Houmas House Ghosts (and The Bachelor TV Show)

A recent episode of the American TV series, The Bachelor, was filmed at Houmas House in Louisiana.

Ghost orbs at Houmas House (Louisiana)
Orbs hover at historic (and haunted) Houmas House, LA (This is my own photo, during my stay at the site.)

Many people have written to me, asking if that house is really “one of Louisiana’s most haunted houses.”

The answer is: yes, Houmas House is very haunted. More than most Louisiana “haunted” houses, and perhaps more than most houses in America.

In fact, I once recorded a lengthy podcast about Houmas House. I need to update before restoring it, online.

Until I do, this article should answer most questions.

Houmas House’s ghosts don’t bear much resemblance to the way they were presented in The Bachelor.

In fact, I strongly object to how Houmas House — and its spirits — were portrayed in that show.

My husband and I had the honor of spending a night inside Houmas House, thanks to the hospitality of its owner, Kevin Kelly.

He knew that I would thoroughly investigate the house, unsupervised. He also knew that I’d write a blunt and honest review of what I did (and didn’t) find there.

He put no limits on what I could explore, day or night. He was a superb host, and — after a tour to show us what was where, and explain some of the house’s history — he let us wander around the house & its grounds.

I was impressed.

Houmas House is haunted for many reasons

I believe the house is truly haunted, and the energy comes from multiple sources.

First, there’s the history of the house. That includes its connection to the creation of what’s often called the Confederate flag, from the War between the States.

The house has also been the scene of several tragedies, including the loss of a family cemetery that was washed away in the early 20th century.

Then, there’s the energy that’s been brought to the house by the public. I believe that public perception can energize otherwise dormant spiritual energy. (It’s sort of like the Law of Attraction. If you believe a place is creepy and haunted, maybe your beliefs & energy contribute to it.)

The movie “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte” left Houmas House with a lasting connection to ghosts, madness, and gruesome events.

Yes, that movie was filmed at Houmas House. If you saw The Bachelor episode, you may recognize the style of the staircase in the following movie trailer.

Next, I believe Houmas House contains a larger-than-average collection of haunted objects.

From quirky artwork to antique “vampire hunter” kits, to some of Anne Rice’s furniture, objects at Houmas House provide an energy mix you won’t find in many other haunts, anywhere in the world.

The other structures — small cabins, etc., that may (or may not) still be on the property — also provide reasons why the site is haunted. They have their own stories to tell. And, their energy lingers.

And finally, the location of Houmas House — near a large body of water, and where it’s placed on the road, in energy (or feng shui) terms — makes it a prime location for paranormal reports.

Some of the house’s eeriness can be attributed to infrasound from the nearby water. However, even if I discount the “creepy feeling” that seems to drift through Houmas House from time to time, infrasound can’t explain everything odd I experienced at the site.

During my visit to Houmas House, I saw several ghosts, mostly during the day.

The tall man at the front gate

In broad daylight on a sunny day, I saw a ghostly figure at the front gates. Another guest saw him, as well. We were up on the “widow’s walk” viewing deck at the top of the house.

The figure looked like a distinctive, slim, very tall man, pacing back and forth as if waiting for someone.

When I mentioned him to Kevin Kelly, he showed me an old photo. The dark-skinned man in the picture was an exact match for the slightly translucent person I’d seen at the front gates.

I had no doubt that it was the same person.

And, since I think I was the first person to report seeing that ghost, there’s no way Kevin was prepared to provide supporting evidence. (In fact, he had to go looking for the photo. When I confirmed what I’d seen, I think Kevin was more surprised than I was.)

The little girl on the stairs

Visitors and construction workers (making repairs and renovations) have reported a little girl on the house’s distinctive spiral staircase.

Kevin showed me one photo that I didn’t think was credible. But, I’ve heard and read other reports of the figure, and those were believable.

During my visit, I sensed something on the stairs, but I can’t claim that I saw a convincing apparition.

The ghost in the Bette Davis room

I believe that I saw a reflection of a reflection of a little girl in the room where actress Bette Davis had slept during the filming of Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

The reflection appeared on the glass front of a clock in that room.

I turned to see who was behind me. That’s when I saw the reflection of a little girl across the room. She was very small, no more than about five years old… maybe slightly older, if she was particularly petite.

