New Orleans is one of the oldest cities in the country. In fact, it predates the official founding of the United States altogether. What started as a simple port town teeming with pirates, trade opportunists, and ladies of the night would eventually become a culturally diverse metropolis like no other, as it has its own fair share of tragic events and dramatic shifts in identity. From old Creole legends to tales of sickness and war, there is scarcely a corner in the French Quarter that doesn’t have a story behind it - and that goes double for the many hotels in the area.
It would be a surprise if the place you choose to rest at after your Big Easy adventures doesn't have a tragic or otherwise gruesome past tied to it. The question that must be asked each time you book a room is whether your potentially mortally challenged roommate has good or bad intentions during your stay. Read on to learn about some of the most famous haunted domiciles of New Orleans.
With its intricately decorated halls, themed rooms, and complimentary PB&J sandwiches, Le Pavillon Hotel might as well be called the Big Easy’s land-based Titanic. The site of Le Pavillon has been home to a slew of structures, including a theater that burned to the ground in the late 1800s. It’s rumored over 100 lost souls reside within the halls of the hotel, perhaps the most famous of which is a lonely woman in black who visits male guests in the night.
Other frequent supernatural visitors include a well-dressed couple from the 1920s in the lobby, a young girl who exudes her fear and confusion from an outdoor carriage accident, and a mischievous prankster on the third floor.
The Hotel Monteleone is one of the oldest family-owned businesses in New Orleans, having been under the care of the Monteleones for five long generations. Paranormal researchers have concluded that about a dozen ghosts check into the Monteleone on a regular basis, but the most beloved of them has to be little Maurice Begere.
Maurice was only a toddler when he suddenly succumbed to a fever during his stay at Hotel Monteleone in the late 1800s. His parents were so stricken with grief they reportedly revisited the hotel for several years in hopes of seeing young Maurice again. The boy would eventually return to put his mother at ease and, according to some, continues to pitter-patter through rooms on the 14th floor (really the 13th floor) to this day.
The Le Richelieu Hotel may be a charming example of NOLA’s culturally diverse history today, but it was once the site of a particularly bloody episode of the city’s tumultuous history. During the height of the rebellion led by the French members of the city against the newly appointed Spanish government, Count Alexander O'Reilly was commissioned to snuff the opposition out.
Upon capturing Attorney General Nicolas Chauvin de la Freniere, O’Reilly took him and four additional freedom fighters to the site of the hotel, which was home to Spanish barracks at the time. “Bloody O’Reilly” then executed the French rebels by firing squad. Today, guests of the hotel report occurrences related to the soldiers who perished on the site.
Before being converted into a luxury hotel, the Bourbon Orleans Hotel was the site of the legendary Orleans Ballroom and Theater, as well as a convent at the end of the 19th century. Because of its various incarnations throughout the ages, the site is host to a menagerie of paranormal entities.
A dance-happy spirit can often be seen waltzing through the hotel ballroom and rustling the curtains to make its presence known. Young children and nuns who succumbed to the city’s yellow fever epidemic can also be seen wandering the halls of the sixth floor.