Spirits of New Orleans

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Although New Orleans is famous for its liquid “spirits,” there are quite a few hotels that boast the promise of some interaction with ethereal spirits as well.

The Hotel Monteleone opened in 1886 and is famous for its revolving Carousel Bar—have a seat at one of the stools near the entrance, enjoy your libation, and then step off the seat and find yourself on the opposite side of the room!

This luxury hotel has a beautiful grandfather clock in the expansive lobby and it is reported that the ghost of the clockmaker may tend to his business at all hours. This beautiful hotel has been owned by the same family for generations. Staying there has always been a real treat with or without any additional guests. For many years Pete Fountain’s Half/Fast Walking Club would stop in for a break during the Mardi Gras Parade and some whistle wetting.

Le Pavillon in the Central Business District just a few blocks from the Quarter opened in 1907 and is the site of much discussed and professionally investigated paranormal activity. It is noted for its presentation of peanut butter & jelly sandwich makings at midnight—with sterling silver bowls, plates, and flatware. You may need to have a bite of this nourishing offering before retiring to your room and encountering some unexpected visitors. After a night in the Quarter, we always enjoyed the delicious homemade jellies but never had to share them with anyone else.

The Bourbon Orleans in the very middle of the Quarter is well known for its cigar-smoking man in the lobby and if you don’t see him, you may catch a whiff of the cigar! Other guests have noticed a dancer in the expansive ballroom swaying to music and a Confederate soldier that wanders the third and sixth floors. In the late 1800s the site was a convent, all-girls school, medical ward, and orphanage. A little girl is sometimes seen rolling a ball in the sixth floor hallway and guests have reported hearing light footsteps. A yellow fever epidemic invaded the city at this time and may account for the many medical facilities in the area and the untimely deaths of its many residents.

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Le Richelieu opened in 1969 and although a “newer” hotel by French Quarter standards was the purported site of numerous executions. Spanish soldiers in military uniform have been briefly glimpsed in both the bar and swimming pool areas.

The Omni Royal Orleans has some humorous spirits. There is a maid from the 18th century that flushes toilets or runs baths while others turn on lights or move items around in the room.

The Lafitte Guest House was the original site of a hospital in the middle 1800s. Several children died in one of the rooms and their mother died shortly thereafter. Room 21 has an ominous feel and other children’s spirits haunt several sections. Our stay there included a lovely cocktail reception at 5:00 pm and in the morning an American style breakfast served on sterling silver trays in the courtyard patio sans any other spirits.

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The Andrew Jackson Hotel was the original location of an all-boys school consumed by a fire in 1788. Five boys died and are often noticed playing in the courtyard after dark; on some evenings, the sounds of their play can be heard even if their apparitions are not seen.

The Dauphine Orleans circa 1775 had a famous guest—John James Audubon who painted his well-known series “Birds of America” while at the property. A friendly spirit is known to knock on doors and other visitors have seen a dancing woman or military uniformed men in the courtyard.

The Hotel Provincial opened in 1961 as a hotel but was originally the site of a medicinal herb garden for both the adjacent military hospital and the facility down the street. The slaves’ quarters and a townhome were built around 1825, then those buildings were torn down and 2 large homes built on the site. Those two buildings then burned and were immediately rebuilt. Visitors report seeing bodies of Confederate soldiers and surgeons with blood stained gowns. Our visit there had the TV going on and off with various lights flickering at odd times. It was the only supernatural experience we ever had and was not at all frightening. The Provincial is directly across the street from the home of string instrumentalist Danny Barker, a plaque now marking the site where this beloved New Orleans musician, educator, author, and storyteller once lived.


Shelly Gallichio is a Real Estate Associate Broker in Tucson, Arizona, and despite growing up in Chicago, fell in love with the clarinet and the New Orleans sound at the age of 3.


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