New Orleans, America’s most haunted city. When you’re visiting New Orleans, especially if you take the time to walk around the French Quarter at night, it is easy to see why many people make this claim. The spooky streets and alleyways come alive as your imagination plays tricks on you. It seems as if every alleyway, every door, and every window into an historic home, can be harbouring one of New Orleans’ ghosts. Every home you come to is easy to imagine it being haunted, with the ghosts inside tormenting the living. But, why is New Orleans so very haunted
On our New Orleans Ghost Tours we take you to the most haunted areas in all of New Orleans’ French Quarter. As you walk among the streets, filled with grim tales of New Orleans past, you yourself will also start to believe that New Orleans is the most haunted city in America. How could it not be?
Below we have listed a few of the haunted locations we visit on our New Orleans Ghost Tours. Of course we haven’t divulged all of our haunted locations, and the stories are only partial; that's because the best way to discover the haunted past of New Orleans is by joining Ghost City Tours on one of our world famous ghost tours of New Orleans’ French Quarter.
The LaLaurie Mansion is widely considered by many to be the most haunted house in all of New Orleans. For a very haunted city like New Orleans, that is a pretty substantial claim.
So, why do so many people consider the LaLaurie House, in the French Quarter of New Orleans, to be so haunted? It might have to do with an incident that happened all the way back in 1834. A fire broke out, revealing the LaLaurie’s slaves in, let us say, less than desirable conditions. It is one of the most grim stories about haunted New Orleans.Read more about the Haunted LaLaurie Mansion
The Gardette Le Prete House, also known as the Sultan’s Palace, is one of New Orleans’ most intriguing stories about ghosts and hauntings in the French Quarter. After talking with its residence, we know that this house is certainly haunted, but why?
Popular legends talks of a mass murder committed in this house against the brother of a Sultan from Turkey. However, the real history about the ghosts and hauntings may surprise you.Read more about the haunted Sultan’s Palace
New Orleans, widely believed to be America's most haunted city, is almost certainly home to more haunted Hotels than any other city in America. Whether you're looking for a large chain Hotel, a smaller boutique Hotel, or something in between, chances are you can find one with a few resident ghosts. If you're looking for a haunted place to stay, while in New Orleans, this is where you need to look.Learn more about New Orleans' Haunted Hotels
No other American city can lay claim to the amount of ghosts and hauntings which make up New Orleans. But, more than this, no other city can lay claim to the number of haunted places-to-stay which New Orleans houses. Are you looking for bed & breakfast or a boutique hotel to stay in while visiting New Orleans? Are you hoping for a paranormal experience? Look no further: We've come up with our favorite haunted bed & breakfasts that should definitely be on your list. Are you brave enough?Learn More about New Orleans' Haunted Bed & Breakfasts
When you're visiting New Orleans, and you're planning your trip around our Ghosts and Hauntings a few haunted restaurants or bars should be on your list of things to do. Whether you're looking for fine dining, a quick po-boy, or just some cocktails at the end of the night, New Orleans has many haunted establishments to choose from. Allow Ghost City to help you find a haunted location for your meals and drinks!Learn More about New Orleans' Haunted Restaurants and Bars
The Beauregard-Keyes House is featured on our ghost tour routes because of the interesting cast of characters who have lived in this haunted house. People like General Beauregard and Paul Morphy have spent periods of their lives in this house.
The ghosts which haunt this house seem to be connected to the General himself, and have affected almost every person who has lived there. On our ghost tours, we go into detail about the haunted Beauregard-Keyes House.Read more about the hauntings at the Beauregard-Keyes House
New Orleans, a city built upon her dead, and perhaps America’s most haunted city. It only makes sense that New Orleans has more than her share of Cemeteries. Many of these Cemeteries are haunted by the ghosts which used to call New Orleans home in life.
Famous Cemeteries, such as St. Louis Cemetery #1, St. Roch Cemetery and Metairie Cemetery all lay claim to being haunted by ghosts and other paranormal activity.Read more about New Orleans’ Haunted Cemeteries
Perhaps more than any other location, Muriel’s has gone above and beyond to be accommodating to the ghosts which haunt this famous New Orleans restaurant. The building which houses Muriel’s was considered haunted well before the restaurant set up shop.
