508 Toulouse St, New Orleans
Three spirits are forever tied to the location formerly occupied by a popular Irish music club. What event could have caused such a strong haunting?
The property at 508 Toulouse Street is now occupied by the New Orleans Creole Cookery. Before that, it was O’Flaherty’s Irish pub, and that was when the phantoms involved gained notoriety for their haunting presence.
Three unique souls haunt this building, known as the Lanoix House. Each occupies a different area of the property, and each treats visitors in different ways. New Orleans is littered with your run-of-the-mill haunts: disembodied footsteps, doors opening and closing, strange orbs of light. The ghosts of the Lanoix house are much more distinct by comparison, making this a prime location for ghost hunters.
In 1803, Guillaume Marre moved with his wife, the once-widowed Mary Wheaton, to New Orleans. There, he purchased two buildings which now house the New Orleans Creole Cookery. He established a feed store on the ground floor of one building and an oyster shucking business in the other. He and Mary worked the businesses and lived in the rooms above until Guillaume’s death less than three years later.
Mary inherited the buildings and attracted the attention of Joseph Baptandiere, another business owner. They wed in 1806, but Joseph had an appetite Mary just couldn’t sate. He entered into a secret plaçage with a woman named Angelique.
Plaçage was an arrangement where an ethnic European man would take on and provide for a mistress, usually of native or mixed blood. The agreement included understood secrecy; in return for being provided for, the mistress would agree to not interfere with the man’s social life. However, as love triangles tend to do, these relationships didn’t always work out…
As time passed, Angelique became frustrated with the arrangement. She wanted more from Joseph. Rumor has it she was staying in a small attic room while Joseph and Mary stayed in much more comfortable accommodations, so one could understand why she wasn’t pleased.
In 1810, things hit a tipping point. Angelique threatened to tell Mary about her relationship with Joseph. Incensed, Joseph choked Angelique until she fell unconscious, then threw her from a balcony into the courtyard below. Angelique died from a broken neck as a result of the fall.
Covering his tracks, Joseph quickly stashed the body in a sewer hole and covered it with dirt. He then realized a slave boy had seen the whole incident and ran off to tell authorities. Disgraced and afraid of the consequences of his actions, Joseph went to the 3rd-floor balcony, tied a rope around his neck, and hanged himself.
Mary had lost her third husband, and this one seems to have finally convinced her that marriage just wasn’t for her. She died in 1817, at the ripe old age of 35.
The Lanoix House was used for businesses and various residents throughout the years until Danny O’Flaherty purchased the property in 1985. There he opened O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub, focused on good Celtic music and good drinks. O’Flaherty’s would regularly play host to some of the finest Celtic musicians in America and Europe, and Danny would also entertain guests himself.
Something about this lively atmosphere seemed to awaken the long-dormant shades of Joseph, Angelique, and Mary. Employees and guests started seeing Angelique mingling with handsome men, Mary making sure proper decorum was maintained, and they felt Joseph’s angry presence on the 3rd floor.
Mary’s ghost may be the quietest at times, but easily annoyed with rowdy patrons. A stern nudge on the shoulder from an unseen hand is quite common. That’s Mary, doing what she can to maintain civility in her house.
Mary also made her presence known in the Celtic Gift Shop at O’Flaherty’s. If a pretty young woman walked in, she was known to dislodge books from their places on the shelf. Angelique seems to have left an impression on her.
Angelique enjoyed the lively party atmosphere of O’Flaherty’s. She was known to mingle with visitors, particularly the handsome young men. They would often feel her gentle hand, caressing their hands and necks.
She could also have a real attitude problem, though. Occasionally she would throw a tantrum, slinging bottles around. However, if Danny O’Flaherty sang
Red is the Rose, she’d calm right down, and often she’d be seen wistfully enjoying the old Irish tune.
The most frightening of the three spirits haunting the Lanoix House is that of Joseph. He never leaves the 3rd floor. Witnesses see Joseph still hanging.
The disgruntled Joseph is known to push, scratch, and even try to strangle visitors, especially ghost hunters.
Others have reported intense energies, usually sad or angry, on the 3rd floor. A few have heard the voice of a man asking to be left alone. Joseph let his temper get to him, now cursed to eternal shame. He wants to forget it, and he wants others to forget as well so he can move on. Alas, there he stays, trapped between worlds.
These grounds are haunted by more than just those three tortured souls. In 1853, the building was used as a quarantine for Yellow Fever victims. Nobody knows how many people spent their last miserable days suffering within these walls.
What we do know is that some chose to end their suffering on their own terms. Several patients jumped from the windows to their deaths, resulting in the windows being barred. Today, people report muffled coughs and sniffles, and near the windows, one writer describes an almost tangible
O’Flaherty’s closed its doors after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and never re-opened. Now the building is occupied by the New Orleans Creole Cookery. They remodeled the building, removing the infamous balcony from which Angelique was thrown and the fountain that marked her temporary grave.
If you think you missed your chance to find these three famous spirits, fret not. The New Orleans Creole Cookery is also receiving reports of Mary, Angelique, and Joseph continuing their interactions with visitors. Make a reservation and keep your eyes peeled!
Indeed the history of the Lanoix House is dominated by the story of Mary, Joseph, and Angelique. Outside of that, and the Yellow Fever quarantine in 1853, the property quietly passed through several generations of a few families over the years.
One interesting fact is it was bought by the Jackson Brewing Company, named in honor of former president Andrew Jackson. They held the property until their business began showing some cracks in 1971. Just three years later, the storied brewery went under entirely.
While the unique atmosphere of O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub is gone, its most famous residents are not. The New Orleans Creole Cookery is listed at 508 Toulouse St, between Chartres and Decatur. Dress appropriately and keep yourself in check, lest you anger Mary’s shade.