For pretty obvious reasons New Orleans is one of the county's most visited cities... And what's not to love? The city has ghosts, Cajun food, history, drool-worthy architecture, and some pretty spectacularly salacious former residents. If you're heading to NOLA to spend a few days exploring, drinking, and investigating, look no further, because this guide is guaranteed to be 100% fright-filled. You've been warned!
There's no better place to start an adventure in New Orleans than Cafe Du Monde. Fuel up on sugar and caffeine with a cafe au lait and a plate of New Orleans' famous beignets, topped in delicious powdered sugar. Du Monde has been serving up the famous treat since before the Civil War! If it's your first time visiting, it's tradition to blow some powdered sugar off your beignet and make a wish before you dig in-- you're gonna need all the luck you can get if you're going to be searching for ghosts!
Over the years many visitors to Cafe Du Monde have reported run-ins with a ghostly waiter, nicknamed "Walter" or "Blue", who supposedly takes your order before disappearing completely.
There isn't a cemetery in NOLA that doesn't have ghosts roaming around, but Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 is one of the most famous. Built in 1833, over 2000 yellow fever victims were buried here, among many others. Lafayette is most famous for its legends of undead voodoo zombies who are said to crawl from their crypts each night to wander the streets of the French Quarter. It's often called the most haunted cemetery in New Orleans!
Jackson Square might be one of the most recognizable stops in New Orleans, and for good reason. Not only is the square's St. Louis Cathedral one of the oldest churches in Louisiana, it’s also one one of the oldest in the entire country, and is quite often referred to as the "heart of New Orleans".
There has been a church standing on the spot where St. Louis sits today since 1727, and one of the most famous ghosts is Pere Dagobert, a charismatic monk who removed the bodies of six men executed for rebellion against the new Spanish regime in 1769. The legend goes that after the bodies were purposely left to rot where they fell, Pere secretly brought the bodies to St Louis Cemetery No. 1, with he help of a very strange fog. Dagobert performed the funeral mass, and the bodies of the were buried in unmarked graves.
For hundreds of years, people have claimed to see Pere moving through the square at night, holding a lantern to light his way through the fog. He has been spotted kneeling inside the church, and singing the “Kyrie” in the square late at night. He’s often followed by the ghosts of six men who move in the shadows.
The St. Louis Cathedral is where Pere Dagobert served. The six men who were killed by the Spanish firing squad were French rebels and were also members of the Saint Louis parish, but were not permitted to have a proper Catholic burial... until Pere made sure that the rebels were able to rest in peace. Watch for his ghost descending the steps of the cathedral!
Before you spend some time poking around in Marie Laveau’s Voodoo shop, there's one store you're absolutely going to want to visit Voodoo Authentica first. Known as one of the quarter's most genuine magic supply stores, you won't find any tourist junk here... just 100% real voodoo supplies. It's the perfect place to grab a protection talisman before visiting any more of the city's haunted hot spots... and considering you're in New Orleans, you might want to buy two!
Run by local vampires (yes, for real) the Voodoo Authentica doubles as a Voodoo temple, and believe me when I say it's unbelievably beautiful. Pick up a handmade gris-gris bag for whatever ails you, and don’t forget to leave some coins on Yemaya’s alter for good luck.
Named for the most famous voodoo queen in all of New Orleans voodoo history, Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo has all of your voodoo needs covered. If you're just looking for a memento from your travels in the Big Easy, they've got those too. Snoop through some spell kits, mojo bags, gris gris, and talismans, there’s something here to make all your magical desires a reality.
Before proceeding with any voodoo rituals, you might want grab a drink at the tiny little bar inside. Toast the Hoodoo Priestess herself, Marie Laveau, for a little extra good luck with your magical workings.
The shop, which was Leveau's actual home, is said to be haunted by none other than the Voodoo Queen herself, who many believe is said to still reside at the hut.