But, who is this mysterious ghost who harasses the staff and makes itself known to the diners who come to enjoy Muriel’s incredible menu? Our ghost tours tell the whole story about the hauntings of Muriel’s Restaurant.Read more about the ghosts of Muriel’s Restaurant
One of the oldest and most haunted buildings in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, is easily one of the spookiest bars in all of New Orleans. At night, almost the entire bar is lit by candle light. It certainly seems to be welcoming for the ghosts which often make appearances.
Is the ghost of Lafitte’s that of Jean Lafitte, as is rumored, or is there something else, something darker, going on at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop?Read more about the ghosts of Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
Everyday thousands of tourists walk on the stone pathway that makes up Pirates’ Alley. Running down one side of the Cathedral, you might not suspect that Pirates’ Alley has long been considered a hotspot for ghosts in haunted New Orleans. At night, you never know when you may run into one of New Orleans’ ghostly residence.
However, it isn’t just the alley that is haunted. On our ghost tours, we will send shivers down your spine with the stories of the ghosts and hauntings of the buildings which line Pirates’ Alley.Read more about the ghosts of Pirates’ Alley
The Musee Conti Wax Museum, unfortunately, will close its doors forever on January 31st, 2016. However, the building which currently houses the Museum is easily one of the most haunted buildings in the French Quarter. For many years, reports of ghosts and hauntings have come out of the Museum.
Here at Ghost City, we were lucky enough to investigate the Museum a number of times before they closed. We were able to confirm that the Museum really is as haunted as we were told.Read more about the haunted Wax Museum in New Orleans
Do you think that the ghost of New Orleans' most famous Voodoo Queen is only known to appear at the site of her old house? In reality, her spirit has appeared in countless areas all over New Orleans and it's safe to say that her ghost is not always the kindest of otherworldly figures.
But is it the aggressive spirit that of Marie I, or her daughter Marie II?Read more the places Marie Laveau still haunts today
If you've ever seen American Horror Story's Season 3: Coven, then you are well aware of "Mad" Madam Delphine LaLaurie . . . but were you aware that the show was not actually filmed at the true house? Instead, scenes of LaLaurie's house were filmed here at the Hermann-Grima House . . . A house that has its own ghostly activity attached.
There have been the scents of lavender lingering in the air, and a couple dressed in long ago fashions--but one thing everyone agrees upon: the ghosts of the Hermann-Grima House only wish to welcome you their lovely home.Read more about the haunted Hermann-Grima House
Most think that St. Louis Cathedral is New Orleans' oldest church. Not true. That honor goes to our Lady of Guadalupe, which once went by the name, "Old Mortuary Church."
As the name suggests, the Old Mortuary Church was the waiting place before the dead were moved to their final resting place in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Victims of yellow fever, murder and the old have all passed through these hallowed walls...and their spirits are said to still haunt it.Read more about the haunted Our Lady of Guadalupe Church
New Orleans is home to many haunted locations, but one of its most famous ghostly spots is Le Petit Theatre. For those who work here, perform here, or even just visit for a play, there is not a single doubt in their mind: Le Petit Theatre just might be the most haunted theatre in the entire world.
From suicides to helpful ghosts, from malevolent spirits to those desperately in love, Le Petit Theatre perhaps has more ghosts in-house than they do actors. And like all actors and actresses who enjoy their craft, Le Petit's spectral residents highly enjoy putting on a ghostly performance for the living.Read more about the haunted Le Petit Theatre
You may recognize this terra cotta and marble structure from Runaway Jury - for those who live in New Orleans, they recognize the Louisiana Supreme Court Building as one of the most haunted locations in the city.
From a ghostly lawyer who roams the halls, to employees who hear the eerie shoe-tapping, even when no one is there, the Louisiana Supreme Court Building’s ghost stories are tied into the disappointment, violence and neglect that has inhabited the structure since its founding.Read more about the haunted Louisiana Supreme Court Building
Across the country, universities are a beacon for paranormal activity - but there is perhaps no college more known for its ghosts in New Orleans than its very own Loyola University.
