New Orleans is a city rich in legends and filled with beautiful historical architecture. Spooky tales of spirits and haunting are plentiful in the city and often take place in some of NOLA’s most popular hotels and bars. If you know where to look, you can find New Orleans hotels and bars that evoke the mystery, charm and excitement of the Big Easy. Haunted hotels can be trendy and thrilling, offering up just the right dose of history and convenience.
You don’t have to be a ghost hunter to find the hottest haunts in New Orleans. Many of the city’s ghost stories circulate around its more popular hotels.
These seven haunted hot spots provide haunting and Southern hospitality in equal measure.
Hotel Maison de Ville
In the famous French Quarter of New Orleans sits this luxurious hotel. A New Orleans landmark for over 200 years, Hotel Maison de Ville is rumored to be haunted by the spirits of slaves and soldiers who once inhabited its quarters. Guests report seeing wet footprints appear in the hallways and radios changing stations mysteriously. Hotel Maison de Ville is a favorite destination of amateur ghost hunters who have used recording technology to capture what they claim is a ghost’s voice. “I need to leave,” said the hotel’s resident ghost. But please — feel invited to stay!
Le Pavilion Hotel
Ghosts that haunt this turn-of-the-century hotel in downtown New Orleans are rumored to include a teenage girl from the 1920s, an aristocratic couple from the same era and a dapper, prank-playing gentleman ghost. The ghosts are as much of an attraction as the hotel’s marvelous crystal chandeliers and well-preserved French antiques. The Le Pavilion Hotel’s “castle suite” includes a marble tub that was given to wealthy Louisiana plantation owners as a gift — from none other than Napoleon Bonaparte. Paranormal investigators attest to the consistent supernatural events at Le Pavilion and note that the ghosts here are mostly friendly.
Dauphine Orleans Hotel
This New Orleans oasis features an extravagant palm-lined courtyard and ornate pools. Since 1775, the Dauphine Orleans has attracted artists, writers and politicians. The hotel’s bar was once a bordello frequented by Civil War soldiers and their “ladies of the evening.” The hotel’s Audubon cottage was where the famed naturalist James Audubon painted his classic “Birds of America” series. Ghostly tales tell of mysterious moans throughout the hotel, shaking beds and creaking floorboards. The hotel transmits an opulent, decadent vibe, attracting visitors for its architectural beauty, antique decor and legendary haunting.
Andrew Jackson Hotel
Another haunted French Quarter hotel, the Andrew Jackson features 18th-century decor and comfortable, homey rooms. Ghostly legends say that this hotel was originally an all-boys’ school that was destroyed in 1788 in the Great New Orleans Fire. Boys who perished in the blaze are said to haunt the hotel’s courtyard, their ghostly footsteps echoing deep into the night. Guests have also reported seeing a transparent visage of none other than the hotel’s namesake, Andrew Jackson.
A host of ghosts are said to inhabit this grand hotel. Built in 1886, the Montelone has hosted countless movie stars, royalty and heads of state. The grandfather clock in its spectacular lobby is a famous haunted artifact, well known to supernatural investigators. Twelve specific ghosts have been consistently documented over the past century, including a man in a Mardi Gras–style feathered mask, a playful 10-year-old boy ghost and the spirit of a female jazz singer whose songs can be heard wafting through the halls at night.
The charm of old-world New Orleans is evident in the architecture of Hotel Provincial, a landmark of the French Quarter. Known as a wonderful place to take ghost photos, guests often report sightings of bloodied soldier ghosts in several of the hotel’s buildings. Supposedly parts of the hotel were once used as a military hospital. Other ghostly happenings include mysterious stains appearing and disappearing on curtains and sheets.
Le Richelieu Hotel
This hotel was designed to be casual, charming and elegant. While it may not have been designed originally for ghosts, they seem to have taken up residence in its cheerful halls. Le Richelieu, built in 1969, is a young hotel in comparison with the other famous haunts. However, the land that the Le Richelieu was built on was once an execution ground. In 1802, several Spanish soldiers were shot to death on its land. Their ghosts are said to order drinks at the bar occasionally.
Wherever you go in New Orleans, you’re bound to be immersed in history. Keep your eyes open and your cameras out — you never know when some supernatural spirits might come out to play. The many magnificent hotels of the Big Easy offer the added bonus of mystery for intrepid visitors.
About the author: Robert Vian has lived and worked in the French Quarter of New Orleans for over 20 years.