This little two-story blacksmith shop was built sometime in the 1700s and managed to escape fires in both 1788 and 1794 that ravaged the city. Lucky for us, since the Blacksmith Shop was the place of business for infamous privateer brothers Jean and Pierre Lafitte, and is considered by many to be one of the most haunted buildings in New Orleans.
Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop (a National Historic Landmark), has definitely has seen quite a bit of history. It looks a little worn down, and it's incredibly dark inside, but they've got a piano near the bar and a lovely patio as well. Plus, it's not totally overrun by tourists guzzling frozen drinks, since it's on the far end of Bourbon Street-- although they definitely serve hurricanes (as well as lots of local craft beers and other libations). If you're lucky, you might be able to grab a drink with Jean Lafitte himself; his ghost is said to haunt the property...it's the perfect place to grab a drink after a late night New Orleans ghost tour!
The bar is rumored to be home to another spirit as well: an unknown female entity who appears on second floor, often seen reflecting back in a mirror. Many believe she is either the ghost of a young Marie Laveau, or the infamous and terrible Madame Delphine LaLaurie.
There’s a very good chance you’re already familiar with the LaLaurie Mansion if you’re a fan of "American Horror Story", and though the series definitely took some liberties, Delphine LaLaurie was still one sick puppy.
Not only was Delphine from a wealthy family, she also married three times; the first two of her well-off husbands died mysteriously, of course. Finally, LaLaurie and her newest husband bought the infamous house at 1140 Royal Street... but once again it wasn’t happily ever after. Delphine and her new beaux, who was 20 years her senior, fought often, and as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, he left, leaving her in hysterics. Some say this was the straw that broke the insane camel's back once and for all.
On April 10, 1834 a fire broke out in the mansion’s kitchen. It was started, according to the legend, by the cook, who had been chained to the stove and tortured for weeks on end. The fire swept through the house, exposing Delphine’s awful obsession. In the attic. Firefighters found more than a dozen slaves, chained, tortured, mutilated, and experimented on.
Before you start on the next leg of your walking tour, you're probably going to want to regroup and refuel, and that's where Eat New Orleans comes in.
Eat New Orleans is famous for NOLA-specific local dishes made with farm-fresh ingredients, local seafood, and regional produce to make Big Easy family favorites all that much more delicious. Heck, they even cover their walls with the work of local artists!
Fill up on homemade gumbo, Crawfish Boil Stew, Cochon with Mustard Greens, or Fried Catfish. They even have amazingly delicious options for vegetarians.
Are you really serious about performing some magic while in New Orleans? For the best results, consult a voodoo priestess on what you want and what you’ll need to do to get it. The Voodoo Spiritual Temple's Priestess Miriam doesn’t focus on “white” or “black” magic, so if you want to get rid of that pesky hangover, or your jerk boss (yikes), Miriam will help you get the job done.
The temple has elements of West African tradition and Catholic tradition, so don’t be surprised to see a statue of a saint next to a voodoo doll!
Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel St Jude Shrine is the oldest standing church building in New Orleans, and was originally known as the Mortuary Chapel; that means it was built as a funeral church.
Plagues were a constantly problem in New Orleans during the 18th and 19th centuries, thanks to the city's swampy and crowded environment. In fact, between 1817 and 1860, there were no less than twenty- three yellow fever epidemics, and doctors had no idea how the disease was spreading. The funeral church saw hundreds of thousands of deaths pass through the tunnel and into St. Louis Cemetery #1, where the bodies were buried daily in massive open graves.
Before taking your guided tour of St. Louis #1, take the time to explore the church, and the tunnel, where so many of the unnamed dead buried in the cemetery made their final journey before reaching their graves.
St Louis Cemetery opened its gates in 1789 and replaced the old Saint Peters Cemetery that had been located in the heart of the city. After the fire of 1788, citizens agreed it would be healthier to build the new cemetery away from the dense city population, and the new graveyard was built 8 blocks from the Mississippi River.