Students and employees have experienced a sensation of uneasiness in the university’s main academy hall, but that isn’t all. From objects being physically moved across rooms visibly untouched, to the seances held by those searching for the unknown, Loyola University is as famous for its ghosts to its students and staff, as it is famous for its degrees and academic prowess.Read more about the haunted Loyola University New Orleans
Once a prominant hangout spot for Gangsters and other nefarious types, the Mahogany Jazz Club, located on the western edge of the Fernch Quarter, has long been home to strange happenings.
To this day, staff and patrons of the bar have reported all kinds of ghostly happenings. So when we started making a list of the most haunted places in New Orleans, we knew it had to be on it.Learn more about the ghosts of the Mahogany Jazz Club
What happens when you establish a Haunted Halloween Attraction within an old funeral home, which also just so happens to be located next to an old cemetery? Hauntings, that's what.
The Mortuary Haunted House has quite a number of spirits hanging around, some more frequently spotted than others. And while this haunted location does not offer ghost tours or paranormal investigations, one thing is for certain: if you feel a hand reach out and touch you while making your way through the Attraction just keep moving. You'll never know, after all, if it was one of the living who brushed your arm or one of the many dead who graced this old Greek Revival mansion.Learn more about the ghosts of The Mortuary Haunted House
In the midst of the 19th century, constant epidemics of yellow fever struck the city of New Orleans. Hospitals filled up and the cemeteries had a wait list. There was no place to put the dead as they waited for bruail--and so makeshift morgues popped up throughout the French Quarter.
Homes were converted into holding cells for the no-longer-living. Stores, too. Today, almost no trace of these former morgues exist--except for one, this one. Although no longer a morgue, the ghosts refuse to quiet down. They refuse to pass on to the After Life.Learn more about the ghosts of The Old Morgue
As one of the few bars to survive the Prohibition-era, the Absinthe House is iconic spot along the busy Bourbon Street. But while people may come to the Old Absinthe House for the "green fairy," they inadvertently stick around for the ghosts.
Rumors of hauntings have circulated for decades--the ghost of a pirate, the ghosts of former tavern-goers. Which spirits may you encounter upon visiting this drinking establishment? Only time will tell. Just remember that the spirits love the Absinthe Bar just as much as the living do.Learn more about the ghosts of the Absinthe House
In a city filled with impressive buildings, there is perhaps none greater than the French Quarter’s St. Louis Cathedral. And, the only thing more storied than the Cathedral’s historical importance are the Ghosts of St. Louis.
It is believed by most that the source of the hauntings at cathedral are caused by the fact that St. Louis was built atop one of the crescent city's earliest burial grounds. But, for all of the lost souls wandering the grounds of the cathedral, the most famous spirit at St. Louis is the ghost of a priest.Learn more about the haunted St. Louis Cathedral
The Pharmacy Museum is one of the most popular tourist stops in the French Quarter, as it filled with medieval medical contraptions, and other relics from the past. But, more horrifying than the items you’ll view at the museum are the ghost stories that are told about the historic pharmacy.
While there are multiple spirits the lurk in the shadows at the museum, there is one ghost that has been seen with greater frequency than all other lost souls combined. That spirit belongs to the lumbering former owner Dr. Joseph Dupas.Learn more about the ghosts of the Pharmacy Museum
New Orleans is known for its historic European beauty and its Caribbean flare. But this city also has a tragic past--a dark history only seen through the abandoned buildings that can be found dotted throughout the city. Abandoned places that are also haunted.
The infamous Jazzland has made our cut.Read more about the ghosts of abandoned locations in New Orleans
Ask a local if New Orleans is America’s Most Haunted City, and there’s a 99.9% chance that they’ll vote in the Crescent City’s favor. (The other .01% might go to Savannah, maybe). That may have something to do with why Ghost Tours here in New Orleans are so popular.
But really: check any Most Haunted City article online and you’ll easily find New Orleans in the top third of the list, if not in the coveted first place slot. What makes La Nouvelle-Orléans so rich with paranormal activity that people flock from all over the world to come and take a ghost tour, or a ghost hunt, or simply to walk the narrow banquettes of the French Quarter?
For as much as the living enjoy and appreciate New Orleans, it’s fair to say that the dead like it that much more.
Here are our top 6 reasons why New Orleans really is the most haunted city in America.