She was there… and then she was gone. All I can tell you is that I had the idea that one of her arms was injured or even deformed. It’s as if she was concealing it.

As I recall, I saw her in a mirror in that room. But, I’ll need to find my notes (and my old photos from that visit) to confirm that.

Kevin didn’t seem to think that Bette Davis experienced anything unusual when she slept in that room.

However, any ghost with an ounce of sense would stay far away from Ms. Davis. She was known for being strong-willed and sharp-tongued. She would not willingly share her room with a ghost.

Those are the ghosts I clearly recall from my visit to Houmas House. (My husband and I slept soundly in a guest room on the top floor of the house. If that floor was haunted, the ghosts didn’t disturb me that night.)

The Bachelor TV show… and poor production decisions

The Houmas House episode of The Bachelor was embarrassing to watch.

From the start, I was skeptical when the ghostly little girl was given a name, “May.”

Perhaps someone has successfully documented the ghost’s identity, but the Houmas House website doesn’t suggest that.

Then, the doll that they showed in the glass case did not seem to fit the correct time period. (Also, the staging with “Boo” outside, saying that someone had disturbed the doll… it seemed added as an after-thought. It didn’t make much sense.)

When Houmas House’s lights suddenly went out, and then when the chandelier seemed to crash (almost) to the floor, I was ready to stop watching the show.

Those kinds of things don’t happen in most truly haunted houses. Most of the time, they’re staged for silly movies and TV shows.

My biggest complaint was related to the Ouija board scene.

Yes, the letters had been painted white. That doesn’t make the board any less dangerous.

There is no way I’d allow anyone to use a Ouija board at a haunted site, unless everyone involved knew exactly what the risks might be.

(I’m not saying that Ouija boards are inherently evil. My personal issue with Ouija boards is that too many people use them for “fun,” not realizing that some divination tools open doors. Once a door is opened, an unprotected person can be at risk.)

Ouija board issues

In the following YouTube video (actually, an audio with video added later), John Zaffis talks about his experiences with Zozo and Ouija boards.

(I’ve known John Zaffis for about 20 years, and I respect him. He’s very different from how he was portrayed on the Haunted Collector TV show. If I’d ever considered accepting a role on a ghost-related TV show… well, after seeing how they edited John, there’s no way I’d put my reputation in the hands of TV producers.)

Also, in this video, that silliness about Aleister Crowley using the Sun symbol as something evil, and other text & images added to the video…? Ignore them. I’m including this video only for John’s description of the Zozo phenomenon.

And, since I mentioned the weird, strange, and possibly haunted objects at Houmas House, here’s a video of John Zaffis sharing his views on that topic.

I don’t agree with him on all points, but I definitely defer to his greater experience in the field of dangerous haunted objects, and demon-like entities.

Houmas House is worth visiting

Despite my skepticism and irritation with how Houmas House was portrayed on The Bachelor, the site is definitely worth visiting.

That’s not just because you might encounter a ghost in broad daylight.

It’s also because the house is magnificent, it has a fascinating history, and it represents an era (and architecture) you rarely see so well-preserved, anywhere in the South.

[When I find my old notes & photos related to Houmas House’s ghosts, I’ll add them at this website. For now, this summary should explain why I believe the house is haunted… and why you shouldn’t judge it by what was shown on The Bachelor.]

[LA] – New Orleans – Brennan’s Restaurant – Ghostly Ecto?

Ecto-like image over Brennan's RestaurantWhen there’s a normal explanation for a photo, I want to find it.  Sometimes, I can’t discover a good explanation.  Not one that works for the setting and the circumstances, that is.

That’s the case with this July 2005 photo at Brennan’s Restaurant on Royal Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

I’ve written about Brennan’s Red Room ghosts.  The photo, above, is completely unedited.  I didn’t even lighten it.  The picture was taken in July 2005, about a month before Hurricane Katrina.

It was a clear night, drier than most July nights in Louisiana.  However, because it was July, I’m discounting the orbs near the light-colored area.  I’m focusing on the light area itself. (No light-related puns intended.)

It was too hot to be using a fireplace, and Brennan’s kitchen is in another part of the building and fully enclosed.  There was no mist above Brennan’s, so that’s not a reflection of the street lights.  In fact, we didn’t see anything unusual when I took this picture.  It was one of those ‘gut feeling’ photos… that innate, perhaps intuitive feeling that something would show up if I took a few pictures.

