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 enjoying the libations on Bourbon Street during any given weekend. What you might not realize is that underneath New Orleans' historic—and sometimes a little seedy, to be sure—exterior lies some of the spookiest places in the country. There are plenty of scary things to do in this city for those who have the courage to endure them.
It's no surprise why New Orleans' St. Louis Cemetery #1 is one of the spookiest spots in the Big Easy—it is a graveyard, after all. But there's more to it than that. Built in 1789, it's the oldest cemetery in New Orleans, which makes its rows of gravesites all the more creepy and its status as one of New Orleans' top tourist attractions notwithstanding. If you dig deeper into the history of this cemetery (no pun intended), you'll discover the ghost of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau, who is said to haunt its grounds.
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. Rather than terrorizing guests, though, 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.
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, too, so you can discover Hotel Monteleone—and perhaps, experience a short-lived haunting—at happy hour instead of in the middle of the night.
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 in with the rest of the Quarter.
Within its walls, however, Lalaurie Mansion is extremely unique. 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 as they are?