, it's the oldest cemetery in New Orleans, which makes its lived...er, died-in rows of gravesites all the more creepy, its status as one of New Orleans' top tourist attractions notwithstanding.
If you dig deeper into the history of St. Louis Cemetery #1, however, it becomes an even more terrifying place. In addition to the fact that many of the tombs there are the work of architects from France and Italy (countries that, let's face it, have a reputation for creepy structures), St. Louis Cemetery #1 also happens to be where the ghost of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau hangs out.
Officially, Arnaud's is one of the French Quarter's most popular restaurants, famous for its juxtaposition of down-home Creole food with a fine dining atmosphere. The only thing obviously scary about Arnaud's is the long wait you'll have to endure getting a table or perhaps, sticker shock at the price of famous entrées like Roast Louisiana Quail Elzey and Speckled Trout Amandine.
Appropriately, the ghost who haunts Arnaud's is none other than that of Arnaud Cazenave himself, who founded the restaurant nearly a century ago. Appropriate and convenient – rather than terrorizing guests, Arnaud's ghost makes sure they all experience the rigorous standards of luxury he set when he was alive. If something is wrong with your meal or dining experience, you might consider waiting for Arnaud himself to fix it, rather than complaining!
The good news? It's possible to book a stay at Hotel Monteleone, a property in the French Quarter that locals say is home to dozens of ghosts, from exhibitionist Mardi Gras partiers, to lost children, to lovesick jazz singers. The better news? New Orleans has plenty of amazing non-haunted hotels, so you can discover Hotel Monteleone – and perhaps, experience a short-lived haunting – at happy hour instead of when you're actually trying to sleep.
As you traipse through the streets of the French Quarter, you might start to feel the buildings that populate the district are similar to one another. This is certainly true of Lalaurie Mansion, which in spite of its imposing three-story size, sports gray paint that makes it blend it with the rest of the Quarter.
Within its walls, however, Lalaurie Mansion is extremely unique – even if it's for some of the wrong reasons. According to legend, the ghosts of namesake owners Louis and Delphine LaLaurie's slaves, who died in a house fire at the mansion in 1834, haunt the mansion, particularly if you visit it on an organized tour.
Then again, when you consider New Orleans' vast size and long history, you realize that many of the city's most-haunted places probably aren't even discovered yet. Are you brave enough to set out and do your own reconnaissance, or do these spooky spots creep you out enough already?