We were across the street from Brennan’s, so my flash was too far away to highlight the air above the restaurant.  There were no skylights or spotlights that night, either.

If the light area were caused by something natural, we should have seen this ecto-looking area ourselves.

So, I’m not sure what the light area is.  It’s almost directly above the room where, years ago, workmen in Brennan’s saw a terrifying face outside the window.  (Those burly workmen were so frightened, they ran down the stairs and broke out through the locked doors.  They never returned to Brennan’s.)

Sometimes, anomalies in photos are simply odd.  There may be an explanation for this picture, but we can’t be sure.  For every ‘normal’ explanation,  at least three of us can argue convincingly that the normal explanation doesn’t fit the time, location and conditions of the photo.

I’m reluctant to label this ‘ecto’, because it could be something else.  However, it’s the subtle kind of anomaly that’s easily overlooked when you’re expecting orbs, a vortex, or something more dramatic.

For many of us, the subtle anomalies can be more interesting than the obvious ones.

[LA] Myrtles Plantation – More ‘Ghost Orb’ Photo Tips

Ghost orb pictures are among the most popular evidence of hauntings, and orbs can be the easiest subjects for beginning ghost photographers.

Some people seem to attract ghost orbs more than others. We’ve known ghost hunters who never see orbs in their photos, but they get great EVP… and vice versa.

Those of us who do capture ghost orbs in pictures, also seem to bring home higher percentages of ghost orb photos each time. We don’t know if the ghosts have become more comfortable with us, or if we’re developing an innate sense of where the orbs are.

Some ghost researchers claim that one or two orb photos per hundred (using a film camera) is very good. In profoundly haunted locations, as many as 35% of my photos will include anomalous orbs.

However, at The Myrtles Plantation, several of us — mostly researcher Margaret Byl (of G.H.O.S.T.S.) and I — were taking photos outdoors, after dark. To our amazement, we saw no orbs in pictures where humidity should have produced them.

The photo, above (dark scene with white picket fence), was taken in back of The Myrtles Plantation, near the marshy land and pond. We expected at least a half dozen false (natural) orbs in this and other photos.

(I haven’t analyzed other patterns yet, such as images in the grass that may be significant.)

I’ve included this photo to show you that, even in a very haunted location, professional ghost hunters don’t always find great orbs or other anomalies in their photos.

INDOOR ORBS

Indoors, we’re cautious when an orb might be from a reflective surface. (That’s rare,* but it can happen. So, we err on the side of skepticism.)

At the right, you can see one of my few good orb photos taken at The Myrtles Plantation. (An enhanced close-up is shown on the left, below.)

That’s a broken piano at the entry to the most haunted wing of The Myrtles Plantation. We checked the piano carefully, and some of the keys are jammed so that the piano doesn’t work. In fact, it can’t.

We also examined it closely for microphones or other evidence of a hoax. It’s a real, broken piano with nothing added.

There’s no sound equipment anywhere in that wing, that could account for what we heard later that night.

During our visit, that piano started playing all by itself, around midnight. I’d heard the stories of the piano music, of course.  However, I was expecting something classical… a piece by Debussy or something.

Not even close.  It wasn’t a melody, but the “plink, plink, plink” of a small child tapping on the keys at the far right side of the keyboard.

The experience was eerie, but one of the less startling events of a dramatic night at The Myrtles Plantation.

We weren’t at all surprised to see an orb over the piano in several of our photos — taken from different directions — including this one.

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*For years, I was among the most skeptical voices regarding “ghost orbs.” Then, after several years’ intense study of orbs — with multiple cameras (film and digital) as well as many of the “usual suspects” including dust, pollen, insects, and moisture — I discovered that it’s very difficult to create a convincing (but fake) orb in photos.

Since then, I’ve been trying to undo the damage I caused by my early (199os and early 2000s) assertions.

[LA] New Orleans – French Quarter ghosts after Katrina

Pat O'Brien's in January 2006
Pat O’Brien’s in January 2006 – multiple orbs

My report from the French Quarter- January 2006

Ghosts have always been at home in New Orleans’ French Quarter. However, since Hurricane Katrina in mid-2005, hauntings have increased dramatically, though the French Quarter was barely touched by Katrina.

