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If you ask a majority of New Orleanians, the Big Easy is one of the most haunted destination in America; a place where the dead -- or undead -- refuse to rest. Famous for its practitioners of the mystical arts, voodoo, self-professed vampires and Wiccans, NOLA tantalizes travelers with a long history of stories about things that go bump in the night.
Following, we've compiled a list of six of New Orleans' most famously haunted hotels. If spending the night surrounded by ghosts is your group's idea of a good time, the following properties fit the bill.
- 833 Poydras Street, (504) 581-3111
- Meeting space: 6,871 square feet
- Year built: 1907
At the turn of the nineteenth century, the land where Le Pavillon sits today (near the French Quarter and New Orleans' Central Business District) was deemed inhospitable and dangerous, according to an account by Ghost City Tours. And when the 226-room hotel opened in 1907, it quickly became evident that several of the spirits left over from the neighborhood's murderous past decided to extend their stay.
Over the years, one paranormal investigating team cited catching nearly 100 undead entities roaming the property throughout the night. "Some say the reason the hotel is so haunted is because it sits on a portal to a parallel universe," explains Maria Pinheiro, media director, Ghost City Tours. "There's no other explanation, paranormal investigators have said, for counting so many different spirits within a hotel's walls."
Haunted Rooms reports that guests, staff and investigators have come into contact with ghostly figures that stand at the foot of their beds. Legend has it that bed sheets are often tugged off of guests while they sleep and that strange and unexplained noises are often heard. Guests have also detailed odd occurrences such as their shower heads turning on and off in the middle of the evening.
Pinheiro says one particular guest reported seeing a gray-haired woman appear before his eyes. The ghostly apparition allegedly sat on his bed, touched him with cold hands and said she'd never let him go before vanishing in plain sight.
Unlike some haunted hotels in the city, Le Pavillon truly embraces its paranormal guests. Upon arrival, travelers can obtain a pamphlet detailing the hotel's haunted history, specifically a paranormal investigation that was conducted in 1996 by parapsychologist Dr. Larry Montz. Groups looking for that "something extra" to happen during their visit can request staying in one of the hotel's more haunted rooms.
Hotel Monteleone is one of the last family-owned and -operated hotels in New Orleans. Built in 1886, the property has been maintained by more than five generations of its namesake family.
According to the hotel's website, guests and staff at the 570-room property have reported experiencing haunted events for years. The hotel has a restaurant door that reportedly opens almost every evening and then closes again despite it being locked, an elevator that stops on the wrong floor and a hallway that grows chilly and reveals ghostly images of children playing when guests walk along it.
In 2003, the International Society of Paranormal Research spent several days at the Monteleone. While visiting, the team supposedly made contact with several entities, among them former employee William Wildemere, who died on-site of natural causes. Another spirit is that of a friendly toddler named Maurice Begere. According to the hotel's own lore, the boy died in the hotel, and his distraught parents returned frequently in hopes he might visit them. To this day, guests frequently recount seeing Begere near the room where he passed away.
Historic Hotels of America also says that a maid known as Mrs. Clean visits guests often. Paranormal researchers reportedly once asked why she stays at the property even though she is dead, and the maid -- whose mother, grandmother and great-grandmother also worked there -- responded that she was picking up after housekeeping to ensure high standards.
- 717 Orleans Street, (504) 523-2222
- Meeting space: 5,788 square feet
- Year built: 1815
Ranked as one of USA Today's Top Haunted Hotels in the nation, the 252-room Bourbon Orleans has a rich history of all things that go bump in the night. Prior to the hotel's existence, the site was home to the historic Orleans Ballroom and Theater. Later in the 1800s, it was converted into a convent. According to the property's website, ghosts who currently roam the halls and rooms of Bourbon Orleans lived during many different eras of the building's history.
Many patrons report seeing a man dressed in Confederate army garb on the sixth and third floors. Others often mention their run-ins with children and nuns, the most common encounter with a little girl seen rolling her ball and chasing it down the hallway of the sixth floor. "Yellow fever struck New Orleans when the building served as a convent and orphanage," recounts the property site. "The ghost children and female apparitions found at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel are most likely from the era of the Sisters of the Holy Family's convent, girls' school, medical ward and orphanage."
The hotel's current Orleans Ballroom is also alleged to be home to a ghost dancer, frequently seen frolicking by her lonesome underneath the ballroom's crystal chandelier. Several reports also note a person hiding behind the draperies in the ballroom, though upon investigation, no one is actually there.
Guests staying at the Bourbon Orleans are invited to take advantage of the property's private haunted history tours and receptions led by licensed tour guide John Fitzpatrick.
- 621 St Louis Street, (504) 529-5333
- Meeting space: 14,000 square feet
- Year built: 1960
The luxury French Quarter hotel (pictured above) features fine dining, art, ample meeting space, antique stores, 345 guest rooms and a variety of ghosts -- most of which, luckily, have been described as friendly.
Quadroon balls (held to encourage mixed-race women to form liaisons with wealthy white men) were once a common occurrence in the Omni's ballroom, and later, other parts of the hotel became a convent, according to a report by Trip Savvy. In recent times, a man working alone on a stairwell allegedly said an obscene word and immediately felt a slap on his face (an outraged nun, perhaps?).
Other ghosts include a young, quadroon ball-era man who likes to plant other-worldly kisses on ladies who suit his fancy. A Confederate soldier with a weapon is often seen on the seventh floor and there are reports of several childlike spirits that enjoy cozying up to the guests. More tales recall the ghost of an 18th century maid that enjoys tucking the hotel guests into their beds at night. She's also been known to randomly flush the toilet and run the bath.
Some reports note that lights are likely to inexplicably turn on in the middle of the night. They also allege some spirits will develop a liking for some guests and follow them around the property.
- 17 Dauphine Street, (504) 586-1800
- Meeting space: 5,100 square feet
- Year built: 1968
Since 1775, the 111-room Dauphine Orleans Hotel site and its buildings have changed hands numerous times — which explains why the property's haunting inhabitants range from Civil War soldiers to well-dressed "ladies of the night."
Beginning in the mid-1800s and through the early 1900s, a well-known bordello called May Baily's operated on this site, within the infamous red-light district where prostitution was legal for a brief period. Today, the hotel bar is known as May Baily's Place, with murals from that original establishment still intact. According to the property's website, ghost hunters have concluded that at least one of the working girls of May's brothel still haunts the area. Identified from old letters, she was supposedly a courtesan who specialized in mixing cocktails for her gentleman callers. Her presence is often felt when liquor bottles along the back bar are found rearranged or when a faint female shadow is seen in the mirror.
Additionally, travelers and staff alike have reported multiple sightings of a Creole soldier wearing a military uniform and wandering the property. Another often-seen ghost is a whimsical and slightly disturbed woman who enjoys dancing around the hotel's courtyard. Many believe she also once worked at the brothel.
- 1003 Bourbon Street, (504) 581-2678
- Year built: 1849
The four-story, 14-room guest house on Bourbon Street features an intimate courtyard, fine art gallery and space for group events of up to 100. It also features some ghostly thrills of its own, with items being known to move around the guest rooms. Guests often report things like brushes being moved from a table to a chair or a notepad from a nightstand to a desk. Legend has it that the daughter of the building's original owner fell down the staircase and died in the 1800s, but that her spirit still lives in the house. Her ghostly image is often seen roaming the second floor hallway.