Other Cities Have Haunted Houses, New Orleans Has Ghost-Filled Mansions
Dig into the past of the *actually* haunted houses that line the streets of New Orleans.
New Orleans is widely considered to be one of the most haunted cities in America, so it’s easy to get up close and personal with some of the lost souls that continue to live here. Ghosts, spirits, whatever you want to call them, these paranormal forces are believed to appear in various buildings around the city.
Settled in 1718 by an exceptionally eclectic mix, the city has always been home to outsiders, artistic souls, and other colorful types, many of whom continue to haunt the place. Join in on a ghost tour or wander around an ancient above-ground cemetery, then check out these real-life haunted mansions and soak in the vibes. With the recent release of Disney’s Haunted Mansion, much of which was filmed right here in the Big Easy, there’s never been a better time to check out the city’s real-life scariest spots.
The LaLaurie Mansion on 1140 Royal Street carries quite the sordid, complicated history. Built back in 1832, scores of mysterious stories are attached to the mansion. Now a private residence, the mansion was once the home to the notorious Madame Delphine LaLaurie, a wealthy socialite who had tortured the people she enslaved for years. The house—which was owned by Nicolas Cage at one point—is believed to be overrun with the spirits of the people who died at her hands; fans of American Horror Story: Coven will recall Kathy Bates’ portrayal of LaLaurie in the horror series. Stop for a photo and before you know it you’ll likely be surrounded by tour groups listening to animated guides tell gruesome stories from the mansion’s history.
This 200-year-old building located at 801 Chartres Street across from St. Louis Cathedral is now a popular restaurant that claims to be haunted by the spirit of the property’s original owner, Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan. After losing the house in a poker game, Jourdan died by suicide upstairs in 1814; employees and guests have reported seeing Jourdan’s ghost and hearing strange noises from the second floor. Muriel’s honors the spirit, which it describes as friendly and non-threatening, by keeping a table reserved for Mr. Jourdan, set with bread and wine.
Situated just across from the Ursulines Convent at 1113 Chartres Street, this pale yellow, Greek Revival house looks nothing like its neighbors. Now a museum, the BK House was built in 1826 for a wealthy sugar planter and is best known for its famous past residents. Many have said that the building is haunted because it was the site of numerous deaths during the Civil War, while some believe that the house is haunted by the ghost of a former resident, the New Orleans-born Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard.
This historic antebellum mansion located at 2127 Prytania Street is one of the Garden District's architectural treasures. More than 200 years old, the white-washed building has served as a B&B and boutique hotel, but is currently closed for an undetermined period of time due to a “mechanical failure” (or ghosts?). As legend had it, the mansion was home to a vampire lovers' lair and other spooky scenes. Hotel guests had reported being awoken in the middle of the night to a cool breeze running across their skin or hearing the sounds of laughing children.
Located at 1410 Jackson Avenue, this stunning Garden District home is a popular filming location, having appeared in Haunted Mansion, AHS: Coven, and more. While not open to the public, the Buckner Mansion is well worth admiring from the sidewalk. The home was built in 1856 as the residence of cotton kingpin Henry Sullivan Buckner, and later became the Soule Business College. Over the years, visitors have reported hearing eerie sounds sweeping throughout the house, plus flickering lights and other unexplained scares.
The name says it all: This is the city’s best-known haunted hotel. Built in 1829, the building has been the site of numerous murders over the years. Most notably, the hotel allegedly served as a base for The Axeman, one of the city’s most notorious killers of the early 20th century. Those who believe in the paranormal welcome the opportunity to spend a night sensing the spirits of those who perished here.
Lower Garden District
Located eight blocks from the French Quarter, this Greek-Revival home bills itself as the largest and oldest B&B in the city. Rumored to have once been a brothel, the property has also been home to various families, and there have been many sightings throughout the years, none more famous than Billy, the resident prankster ghost. Fortunately, as legend has it, Billy is playful and just wants the guests to know he’s there, delighting spirit seekers looking for a classic yet spooky bed and breakfast experience.
The Gardette-LePretre House, also known as the Sultan’s Palace, has a gruesome backstory that might be based more in legend than truth. As the story goes, the 716 Dauphine Street house was leased by a brother of a Turkish Sultan in the late 1790s. One stormy night, assassins brutally murdered everyone they found in the house, and ghostly forms have been seen there ever since. Witnesses have reported seeing the Sultan’s ghost lurking through the house, so while it’s not currently open to the public, you can soak it in from the outside—you never know what you might see, so keep an eye on the windows.
This restored home was first built in 1831 for prosperous Creoles, and believers claim the property is monitored by friendly Southern ghosts who scatter scented flowers around the rooms and light the fireplaces to make it cozy. Today, the Hermann-Grima House—another AHS: Coven filming spot—operates as a museum, offering visitors an accurate depiction of what life was like for an affluent New Orleanian family during the 1830s through 1860s.
The ghosts at the Andrew Jackson Hotel are said to be some of the most engaging spirits found in the city. According to legend, back during the building’s days as a boys’ boarding school, five students died in a fire and have spent their afterlives playing and causing mischief ever since. Their laughter and footsteps are often heard throughout the hotel and courtyard, and guests have claimed to have found their personal items and furniture moved around their rooms.
Every October, the city’s most popular spot for frights is housed in an 1872 mansion that operated for about 80 years as a funeral home. Several paranormal groups have held ghost hunts here, and a former mortician is said to be one of the more active spirits. Located at the end of Canal Street, the Greek-Revival home is surrounded by various famous cemeteries, making this address something like a Mecca for the macabre in the Crescent City.
Dating back to the 1880s, the Hotel Monteleone has long been considered one of the most haunted places in the city, with myriad spirits choosing to stick around as permanent hotel residents. A former employee named Red is said to still wander the halls, and the ghosts of children who died in the hotel from yellow fever have been spotted on the 13th floor. The hotel’s legendary Carousel Bar is allegedly a favorite spot for ghosts to appear and quickly disappear—if you have enough cocktails, you’re likely to spot something unexplainable as well.
Located in the middle of the action between Royal and Bourbon Streets, this hotel was first a theater before serving as a convent. A variety of ghosts are believed to still walk the corridors. Sick orphans who died from yellow fever are believed to haunt the grounds; guests have reported hearing the sounds of childlike laughter echoing in the hallways. And there have been reports of tortured cries ringing out of Room 644, allegedly the most haunted room in the entire hotel.