New Orleans is a city known for its deep history, its spiritual traditions, and its long-standing love affair with mysticism and magic. When Halloween rolls around, historic New Orleans’ past comes out to play. Haunted sites abound in the French Quarter and elsewhere, waiting to be explored and experienced. Locals and tourists alike can catch a fright at one of these haunted sights!
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
Venture down Bourbon Street, a few blocks past the chintzy revelry, where the neon signs turn to wood. On the corner of Bourbon and St. Phillip stands one of the oldest historic structures in town. A brick-walled piano bar that reputedly was once a base of operations for the infamous pirate Jean Lafitte. Jean Lafitte led a gang of ruffians in smuggling, raiding, and privateering operations throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. It is said that his ghost can still be seen wandering the bar at night with a lit candle in his hand.
The truly chilling history of the LaLaurie Mansion makes it a must-see on any tour of historic New Orleans. The home was built for a wealthy doctor and his wife in 1832. One night, a fire erupted in the pantry. After volunteers quelled the flames, they found a hidden room where the LaLaurie’s tortured their slaves. After extensive renovation, the home is again a private residence, but it is common to see tour groups gazing up from the sidewalk at the supposedly haunted house.
The Jimani (Formerly UpStairs Lounge)
What is currently the Jimani on Chartres Street was once the UpStairs lounge, a notorious French Quarter gay bar in the 60s and 70s. According to history, a patron who was booted from the establishment in 1973 returned later in the evening and set fire to the building. Because of its upstairs location, the patrons were unable to escape. The fire damage was repaired and new businesses moved into the building in the heart of historic New Orleans, but some say that the building is still haunted by the former patrons.