New Orleans: The Most Haunted Place in America

New Orleans: The Most Haunted Place in America
Voodoo Museum, French Quarter

Haunted New Orleans

This is a guest post by my daughter, Ayan Hotchkiss.
For my 30th birthday, I decided to go with my best friend Marlene to New Orleans. I’d been there once before with Exploring Ed himself, and we had a blast checking out the neon-lit streets of the French Quarter…
French Quarter at Night
the music scene, in the clubs and the streets…
the floats for Mardi Gras…
NOLA Mardi Gras Floats in New Orleans
Mardi Gras Floats in New Orleans
and the 9th Ward (where hurricane Katrina hit the hardest).
My interest in NOLA began when I was 5 years old and my parents went to Mardi Gras. They left my sister and me home but showed us the pictures.
Classic Mardi Gras Images

Go to the New Orleans photo gallery to see more of these excellent images.

This time, however, I decided to focus more on NOLA’s infamous haunted history. Marlene, whom I met freshman year of college, and I took a deep dive into what makes this lively city the most haunted place in America. Safe to say, we were not disappointed…though maybe a little disturbed. But that’s all part of the fun!
From murderers to ghosts to vampires and killer nuns, New Orleans has a lot to offer to those who are into the darker aspects of this southern city’s history.

New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum

The Voodoo Museum, located in the French Quarter, has been around since the early 1970s. Though not a big museum, it’s packed with lots and lots of information on the origins of voodoo and the key figures in NOLA’s history that impacted how we see voodoo today. We decided to take the guided tour because it included a walk of the French Quarter on top of the tour of the museum itself.
Our guide was a very colorful character who gave us many tidbits on his personal life and how he practices voodoo with his wife. He is not someone I will soon forget. He explained how voodoo isn’t just one thing belonging to one people; it’s a complex movement with different interpretations and a complicated history. It gave us an answer to why the information in the museum was contradictory at times, something we had noticed before the tour started. Different practitioners wrote down their versions of history, and since one is not necessarily correct over the other, they included the most popular ones in the exhibit.
The tour was supposed to include a walk of St. Louis Cemetery (the City of the Dead), but sadly it wasn’t open that day.

Museum of Death

The Museum of Death, also located in the bustling French Quarter, features different exhibits chronicling the disturbing history and crimes of the world’s most notorious killers. This museum is definitely not for the faint of heart, exhibiting personal letters, death-bed confessions, and even clothing worn by these terrifying criminals. Just as an example, when you first enter the place through a dark curtain, you are immediately met with the shriveled bodies of mummified animals. Safe to say, you might not want to do a ghost tour and the Museum of Death on the same day unless morbid thrills are your cup of tea.
Sadly, we were not permitted to take photos.

Witches Brew Ghost Tours

This is one touristy thing I highly recommend. Witches Brew Ghost Tourshas a series of guides that take you on a walking tour of the most haunted buildings in New Orleans. Our guide, Matt, was knowledgeable, fun and made the tour one to remember. There are different tours with different durations, but we took the 4-in-1 Haunted Night Walk, which lasted about two hours. We took a fifteen-minute break in the middle at a bar, and those who are of drinking age are encouraged to buy a drink. It’s also a great time to use the bathroom and catch your breath. If you’re looking to have a really great time, Drunk Spirits: New Orleans Haunted Pub Crawlis the most popular of all the tours they offer.
All the tours include Madame Lalaurie’s Mansion. Madame Lalaurie is one of the most notorious serial killers in New Orleans history, and her mansion is the focus of many urban legends, ghost stories and even featured in the TV series American Horror Story (in its third season, Coven)

The Vampire of New Orleans: Jacques Saint Germain

If you’re learning about the haunted history of NOLA, chances are you’ll come across the legend of Jacques Saint Germain. Considered the city’s first vampire, Germain reportedly came from France in the early 1900s and immersed himself into NOLA’s high society. Immediately upon his arrival, the residents became very suspicious of him and claimed never to see him eat a single morsel of food. They only recorded seeing a dark red beverage in his hands at all times, which they soon discovered was the blood of various people who had gone missing in the city.
NOLA’s First Vampire
It was also reported that Germain had died in Europe long before ever setting out for the Americas. He has since been coined: ‘The man who never dies.’

Haunted Bars & Restaurants

If you’re looking to immerse yourself even further into the haunted landscape of NOLA, there are plenty of restaurants and bars that cater specifically to that. Here are a few:

Muriel’s Jackson Square:Considered one of the most haunted restaurants in the French Quarter, Muriel’s is known for its ghost sightings. They even have a table they set every day for Pierre Jourdan’s ghost, a previous owner of the building and a frequent haunter of the restaurant. For a little more money, you can be seated at that table and have dinner with the ghost himself.

Tujague’s Restaurant:One of NOLA’s most historic restaurants, celebrating its 160th year back in 2016. Having survived numerous wars and fires, you can almost feel the history right when you step in. There have been many ghost sightings over the years, and if that doesn’t entice you enough, the food is also phenomenal.

Pat O’Brien’s Bar: Owned by the Dauphine Orleans Hotel and located in a huge courtyard near the iconic Bourbon St, Pat’s is one of NOLA’s most popular bars. Said to be haunted by the ghosts of courtesans, you can sometimes see them dancing along to the live music that’s played almost every night they’re open—definitely a great place to go for dinner and drinks.

French Quarter, New Orleans
Kerry’s Irish Pub:There have been so many ghost hauntings at this pub; they say if you don’t see a ghost, you must have gone on an off night. This Celtic-themed bar is a NOLA favorite, and I highly recommend checking it out.

Ending Thoughts

New Orleans is a city unlike any other, and its wild and tragic history is just another facet of what makes it so amazing. If you’re interested in ghosts, vampires, voodoo, and other mediums of the supernatural, then New Orleans might have to be your next stop.
Bourbon St., French Quarter
Marlene and I immensely enjoyed our time there, and I can’t wait for my next adventure in this fantastical city.
Ed Hotchkiss
Ed Hotchkiss

My goal is to travel to all the countries of the world. I count 197 countries, starting with the United Nations list of 193 and adding Taiwan, Vatican, Kosovo and Palestine. For the rest of my life, I want to see and experience as much of the world as possible, while documenting it in photographs and observations.

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