Thursday, June 16, 2016

Phantoms of the French Quarter—Burgundy, North Rampart, & Basin Streets

Hotel St. Pierre (911 Burgundy Street) As you pass by this cozy hotel, glance into the carriageway for a liveried black man. He is the carriage master who once worked here in the mid-19th century. He is seen throughout the day still waiting for a carriage to arrive.

Sources
Dwyer, Jeff. Ghost Hunter’s Guide to New Orleans. Gretna, LA:
     Pelican, 2007.

Gardette-LaPrete House (1240-42 Burgundy Street, private) Sometimes known as the “Sultan’s Retreat” this private residence is home to a popular legend. At some point in the early 19th century, a deposed potentate from the east took up residence here. Accompanied by scimitar-wielding guards, a harem, eunuchs and servants, the potentate rented the home and turned it into an Eastern-styled pleasure garden. One morning passersby noticed that everything had suddenly gone quiet. Ominously, and in testament to the horrors within, a small trickle of blood dripped from underneath the front door. When the police broke in to investigate they discovered all the home’s residents had been massacred in an orgy of blood and violence. Since that time, residents have encountered odd sounds, disembodied screams, and mysterious apparitions. Sadly, there’s no evidence that these events actually occurred.

Sources
Ambrose, Kala. Spirits of New Orleans. Cincinnati, OH:
     Clerisy Press, 2012.
Caskey, James. The Haunted History of New Orleans.
     Savannah, GA: Manta Ray Books, 2014.

Olde Victorian Inn (914 North Rampart Street) Built in 1852 by a wealthy planter, this modest inn is haunted by the spirit of an elderly man. One guest stumbled into his room to find a man sitting motionless in his room. When he alerted the innkeeper of the mysterious man’s presence, he pointed to a picture of one of the home’s former owners saying, “that’s him.” The gentleman in the picture had been dead for many years.

Sources
Smith, Terry L. and Mark Jean. Haunted Inns of America. Crane
     Hill Publishers, 2003.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 (425 Basin Street) Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1, the oldest of three such named cemeteries in New Orleans, opened as part of a new urban design in 1789, a year after a great fire that destroyed much of the city. It was opened as the city’s main burial ground and has seen a parade of famous citizens buried there including the famous “Voodoo Queen,” Marie Laveau, whose grave has become a site of pilgrimage for practitioners and tourists alike; Paul Morphy, the great chess player who was associated with the haunted Beauregard-Keyes House; and possibly Delphine LaLaurie, the former mistress of a house on Royal Street that is haunted. The spirit of a woman wearing a “tignon” or a seven-knotted handkerchief has been seen in and around the cemetery and identified as Marie Laveau.
 
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, 2003, by Flipper9.
Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Legends dating to the 1930s speak of cab-drivers avoiding the cemetery for fear of picking up a disappearing hitchhiker who appeared outside the cemetery. It seems that St. Louis No. 1 is home to many restless spirits who are seen walking through the labyrinth of above-ground crypts. One spirit of a man is even said to stop visitors and inquire as to the location of his grave.

Sources
Dwyer, Jeff. Ghost Hunter’s Guide to New Orleans. Gretna, LA:
     Pelican, 2007.
“Ghosts of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.” Ghost Eyes Blog. Accessed
     11 January 2011.

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