Unidentified noises, chimerical figures, objects displaced or moved; 18% of Americans claim to have had some contact with ghosts in one way or another. With Louisiana’s plethora of plantations, cemeteries, and civil war sites, it’s well-known for being a destination for ghost tours and historical activities. Every year thousands of tourists visit Louisiana for a small sampling of the ghost stories emitting from its historic homes, buildings and burial sites. Nearly every old house claims at least one ghostly presence, and locals can’t even keep track of the number of hauntings occurring there.
Keep reading for our roundup of some of the most intriguing ghost stories, hauntings and paranormal activity found around the state of Louisiana.
Ghost believer or not, the oldest cemetery in the city is straight-up electric. It’s like winding through a maze of jumbled, crumbling above-ground tombs and crypts. It’s widely believed that Voodoo queen Marie Laveau’s remains are here.
America’s first licensed pharmacist practiced here and took joy in performing exploratory surgeries, especially on women. If the antique medical instruments aren’t disturbing enough, it’s been told that he haunts the 3rd floor, and employees say groans can be heard.
An 1834 house fire led to the discovery of slaves chained up in Madame Lalaurie’s torture chamber. Haunted or not, the creep level is high. The current owners admit to some weird events – body imprints in the bed, doors swinging shut, and faucets suddenly turning on.
On the site of a former slave market, the hotel is rumored to be haunted (as is just about every place in the Quarter).
The story goes that the Gardette-LaPrete mansion was rented out by a rich young Turk who moved in with his harem, throwing wild parties. Then a crazy mass slaying (was it pirates?!) occurred and the bodies were discovered after blood was trickling out from under the door. “The Sultan” was apparently buried alive in the backyard.
The chapel’s small side room in the St. Roch Cemetery is packed with prosthetics, braces, private notes, anatomical casts, creepy dolls, grimy stuffed animals and sometimes even locks of hair pinned to the wall — all left as tokens of thanks or offerings to St. Roch.
The ghosts at this upscale restaurant are some of the classiest you’ll find. Count Arnaud, himself, appears in the main dining room dressed in his tuxedo, surveying the guests and smiling at the energetic atmosphere. Meanwhile, guests have reported seeing a woman in a hat casually stroll through the dining room only to disappear into a wall, apparently seeking to ascend the staircase that was once there before the wall was added. Another group of well-dressed ghostly gentlemen enjoy themselves at the bar after hours. Aside from occasionally surprising waiters (and causing them to drop their trays), the spirits are friendly enough and simply add to the charm of this nearly 100-year-old establishment.
Cheneyville, Louisiana: The black sheep in his London-based family, the original owner of Loyd Hall Plantation brought his money stateside around 1820. He did well for himself until the Civil War, when his dealings as a double spy led to his hanging by Union soldiers. He was the first of several tragic deaths on the property, including a Union soldier deserter discovered in the attic and a slave nanny reputably poisoned. Their spirits didn’t pass on, however, and they show up to ring doorbells, move tableware and play the violin during a full moon. Tour guides are accustomed to these otherworldly beings, but bed and breakfast guests may be surprised by what they find.
Lake Charles, Louisiana: The beautiful and charming Toni Jo Henry had a sinister side that led her to murder a man in the 1940s. Over the course of her three trials, she became a town celebrity as many questioned her guilt, but in the end, she became the first female executed in the electric chair in Louisiana. She spent her time in a holding cell in the Calcasieu Courthouse and jail officers think Toni Jo still hangs around locking doors, turning on electronic filing systems and talking for night guards to hear.
New Orleans, Louisiana: Tales of twisted fates are retold through the generations at the Dauphine Orleans Hotel and it’s bar, May Bailey’s Place. Through sightings, paranormal research and documented letters, there seem to be four main characters who keep establishing their presence from beyond the grave. One of these frequent visitors is the Lost Bride ghost is believed to be the spirit of a young woman, Millie, who was working in May’s Place as a courtesan. Her groom-to-be was shot dead in a gambling dispute the morning of the wedding. According to accounts, Millie took to wearing her wedding gown around May’s Place and even after her death many years later, Millie still roams the Dauphine hopelessly waiting for her fiancé.
You could also cross paths with an apparition in the ballroom. A special ghost known as Jewel, the “Dancing Girl” is described as a young teen. Occasionally, guests who arrive late at the hotel after a night of revelry are sometimes in a befuddled state of mind, have described being helped to their guest room by a young girl dancing along without touching the ground.
Between the plethora of voodoo shops, ghost tours, and haunted locations, New Orleans is the perfect destination for paranormal sightings. So what are you waiting for?