It was 1718 when our founder, Jean-Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur Bienville, sailed down the Mississippi River and settled in New Orleans. He was accompanied by soldiers and expeditioners from Canada and France, but Bienville realized early on that he needed people to grow the city’s population. So, he did what anyone might do: he penned the king of France and requested that the Crown send some folks across the Atlantic.
The King acquiesced, but he did so on his own terms. In 1721, he opened all of the prison doors of Paris and put them on a ship heading for New Orleans. The convicts were the lowest of society: thieves, pickpockets, rapists and murderers. Then, Bienville needed appropriate brides for his colonists, and the first group of prospective women recruited hailed from Paris’ House of Correction. Prostitutes, the lot of them.
The early colony of New Orleans struggled under the weight of debauchery and crime, where bursts of violence were not uncommon. Those same convicts rapidly began to fill our Old Parish Prison. But even after they were publicly executed for their crimes, their souls never left the prison. Other prisoners heard disembodied screams from areas of the jail that no one was in; the sounds of iron clanking woke them even in the dead of night. Guards began reporting that they saw shadows of ghostly figures roaming the cells and corridors, and some grew so frightened by the dead convicts (more so than they feared the living) that they up and quit. When the parish prison closed, it still had 350 prisoners still locked inside of those walls.
It’s fair to say that the ghosts of those early colonists, especially those who ended up imprisoned before facing their execution, have opted to never leave the city they found themselves in centuries ago.
To hear more about the ghosts of the Old Parish Prison, check out our Ghosts of New Orleans Tour
(All I’ll say is that you know it’s creepy when there’s even a legitimate Haunted Cell).
It arrived in the form of infected mosquitoes, but resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.
Yellow Fever was the true killer of New Orleanians during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
After drinking the diseased water, people’s temperatures spiked and their liver, infested with the fever, shut down. Skin turned a sickly yellow, and the whites of their eyes matched the jaundiced flesh to perfection. It was only a matter of days until the body could no longer support its own and succumbed to the disease.
With no known cure, grave drivers could only collect the dead off the streets and haul them to the cemeteries. Most of the bodies, at any rate. Some were unfortunate enough to be brought to places like what is now the Pharmacy Museum. Today, the Pharmacy Museum is rumored to be one of the most haunted locations in New Orleans. It was during these epidemics that pharmacist Dr. Joseph Dupas used the dead yellow fever victims as decoys for the women (alive) that he conducted experiments upon upstairs in the house. Although the women were brought with a beating pulse to the Pharmacy, they certainly never left with one.
Workers of the Museum continue to experience residual paranormal activity, no doubt from those years when Dr. Dupas did unspeakable things to the poorest women of the city. An apparition of a man dressed in a brown lab coat has been recorded on surveillance footage; screams can still be heard emanating from the second floor; and museum artifacts are always being moved about. (To hear the full story of Dr. Dupas you’ll definitely want to check out our Killers and Thrillers West Ghost Tours.
But for those victims who were not manipulated by the likes of Dr. Dupas, the cemeteries could barely hold all of the lifeless bodies brought to their front gates. In one summer alone, 10,000 people (out of the 50,000 who had remained in the city) died in the span of two months. Until 1905 when the last epidemic broke out, New Orleanians feared nothing more than the coming months of summer. And with no cure at that time, there was nothing to do but hope and pray.
To this day, locations in the French Quarter swear to be haunted to by the ghosts of yellow fever victims, where children were the most susceptible. (Click here to read more about the ghostly children of New Orleans).
Mark Twain once called the cemeteries of New Orleans the “Cities of the Dead,” and the nickname has stuck for over a century.
Due to a Spanish and Roman Catholic influence, the colonists of New Orleans did not bury bodies six feet under. The high water table was unforgivable, for one, and the very thought of coffins bobbing up from the ground with remains popping out was horrifying. (This actually happened in 2011 when a man dug up his courtyard in the French Quarter to put in a pool, only to unearth fifteen coffins dating from the eighteenth century). Secondly, custom mandated that burials be elevated as aboveground tombs or mausoleums.
If strolling through the dead is not enough, the fact that generations upon generations can fit into one single crypt should be enough to send chills running down your spine. Yellow Fever epidemics posed a deadly problem, however, for in the span of one summer thousands of the victims could be waiting to be interred within the city’s limited tomb space.