Over 100,000 departed citizens have been put to rest inside the gates, despite the fact that the cemetery is roughly the size of one square city block. One of the most famous departed New Orleans citizens buried at St Louis #1 is Voodoo Priestess Marie Laveau. Visitors to her grave usually pay their respects by leaving her alcohol, flowers, money, beads, or tobacco.
There are so many first-hand accounts of paranormal activity at the cemetery that it would be impossible to list all, or even most of them. Some of the most noteworthy examples include being slapped by the ghost of Marie Laveau, the appearance of a set of mysterious blue eyes, and interactions with a ghost named Alphonse. Many of the encounters with Alphonse occur around the Pinead family vault, where he appears holding a vase of flowers and begins to cry. Then without warning, he'll disappear right before your eyes.
A word of advice to anyone planning on touring the cemetery alone: Don't. Tourists have been robbed as they pass between the narrow vault alleys, so if you want to explore the City of Angels it helps to take a tour; you won't have to worry about anything... except maybe the ghosts.
Constructed in the 18th century, the Audubon Cottages have been a refuge for visitors to NOLA thanks to the luxurious and comfortable digs. Unfortunately, the cottages might be a little too comfortable, because some of the guests refuse to check out... even after their deaths. If you want to have a paranormal experience of your very own, make sure to book cottages 2 or 4, where guests have heard the sounds of disembodied voices and even felt someone pulling at their feet while they slept.
It’s said that “Everyone you have known or will know eventually ends up at The Old Absinthe House”. Not only is it of the oldest and most historical watering holes in the city, it has one of the best Bloody Marys!
Built in 1806, it wasn’t until 1860 when it eventually became “The Abseinthe Room” a saloon that served (you guessed it) absinthe. At the time, the opium-infused drink was all the rage, but by 1912 the drink was officially outlawed at the Abseinth Room, and authorities threatened to burn the entire building to the ground if they refused to comply. So they did what any good bar does: they ripped out in infamous copper and installed it in a new, secret location, where they could continue to serve up absinthe.
Over the years some of the most famous celebrities, writers, politicians, and even criminals have pulled up a seat at the bar (which was returned to its home at the original location in 2004). Everyone from Oscar Wilde, Frank Sinatra, Mark Twain, and even Robert E. Lee have tossed back a few, and even the ghost of Marie Laveau is said to spend time with a drink in hand. The Old Absinthe House is the perfect place to drink the night away before stumbling to your hotel.
Not only is the Hotel Monteleone one of the most famous hotels in NOLA, it's also one of the most haunted. It's the perfect place for a ghost hunter to rest their head (or try to rest, at least) at the end of a haunted walking tour of New Orleans!
The hotel is supposedly haunted by the ghost of Maurice, the child of the wealthy Begere family, who, rumor has it, died of a fever on the fourteenth floor in the 1800s. To this day, countless people, including Begere family members, have had experiences with Maurice while staying at the hotel, and chances are if you've booked your room on the fourteenth floor, you might just have an experience of your own.
Tip: They also have an amazing carousel bar, so if you're not ready to let the night come to an end, you don't have to!
The Bourbon Orleans Hotel is a convent-turned-hotel that is home of the "lone dancer" ghost, who has been spotted by guests beneath the crystal chandelier in the famous ballroom. The hotel is also home to the ghost of an old woman who is often spotted reading a newspaper in the lobby. Many visitors have experienced the strange smell of cigar smoke permeating the area, before she disappears into thin air.
The city's Haunted Mortuary is everything you want it to be: it has amazing architecture, a spooky history, and a surplus of ghosts. Book your tours in advanced because they tend to sell out quickly!
Easily one of the busiest eateries in town, Jacques-Imo's Cafe is also famous for the ghosts said to be coming back for seconds... from the afterlife. Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau herself has been spotted looking out from one of the windows at passers-by below.
They say that in New Orleans, if you don’t have a ghost in your house, you aren’t looking hard enough! There are spirits all over the city just waiting to be investigated, so get out there and do some exploring.