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Hauntings Today Tour

We went on the "Hauntings Today" tour in March of 1997. It has since folded up tents and moved to the west coast in search of other ghosts, but it was a very interesting couple of hours. There are now several ghost tours in the French Quarter, and we will hopefully be taking them one of these days, but these are the experiences from our walking tour back in 1997.

Maxwell's Jazz Cabaret

Just up from the street from the "Hauntings Today" office at 615 Toulouse Street, this theater served as a speakeasy during prohibition. During that time, the front lobby was a veterinary hospital to hide the club within. Today, the waitstaff reports that there are several distinct entities present in the club: a gangster whose business figured prominently in the cabaret, a lady in a white dress that sometimes appears, and a musician who apparently died in the place.

This is worth a visit simply for some of the most exciting jazz in the French Quarter, but while you're there, look for a few unearthly visitors that might be there with you.

The Bourbon Orleans Hotel

This luxurious hotel was once two separate institutions: a convent and an orphanage. They were combined into a hotel where masquerade and Mardi Gras balls were held as early as 1823. Although unsubstantiated, there are rumors that this was also the site of the New Orleans "Quadroon Balls". Several spirits are said to haunt the hotel today, though - a confederate soldier, a young woman, a military man or pirate, and a nun. These entities are seen throughout the hotel, from the hallways to the suites to the individual rooms.

During our visit, our guide had just gotten into the history of the property when Tami's head began to hurt suddenly. She later described it as a dull pain in the back part of her head, and at the time she started rubbing it. The guide noticed it, appeared very curious, and asked if anything was wrong. She told him that her head had just started hurting, when the lady sitting next to her on the couch looked surprised and said "mine too - kind of in the back". The guide told us that several people on other tours had reported the same thing on the same couch that they were sitting on - Tami and the other lady both stood up quickly, and their headaches faded. Tami eventually sat back down on the couch, with no other ill effects. It was spooky.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

This shop located at 514 Chartres Street was erected in 1823 by proprietor Dr. Louis Joseph Duffulo, Jr., who was one of the first registered pharmacists in the United States. The business changed hands in 1857, when Duffulo sold it to Dr. Joseph Dupas, a Civil War physician and apothecary. There are many terrible stories about Dr. Dupas, not the least of which being that he carried out unspeakable experiments on pregnant slaves. Dr. Dupas died in 1867 from syphilis.

The spirit that is said to haunt this building is of Dupas himself, who has been sighted numerous times on the stairway to the second floor. He has given the staff and visitors gentle pushes as they climbed, and has moved around the items in the display cases. Many people experience shortness of breath, nausea and discomfort when he is present. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to this.

Saint Louis Cathedral

The white building on the right of this photo is the tri-spired cathedral that appears in many New Orleans promotional photos. It is the country's oldest active cathedral, but is actually the third to stand on this particular site. There are two ghosts associated with this property: the first is that of a priest who seems to linger at the front alter. He does not acknowledge anyone else, and simply stands there.

The other is in the cemetery at the rear of the church, where a priest has been spotted in the wee hours of the morning. Is it the same priest? Who knows - there seems to be a spectral presence at the Saint Louse, however.

Chart House Restaurant

The Chart House has the distinction of being one of occupying one of the oldest buildings in the French Quarter. In its illustrious history, the building has housed a school, a private residence and even a spaghetti factory. The group was invited to stand at the bottom of the staircase, and many people felt an unseen presence, although it couldn't be readily identified. Our guide told us that over the years, people have seen the ghostly shape of a man dressed in 1800's clothes. Maybe it was he that touched many people in the group.

Andrew Jackson Hotel

We stopped in at the Andrew Jackson Hotel, which was currently under investigation by the Hauntings Today staff. Our guide took us to the courtyard, and informed us that we would have about fifteen minutes to wander around and note anything strange that we felt. The two of us split up, going our own way. When we met back up at one of the courtyard tables, we started comparing notes and found something chilling.

Both of us had noted that as we passed room 207 upstairs, we had a very strange sensation that there was a presence there - it was hard to explain. The best that we could come up with was that it gave us the sensation that we weren't alone in front of that room, even though we had independently walked past there.

Another strange occurrence was on one of the staircase landings. Again, we had both noted the same thing, independently, at different times. It was the distinct feeling of being watched, as if you weren't on the landing alone.

Our guide then regrouped everyone and told us that the hotel had originally been an orphanage. Guests often reported the laughter of children in the hallways, even though it is currently an adults-only hotel. It was very strange, and we left the Andrew Jackson with the feeling that we'd had an encounter with the supernatural.

About five years later we heard a story about the hotel. A child known only as "Armond" reportedly haunts room 208 in the hotel. Depending on the tale that you hear, he was either thrown from the second-floor balcony, or jumped to commit suicide. Armond has been known to wake people up with giggling, whimpering, and so forth. He has even pushed people out of bed, touched them in the night, and so forth.

The LaLaurie House

This is a private building, but we paused outside to hear a story of what once took place inside. This house that was once owned by Dr. and Mrs. LaLaurie in the early 1800's, and they were famous for the outlandish parties that they threw. It is said that there was a darker side to the doctor, however. In the upstairs rooms, he reportedly practiced horrific medical experiments upon the servants. Many were chained to the walls, or kept in cages while Dr. LaLaurie worked on them. A cook finally set fire to the kitchen to end the madness, and when the townspeople rushed into the home to help, the terrible secrets were discovered. One poor servant's bones had been broken and re-set so that he resembled more of a spider than a human.

The legend of the house is that the spirits of the slaves who died here so violently still haunt the house. Passersby have even witnessed the figure of a girl jumping from an upstairs balcony to escape the doctor's madness.

This was probably one of the most interesting ghost walks that we've been on, and when it was over, they issued everyone a little certificate of completion. Sure, that part was a little cheesy, but it was fun after the night of ghost-hunting that we'd had.

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