Despite the devastation in surrounding areas, the Quarter is an oasis. There weren’t as many tourists in January 2006 — largely because hotel rooms were being used by insurance adjustors, people associated with FEMA, and so on. However, the Quarter was just as welcoming as ever, and at least 80% of businesses reopened months ago. Day or night, it’s easy to forget that Katrina ever happened… except for the renewed paranormal energy in the French Quarter.

ORBS, ORBS… EVERYWHERE

In the past, I thought it was difficult to distinguish real orbs from those caused by New Orleans’ naturally high humidity, especially in the summer. Generally, I attributed most orbs to NOLA’s climate.

As of early 2006, I’m not sure what to think about the hundreds of orbs in French Quarter photos. The weather doesn’t explain them, even to the most hardened skeptic.

Tip: It’s still vital to take two photos in a row, at each site. Try not to move at all, even to breathe. (If you’re using a traditional-style camera and it’s near your face, it’s especially important not to exhale. That releases humidity by the lens.)

  • If the orbs are from normal causes, orbs will appear in both photos, usually in the same locations, and be fairly similar in size, shape, color, and density.
  • If the orbs are paranormal, you may see orbs in one photo but not in the other one. The photos will be dramatically different.

PAT O’BRIEN’S

Above, my photo of Pat O’Brien’s shows many orbs.

Before Katrina, we routinely saw two or three orbs in a “good” photo.

  • Pat O’Brien’s is known for a haunted ladies’ room, an “eerie feeling” on the third floor, and unearthly footsteps wandering around the attic.
  • A happy, inebriated visitor–dressed in slightly old-fashioned clothing–appears and disappears just outside the front door of this popular bar. You won’t realize that it’s a ghost until it vanishes.

This is one of many haunted sites that is more wonderfully eerie now.

RELIABLE HAUNTS

Before Hurricane Katrina, the French Quarter was generally, mildly haunted. There were a few locations — such as the Hotel Monteleone and Brennan’s famous restaurant — which were more reliable “haunts” than others.

However, since Katrina, the Quarter’s ghosts have much more energy, and it’s easier to identify truly haunted locations.

For example: like many professional ghost hunters, I was skeptical about the Lalaurie Mansion. Of course, its “ghost” folklore is part of New Orleans’ rich history.

Since Katrina, the Mansion seems more clearly not haunted now. that’s especially true if you compare it with very evident ghosts at the nearby Ursulines convent, the Beauregard-Keyes House, and so on.

GHOST TOURS

0106-unk1During our January visit, we enjoyed Haunted History’s evening ghost tour. This is one tour that is so well-respected and popular, it has remained in business while many other tours folded.

Haunted History’s guides mix fun, folklore, and carefully-researched history in a two+ hour tour featuring well-known and little-known ghosts in the French Quarter. (Visit Haunted History Tours‘ website.)

The photo (above, right) is one of over a hundred orb photos that I took during one of their January 2006 ghost tours.

A MUST-VISIT FOR GHOST HUNTERS

In general, the French Quarter is more vividly haunted than I’ve ever seen it in the past. And, with fewer tourists right now, there’s less psychic “noise” to camouflage the energy from both active and residual energy hauntings.

I don’t know how long these ideal conditions will continue. If you’re a ghost hunter, I recommend visiting the French Quarter as soon as possible. It’s a remarkable opportunity to witness rich, genuine hauntings in America’s most haunted city.

[LA] New Orleans Ghosts – January 2006

My New Orleans report – January 2006

Are there more ghosts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina?

I’m not sure if the ghost population has increased, but evidence of ghosts certainly has.

My trip to Louisiana in late January 2006 was different from what I’d expected.  It wasn’t my only visit to New Orleans after Katrina, but it was one of the most surprising.

I thought most of the city would be cleaned up by January. It wasn’t.

The French Quarter is a little quieter, but generally the same as always. More unexplained orbs in photos, and more psychic eeriness, but… well, it’s the French Quarter. Ghost hunters expect it to be haunted.

By contrast, the city of New Orleans was hit far harder than I’d anticipated, and the clean-up had barely begun.

METAIRIE CEMETERIES

Metairie cemetery after KatrinaDriving in to New Orleans, there is evidence of wind and water damage, but it generally looks fairly normal from I-10. Once you get off the highway at Metairie, things change in a hurry.

Greenwood Cemetery — shown at right — looks the same as always, with minimal damage.

