New Orleans, also known as the Big Easy, is a historically rich and incredibly unique pocket of the United States. Walking on the pebbled and uneven streets with the familiar sounds of jazz in the Mississippi River air, you’ll be hard pressed to find a similar city in the world. It has a lot going for it in terms of tourism, being the mecca for the annual Mardi Gras celebrations, renowned for its exuberant party atmosphere on Bourbon Street, fine French cuisine and according to New Orleans Ghost Adventures Tours; a connection to the underworld.
Yes, you read that right. While there are always those who deny the afterlife and its possibilities – it seems with New Orleans – there is a certain fog of supernatural that is cast across the stories and legends that bleed into the boardwalks. It’s not too surprising, considering the city was founded over 300 years ago, any town standing through time is bound to have its share of legends.
Maybe it’s the backdrop of the port city, or the irreplaceable vibe that resides in the twisted alleyways, either way, there are a few myths and a lot of truth to be found in the haunted history of the city.
Ghosts & Legends
You’ll find no end of people claiming to have seen ghosts and demons in the various haunts of New Orleans, stories of glasses flying off shelves in local saloons, or of ghostly figures appearing in windows of long abandoned houses.
The stories are more common than you may think, some have claimed it’s the voodoo influence, or witches and curses. While we are not here to disparage the beliefs that the supernatural could very well exist, there are some tales that are twistedly true and more horrifying than any tall tale.
Some have dubbed New Orleans the city of death after all, due to the Yellow Fever Epidemic of the 1800’s. The wave of disease spread through the city like wildfire, becoming an unstoppable force of death and decay on the city streets. The gruesome ways the deaths would occur only fed further into the legends that plagued the streets. There are reports of the various graveyards that reside around the city, ghost sightings of various sufferers of the illness wandering through the gravesites.
This is all hearsay of course – and yet – not many who laugh at the notion are so eager to spend the night in one.
While legends are well and good, there are tales that are more haunting, since they actually occurred.
A True Nightmare
The LaLaurie Mansion: New Orleans’ Most Infamous Tyrant
Many have heard the twisted tale of the LaLaurie Mansion, it’s easily one of New Orleans’ most famous haunts, for a very good reason. Said to be owned by Delphine LaLaurie, the mansion at 1140 Royal Street was the gruesome and torturous home to a depraved and incredibly brutal scene. After a fire was started in the home on April 10 1834, residents in the area came to assist with the extinguishing much to the chagrin of Ms. LaLaurie.
Upon hearing moans from the attic, the residents went up to find what can only be described as a horror movie come to life, with sickening displays of cruelty and torture on her slaves, there was no truer definition of the word massacre, than what was found in the attic. Needless to say, the displays found led to her to become known as New Orleans’ ‘Savage Mistress’. She fled the angered mob and spent the rest of her days in denial, hiding out in Paris.
In the long and ubiquitous history of New Orleans, there have been few more infamous and twisted than the LaLaurie Mansion, the home has been passed through several owners throughout time, with very few daring to spend the night there. Nicholas Cage even purchased the house back in 2007.
Believe It or Not
As it happens, there are many legends and stories from the rich and contested history of the Big Easy. There are always going to be stories that will be believed by some and not by others. There will also be those who favor the pull of the supernatural.
Whether you believe it or not, there is a very dark and twisted history lying beneath the incredibly unique and macabrely beautiful streets of New Orleans. It will continue to be one of the most tragically beautiful cities in the world, and a force unto itself. The next time you’re in the great state of Louisiana, pop by and see for yourself.