Grab a bite to eat in this haunted French Quarter Restaurant
One of the most common questions our ghost tour guides get asked is “Why do some people become ghosts and others don’t?” I wish I had a neat easy answer for you, but the reality is, nobody knows for sure. Many people think it is because the person died in a traumatic way, maybe they had unfinished business on Earth..and sometimes it is that they simply loved someone, or something in life, soo much, that it is hard for them to say goodbye. That seems to be the case with Muriel’s Restaurant. Let me give you a little background information on the building that sits behind us.
Most of the ghost stories associated with Muriel’s revolve around one of the past owners of the building in which Muriel’s resides. Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan bought the property sometime after one of New Orleans’ huge fires, this one in 1788. It was called the Good Friday Fire. The gentleman who owned this property prior to the fire was a Mr. Marigny. After the house received damage from the fire he decided it was in his best interest to sell the property. Jourdan stepped in and bought the damaged property from Marigny and set forth restoring the home to its former glory.
Jourdan spent the rest of his life in this grand home. He was, rightfully so, very proud of this home, on of New Orleans’ finest. So, it should come as no surprise that many believe it is Jourdan himself who is hauntings Muriel’s today. Some have even claimed to have communicated with the ghost of Jourdan, with the ghost telling them that it is indeed Jourdan himself, still haunting the restaurant.
So, why is Jourdan still haunting this building? Maybe it has something to do with the love he had for his home. Or, maybe, it is the way in which he lost the home. He didn’t lose the home to a fire or natural disaster like soo many others, it is said he lost the house in a game of cards, or maybe it is the fact that after losing that game of cards he hanged himself on the second floor. It is said that in 1814 he wagered his home in a poker game. Apparently luck wasn’t on his side this time.
After losing the house which he lived most of his life in, the house he spent a fortune restoring and renovating, he fell into a deep depression. He committed suicide on the second floor in the area that served as the slave quarters, the same area where Muriel’s Seance Lounges are situated today. Did I say Seance Lounges? Yep, you heard me right. There are rooms upstairs where Seances have been held.
Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan still seems to be haunting Muriel’s today and is probably the most frequently encountered ghost on the property. On the second floor or Muriel’s there are a few rooms that I was surprised to hear about. The staff at Muriel’s calls these rooms The Seance Lounges. These rooms may be the most haunted part of Muriel’s Restaurant. It is believed that Jourdan spends most of his time in these rooms. There have been many sessions held in these rooms to make contact with the ghost of Jourdan.
Patrons and employees of Muriel’s have also witnessed objects being moved around throughout the restaurant. We believe Mr. Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan never left his true love and home in New Orleans as he continues to reside here to this day. Although Jordan is considered to be the main ghost, he’s not the only spirit residing at the Restaurant.
Muriel’s also has a slightly mischievous ghost in the Courtyard Bar that roams the property. Numerous times, glasses have flown from behind the bar 12 feet across to the brick wall and shattered. Why would glasses fly across the room? The likely answer is that the ghosts of Muriels’ don’t like what is going on at Muriel’s. Often times, while investigating locations we find ghosts acting out because they simply do not like what is happening in the location that they still perceive as their home. It is also possible that these hauntings could be caused by a yet unknown ghost that still haunts Muriel’s. There have been many people who have lived in this building, spent much of their life here. It is always possible that one of them are still here, they just haven’t told anyone who there are. Many they like their privacy.
Many paranormal investigations have occurred over the years with several reports stating that they’ve seen unexplainable strange shadows while hearing unknown voices nearby. The most activity comes from the Seance Lounge, where very distinct knocks on the brick wall may interact as communication. Audio of a female’s voice has also been discovered when no female was present. If you ask anyone who works at Muriel’s they will almost certainly tell you that they firmly believe that the resident ghosts at Muriel’s are harmless, and can sometimes be very entertaining. Those who have seen or felt a presence have never felt threatened.
At the beginning of our New Orleans ghost tours we go into some depth about the haunted side of New Orleans and why we believe New Orleans is as haunted as it is. New Orleans is very unique in the extent we go to embrace our dead, welcoming them into our lives, homes and businesses. Muriel’s is no exception. After a few of those paranormal investigators mentioned to Muriel’s management that they believe the ghost was acting out because he wasn’t feeling that anyone noticed him, also, that he didn’t like having all of these people, the restaurant patrons, in his house, Muriel’s took a dramatic step to help end the mischief being caused by the ghost or ghosts. If you look in the side window of the restaurant, you’ll see a lone table with a fresh white linen on it. There is an entire place setting, complete with bread and wine. See, this is Jourdan’s table. Every single day the staff of Muriel’s sets his table and leaves him bread and wine. Every since they started doing this, the mischief has ended.
Oh, don’t worry, Jourdan is still around. He makes himself known from time to time by touching someone, by talking in a manner in which people can hear him…and more. I don’t know of any other restaurant that goes to the extent of setting a table for their ghosts every day. Muriel’s does. It all comes down to a respect we have for the dead. Each and every ghost was once a person, well, aside from demonic entities, which we also talk about on our ghost tours. Most of the time, just like a living person, they just want to feel like people respect them, that we’re paying attention to them. If they feel like they’re still a part of the living world, they are content, most of the time.
If you get a chance to eat at Muriel’s, do it. It is one of the best restaurants in the entire city. And while you’re there dining, keep an eye out for a strange streak of light moving around the room. That is how it is said that the ghost at Muriel’s chooses to show itself. You never know, you may end up with one of New Orlean’s most famous ghost joining you for dinner.
Muriel's Restaurant is located right in the heart of the French Quarter, at the edge of Jackson Square. You can easily walk to Muriel's from anywhere within the French Quarter. We highly recommend them for a lovely dinner during your time in New Orleans.
For more information about Muriel's, check out their website.