If I didn’t know that a hurricane and flooding had occurred there, I’d say that nothing was different.

Being very familiar with Greenwood, I saw only minor signs of damage, mostly slightly displaced headstones.  The crypts were built to last, and so they did.

Cypress Grove cemetery, Metairie, after Katrina
Boarded-up crypt at Cypress Grove Cemetery

Nearby Cypress Grove Cemetery — shown at left — has always been a bit less tidy, and there’s far more evidence of flooding.

As seen in the photo, some of the brickwork on the crypts is being repaired. When I visited, three workmen were busy improving the cemetery.

Of course, I’ve always referred to Cypress Grove Cemetery in “Fall of the House of Usher” terms. It’s less tidy than Greenwood, and — in my opinion — it has a more personal character.

Generally, I like it there.

I’ve also seen odd, huge canine footprints in the mud at Cypress Grove, suggesting that something very unusual and perhaps paranormal — not a ghost — has walked there.

I’m not sure if the crypts at the Metairie cemeteries were responsible for the “floating coffins.” According to the concierge at one French Quarter hotel, tents were set up after Katrina’s waters receded. Coffins had floated loose, and were stored in tents, waiting to be identified and replaced in the cemeteries.

The tents are gone now, or at least moved away from public view. Except for the kind of obvious damage shown in my photo (above), there’s no way to guess how many graves had serious problems.

NEW ORLEANS’ NEIGHBORHOODS

devastation after KatrinaDuring late winter 2006, driving around New Orleans seemed positive apocalyptic. No electricity in many neighborhoods meant no traffic lights. Some streets were still covered with shards of glass… and whatever else was not scooped up by backhoes that cleared the rubble off the major roads.

If you want to see the massive devastation from the hurricane and its aftermath, take a tour bus from the French Quarter. (As I’m updating this article in early 2016, you can still tour areas left devastated by Katrina. Gray Lines is one of many excellent — and safe — ways to venture into those areas.)

In my photo (above, right), you can see one of the better (less damaged) homes.

Most buildings have a clear water line, inside and out. That’s not the highest level that the water reached, but where the water sat for the longest amount of time, after Hurricane Katrina.

These houses may look okay at first glance, but the wood has rotted. Many homes will have to be torn down and rebuilt. And, in other neighborhoods, all that’s left is rubble… massive piles of soggy wood, broken furniture, and mildewed belongings too black to identify. Oddly, the odor wasn’t too bad when I was there in 2006.

When I drove around in January 2006, I saw a frightening level of desperation among those left homeless. Whenever a Red Cross truck announced over a loudspeaker that they had free free meals and water, people stumbled out, as if from nowhere.

At the time, all I could think was “Night of the Living Dead.”

There will be active and residual energy hauntings throughout New Orleans for many years to come.

At this point, it’s too early to tell how severe the hauntings will be, but even during the daytime, there’s very eerie energy in these New Orleans neighborhoods.

By contrast, the French Quarter looked almost the same as it did before Katrina, with almost no damage. And, it is far more haunted than before. See my next article, French Quarter ghosts after Katrina

[LA] New Orleans – Jackson Square Ghosts

Many cities have a “power center,” where major buildings have always been built, and significant historical events took place.

New Orleans' French Quarter cathedral
New Orleans’ French Quarter cathedral

In New Orleans, that place is Jackson Square. From the haunted Cathedral and Presbytere, to Pirates Alley and the ghost of Jean Lafitte, as well as the eerie spirits at Le Petit Theatre, this two-block area has over a dozen documented hauntings.

Jackson Square was the site of an early prison, in addition to several executions.

It was also home to an early New Orleans church, destroyed by a fire.

The park’s ghosts manifest as figures, floating lights, fragrances, and even the somber chanting of the “Kyrie” by the spirit of an 18th-century priest.

When I was in New Orleans in July 2005 (shortly before Hurricane Katrina), Jackson Square was a focal point of my ghost research, with very good results.

Below, you can see one of my best digital pictures; one copy is enhanced.

nola-jackson-square-1 Jackson Square ghost orbs

The copy on the left is exactly as I took it, looking through the Jackson Square gates at Decatur Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

On the right, I’ve adjusted the contrast to suggest (faintly) the statue in the center of Jackson Square, and the haunted cathedral behind it. (That’s the same cathedral as the one in the photo near the top of this article.)