And if the thought of the dead waiting to be buried doesn’t unnerve you, the fact that the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau’s spirit still haunts St. Louis Cemetery #1 just might. Her ghost is said to lurk by her tomb. For visitors who disrespect her or her religion or beliefs, the ghost of Maria has been known to hit, scratch and push people down to the ground. Maria Laveau may not be the friendliest of spirits, and she’s only just one of the ghosts rumored to haunt St. Louis Cemetery #1, the oldest grave site in New Orleans.
Good Friday of 1788: Treasurer Jose Nunez was sitting in his family’s home on Rue Chartres, less than a block away from St. Louis Church (now Cathedral). He allegedly lit fifty-six candles in honor of the holiday, and then sat down for dinner with his family. Then, the scent of smoke curled through the house—the candles had caught fire upon the curtains.
That night on March 21, 1788, 856 buildings of the 1,110 in the French Quarter caught fire and burned to the ground. The Spanish Governor, Esteban Miro wrote, “If the imagination could describe what our senses enable us to feel from sight and touch, reason itself would recoil in horror, and it is no easy matter to say whether the sight of an entire city in flames was more horrible to behold than the suffering and pitiable condition in which everyone was involved.”
With no where to turn, locals camped out in Jackson Square (Plaza de Armas), which just so happened to be the place where public executions were held every single week. Allegedly those executions did not stop during the time the homeless New Orleanians stayed there, and rumor has it that the stories of hearing disembodied voices screaming and spotting ghostly figures in Jackson Square started then. Today, Jackson Square remains just as paranormally active as it was the Great Fire of 1788 ravaged the city and the public executions amassed hundreds of New Orleanians to watch each and every week. Orbs have been caught on camera in Jackson Square, and apparitions have been visibly spotted.
Are these ghosts which haunt Jackson Square the victims of execution or the restless souls who lost their lives in the devastating fire?
Though the locals spent the next six years rebuilding, another fire in 1794 destroyed another 200 buildings.
Where there is lost life and despair, well, ghosts are not so far behind.
It’s no secret that port towns are often the most crime-ridden and violent-laden areas in a state. Portland, for example, is known for its Old Town and the Shanghai Tunnels, where unsuspecting folks were kidnapped out of saloons, dragged through the underground tunnels to the waterfront, and then sold to sea captains.
New Orleans is no different. Back in the 1800s, the closest street to the waterfront was Gallatin Street, and it was known as the “most dangerous street in the world.” Legend has it that if you could make it past Gallatin, you could make it anywhere. Ramshackle buildings hung loose on their foundations; gangs such as the Live Oak were so slick that their victims never knew their throats had been slashed until they were already dead on the ground; prostitutes, some missing limbs or teeth, lured sailors off the street. Some of the most ruthless were the women themselves. Bridget Fury. Mary Jane “Bricktop” Johnson. These were the names of serial killers of Gallatin Street, and their souls have never left. At the stroke of midnight, a woman’s scream can still be heard just as a pistol’s shot rings through the otherwise empty, quiet streets.
Ultimately Gallatin was razed to the ground at the end of the nineteenth century, but the imprint from that tumultuous period has remained. And for many tourists, they simply have no idea that when they visit the French Market in New Orleans, they are standing directly where all of that death and crime once occurred.
Day of the Dead.
Krewe de Boo Parade (on Halloween).
Krewe d’Etat Parade (during Mardi Gras).
These are just some of the ways that New Orleanians celebrate the dead each year. Thanks to a heavy blend of Spanish, French and African influences, death is not just an occurrence in New Orleans, it is also a cause for celebration.
In a strange way, we New Orleanians are fascinated with the culture of death—as a passage from the Here and Now to the Other Side—and as weird as it may seem, locals and city-implants have found other ways to celebrate those who have passed. (And, hey, it might be because a parts of our city are actually built on top of cemeteries that the obsession started in the first place).
Whether it’s due to culture or just a weird fascination, New Orleanians encourage the spirits of the dead to come out and play, making this Party City an even playing field for both the living and the ghosts who still make the Crescent City their home . . .
And who make New Orleans the Most Haunted City in America . . . Or is it? Many people would tell you that Savannah is actually the most haunted city in America . . . Stay tuned to hear why they might be right.