New Orleans is a haven for fun-loving revelers, but beneath the surface of this colorful coastal city lay ghosts and spirits—perhaps more than in any other city in the United States. We’ve narrowed down New Orleans’ plethora of scary places to six, including a hauntingly beautiful cemetery, an alleyway with a past and a bar beloved by Tennessee Williams.
The oldest cemetery in New Orleans is also the most haunted. St. Luis #1 “is a grand European mixture of ornate marble tombs, crumbling memorials and narrow, winding footpaths,” according to Haunted America Tours. But that’s not all. Because of high water levels in New Orleans, which made underground burials difficult, St. Louis No. 1 (there’s also a No. 2) is home to many above-ground tombs and mausoleums. Stroll the “maze-like” grounds and you’re likely to hear sad cries from within the crypts, and see misty ghosts roaming about. Marie Laveau, known as the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, is the most feared ghost in the cemetery, often appearing to visitors as a black cat with red eyes.
One of New Orleans’ most disturbing haunted places is the Lalauries House, purchased by Dr. and Mme. Lalaurie in 1831. The couple was later accused of beating and mutilating slaves in the attic, according to Suite 101, and a mysterious locked room was another strange characteristic of the home. After the Lalauries fled, the home fell prey to a fire, and ghostly presences descended once it was restored. Some visitors saw a phantom Mme. Lalaurie bent over a baby’s crib, while others claimed they awoke to the woman choking them. In 1969, a retired doctor bought the home and converted it into apartments, quelling the spirits for the most part.
Pere Antoine's Alley
Pere Antoine was a Capuchin monk who arrived in New Orleans with the Spanish regime, and was steadfastly devoted to the city and his church, St. Louis Cathedral. When Antoine died in January 1829, “all New Orleans went into mourning,” according to Haunted New Orleans Tours. His funeral turned into a grand ceremony, and while many considered him a saint, others could not shake his former bigotry against Creoles. Today, visitors to the alley running alongside St. Louis Cathedral report seeing Pere Antoine’s ghost, “clad in Capuchin black and sandals,” usually during quiet, early morning hours.
Cafe Lafitte in Exile
Not only is Cafe Lafitte in Exile a popular gay bar in New Orleans’ French Quarter, it's also haunted by a literary great. The paranormal blog Spooked reports that the two-story watering hole was a favorite of Tennessee Williams. Today, visitors claim to have seen a ghostly Williams in his usual seat at “the far end of the bar.” Truman Capote also frequented Cafe Lafitte, and his spirit has been seen in the bar’s stairwell, looking for conversation.
Le Pavilion Hotel
Ghost enthusiast visitors to New Orleans might consider a stay at Le Pavilion, a quaint and classic French hotel. Spirits have long roamed the hallways, and the hotel even “hired a paranormal research team” to assess the spooky situation, according to Associated Content. Among the presences is a young girl whose name remains uncertain—either Eva, Ave or Ada—who was killed in a carriage hit-and-run in the mid 1800s. The hotel’s cleaning crew has also been stalked by the ghost of a dark-suited man, thought to be one half of an aristocratic couple detected by the paranormal investigators.