There were no colored lights to cause the red and blue orbs on the right. Do those colored shapes represent the uniforms of the soldiers who were once stationed in buildings at this spot?

These vivid spheres of color appeared in several photos that we took over about ten minutes, along with the more classic “ectoplasm” shapes.

For those who insist those orbs are from high humidity: see my photo near the top of this page. That’s a flash photo taken nearby, with the same camera, in even more humid conditions. As you can see, that photo had no orbs.

I knew that I’d get some great evidence of hauntings at this park… just not this good.

In addition to Jackson Square’s many ghost stories, there is something especially odd about the gate where we took our photos.

Even with dozens of tourists passing, you’re likely to feel surrounded by an eerie silence at Jackson Square. For all its beauty and popularity, Jackson Square seems too quiet.

If you visit New Orleans’ famous French Quarter, I highly recommend an evening visit to the Decatur Street side of Jackson Square.

If your photos are like mine and others’, you’ll be very pleased with the results.

[LA] New Orleans – Brennan’s Red Room Ghosts

Brennan's red roomBrennan’s Restaurant on Royal Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter is well respected as a world-class restaurant. “Breakfast at Brennan’s” has become a Louisiana tradition for visitors as well as locals who enjoy fabulous food in a relaxed but elegant setting.

Upstairs at Brennan’s, the Red Room is famous for its ghosts.

According to a legend dating to the 18th century, Monsieur Lefleur calmly went out one morning and arranged for three funerals. Upon returning home, he killed his wife and his son before hanging himself from the sturdy chandelier in the center of the Red Room.

Portraits of the three decorate the walls of that room.

It’s unclear if M. Lefleur’s ghost is among the spirits at Brennan’s charming restaurant, or if the Red Room is haunted by the ghosts of the murder victims, Mme Lefleur and her son.

Day or night, you can feel a “cold spot” over the lovely fireplace in the Red Room, using just your hands. (Before you decide you’ve felt a “cold spot,” make sure it’s not a downdraft from the chimney. If it’s a chilly day or evening, ask if the flue is open.)

In addition to the cold spot, the portrait of M. Lefleur seems to change expression every time you glance at it. I took several photos of the portrait, but as M. Lefleur’s smile changed to a sinister grimace, my camera had problems and the pictures turned murky.

Below, you can see a series of my photos taken one evening in July 2005. I had to increase the contrast on the right two so that the face could be seen online. Other than that, I did not alter them at all. They are all the same portrait.

M. LeFleur brennans-face2brennans-face4

 

Yes, this is one of those “either you see it or you don’t” set of images. Not everyone will see the changes between the pictures. Some will blame it on the lighting. (It also helps if you’ve seen the portrait in real life, so you know have a frame of reference for these photos… no pun intended.)

As I watched, Monsieur Lefleur’s face seemed to change from posed to vulnerable (or perhaps younger), and then a troubled grimace tightened his lips. It turned slightly sneering, and slightly distasteful. Finally, he looked anguished or perhaps angry… even sinister.

If you dine at Brennan’s — which I highly recommend — and have an opportunity to visit the Red Room, keep checking the portrait of M. Lefleur and see if his expression changes.

The painting’s transformation isn’t as dramatic as the special effects at Disney’s “Haunted Mansion” attraction, but I wonder if Brennan’s painting inspired Disney’s imagineers.

(If the Red Room isn’t in use, Brennan’s staff may allow visitors upstairs to see if the Red Room is active with ghosts.  The room is usually haunted, but even ghosts take a break now & then.)

Brennan’s is among New Orleans’ most haunted sites, and M. Lefleur isn’t its only spirit. The restaurant is haunted by a dedicated former chef, as well as an old woman who paces the corridor outside the Red Room.

Brennan’s serves some of the best food in the world. If you want to splurge on one elegant meal while you’re in New Orleans, Brennan’s is the place to go.

(When you’re there, you may see movie stars a adjoining tables. Be discreet. Don’t stare or ask for autographs. Just enjoy your meal… and the restaurant’s ghosts.)

Brennan’s Restaurant, 417 Royal Street — in the French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana. Phone (504) 525-9711. http://www.brennansneworleans.com/

Brennan’s Red Room and exterior photos are courtesy of Brennan’s Restaurant (c)2005. The three photos of the Lefleur portrait are (c)2005 Fiona Broome.

The changing facial expressions are courtesy of Monsieur Lefleur’s ghost, New Orleans, Louisiana.

[LA] New Orleans – ‘Voodoo Queen’ Marie Laveau’s House?

These photos were taken during an April 2005 ghost tour of New Orleans’ French Quarter.  This was a time when the Quarter seemed especially spiritually active, a few months before Hurricane Katrina changed everything.

I can recall walking up to an artist just outside the cathedral, and telling her to be prepared to move on short notice.

I explained that I “saw” the image of her being in something like a washing machine, being agitated in the water, and needing to get out before the spin dry cycle.  I also told her that I felt certain she was going to be okay, but she’d have to get out.

At the time, I had no idea how prophetic that was.  Honestly…?  I thought the imagery was symbolic.

The night I took the following photos, we’d signed up for one of the many wonderful (and sometimes theatrical) ghost tours of the French Quarter.  On this residential street, the guide explained we were looking at a house that had belonged to the famous Voodoo (or Voudoun/Vodun) queen, Marie Laveau.

I took a few photos.  Arrows point to some of the orbs that seemed most credible to me, as I analyzed the pictures.

 

 

This photo was taken on a cool, dry evening in New Orleans  at about 9:30 at night.

The orbs could be humidity or a reflection, but I don’t think so.  There’s a certain feeling you get with some ghost photos… and this was one of them.

It had the look of an eerie home of a famous woman whose stories still provide New Orleans with color.  I can understand why the tour guide wanted us to believe it was Marie Laveau’s former residence.

The house may be haunted, but it’s probably not one of Marie Laveau’s homes.  I’ve researched the addresses associated with both Marie Laveau I and II, and I couldn’t find any connection to this house.

When you take any ghost tour (or vampire tour, etc.) in New Orleans, it’s important to keep your critical thinking skills engaged.  Some of the biggest legends — such as Marie Laveau and Madame Lalaurie — have become a little lost in the fictional tales built around them.

Nevertheless, this house is charming to look at, and it gave me a slight chill as if something paranormal could be associated with it.

Or, maybe the storytelling abilities of our guide were so good, I was looking for a “good scare” when what I really saw was a wonderful, historical home.

[LA] New Orleans – Gov. Nicholls St. Ghosts

If you take a “ghost tour” of New Orleans’ French Quarter, pay attention to your innate psychic intuition, or your gut feeling. That’s what we did during an April 2005 visit to America’s most haunted city.

 

 

nola-715gn-2
Film photo at Gov. Nicholls’ Street.

 

 

new-orleans-715gn
Digital photo – same location, same night, same time.

 

I’d seen the infamous LaLaurie Mansion on Gov. Nicholls Street; my photos showed very little paranormal activity there. In fact, I saw very few orbs in most of my ghost pictures that evening.

Further up Governor Nicholls Street, while the other tourists were taking photos of a house connected with President Kennedy’s assassination, I turned my cameras (two of them — one film, one digital) towards a home across the street.

This home is a private residence, which means that you should not intrude on the owners’ privacy. It’s also a site where we see more orbs in digital and film photos than many of the “haunted” sites on the tour.

The history of this home suggests that it was built in 1834 by Gabriel Correjolles, who had moved to New Orleans from St. Domingue (now Haiti).

Correjolles plaque
Correjolles’ son, Francisco, also has a connection to another haunted houses.

In 1826, he designed the Beauregard-Keyes House at 1113 Chartres Street, which is one of New Orleans’ most famous haunted houses.

I’m not sure why this house on Gov. Nicholls Street seems so haunted, and I hope that ghost hunters will not disturb the owners of this home.

However, if you’re on a New Orleans “ghost tour,” try taking photos when your intuition tells you to. Your pictures may be as surprising as mine were. I can see at least a dozen orbs in every photo that I took at this house, although these pictures don’t reproduce well online.

And, for the skeptics: None of the orbs are the moon or a reflection of it. It was not a humid night; most of my photos show few — if any — orbs, even just a few feet away from this house.

While there were probably a few insects in the air, we didn’t see any. These orbs were all too far away to be dust or pollen, especially in the digital pictures, and it was too warm for anyone to use a fireplace.

Like many cities, New Orleans can surprise even seasoned ghost hunters. The ghosts may be where you least expect them. Follow your intuition, your instincts, and your “gut feelings.”