Free Self-Guided Ghosts of the French Quarter Walking Tour
Starting Point: St. Louis Cathedral, 615 Pere Antoine Alley, New Orleans, LA 70116
Ending Point: Drink spot of your choice
Total Distance: About half a mile
Time Required: 2-3 hours
Best Time to Go: All ghost tours are better at night. We suggest starting late in the evening, just before dark.
Where can you go for ghosts, pirates, vampires, Voodoo, and otherworldly locations all in one spot?
Since you found this page, you know the answer: The French Quarter of New Orleans.
Sure, you’ll find incredible food, architecture, and other things to do in the French Quarter, but there’s so much more to see (or not see) here. What better way to uncover the city’s haunted history than to take a self-guided ghost tour handcrafted by your local experts at Nola Tour Guy?
We’ve put together this self-guided walking tour of all the best ghosts and hauntings in the Quarter just for you.
Strap on your best set of paranormal goggles, and get ready to get ghostly at your own pace! Here’s your ghost tour of The French Quarter-
Tip: Have the tour leader dress up spooky for added effect. Get the whole group to dress up for bonus points (and fun). If it’s not Halloween, don’t worry- everyone is accepted in the Quarter, and wearing a full-on costume in August isn’t unheard of.
Why is the French Quarter so Haunted?
here’s a reason that New Orleans is the unofficial most haunted city in the country…Actually, there are several reasons, and The French Quarter is at the center of all of them.
Here’s why The French Quarter is so haunted-
Indian Land. The land on which the French Quarter stands is much older than the Quarter itself. Jackson Square has been a meeting point since seemingly the dawn of time. Native Americans have occupied Bayou Saint John and the surrounding bayous for thousands of years.
Slavery. Like much of the South, Louisiana was once a state fueled by the labor and abuse of enslaved people. Such a dark history leaves behind many ghosts, spirits, and imprinted anger. Today, you can tour plantations near the Quarter or look for the sometimes hidden history of slavery in the Quarter itself.
Pirates. As a great port city, New Orleans is naturally a great pirate city. Famous law-breaking pirates like Jean Lafitte have significant roles in US history, and Lafitte, in particular, has a street and a bar named after him. Of course, where there are pirates, illegal drugs, prostitutes, bootlegged wares, and even murder often follow.
Voodoo. You’ve no doubt heard of the famous Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. But did you know that Voodoo is also an actively practiced religion with roots specific to the New Orleans French Quarter? In the streets of The Quarter, Voodoo lives.
Ghosts. The sheer age of The Quarter means that many people’s lives have started and ended here: ghosts are inevitable.
Cemeteries. Mark Twain once called New Orleans cemeteries “cities of the dead,” and it’s easy to see why: old above-ground tombs, some extravagant and others plain to the point of melancholy, lay across seemingly endless sections of the dead. Although you cannot explore most of the major cemeteries alone, you can take one of our pay-what-you-can cemetery tours. There are also other cemeteries you can visit without a guide.
Tip: Read this before you visit a cemetery in New Orleans.
Some tips before you start
Tip: Remember, you can drink in public, so grab one before your tour. We love the Pimms cup from Napoleon House, or to save a little extra $, pop into Rouse’s Market on Royal street for a cold beer.
Map of the Free Self Guided Ghost Tour of the French Quarter
St. Louis Cathedral
You can bet the oldest continually operating Cathedral in the country has some ghosts.
Père Antoine and Père Dagobert were both priests at the St. Louis Cathedral, prominent figures in the New Orleans Catholic community, and Antoine even baptized the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.
The ghosts of both priests still wander the halls of St. Louis and the alleyways on either side of the Cathedral-
Pere Antionie alley
Père Antoine prefers to shimmy down his self-named alley, The Père Antoine Alley, humming church hymns. His apparition is also seen on the church balcony and near the altar, especially near holiday times, and he even holds a candle during the Midnight Mass.
Named for legendary and morally questionable pirate Jean Lafitte, rumor has it that pirates would sell their bootlegged goods along the alley fence at night. Today, the ghosts of Jean Lafitte and Père Dagobert are both seen strolling down Pirate’s Alley.
Unlike many spirits, Père Dagobert is an early riser, appearing early in the morning, humming church songs. He’s been hanging around this same alley for nearly 100 years after his first official sighting in 1924.
The vile ghost of Delphine LaLaurie is seen walking the aisles of the church, where she was known to attend Mass.
Andrew Jackson Hotel
919 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Today, the Andrew Jackson Hotel holds its reputation as one of the most haunted hotels in the French Quarter and the world.
But before it was a world-class, charming French Quarter escape, it was an orphanage for boys, many of who lost their parents to Yellow Fever that swept through New Orleans like an unseen hurricane.
In December 1794, another tragedy struck the city in the form of a fire that burned down the orphanage, sadly, with 5 orphan boys still inside.
Today, the ghosts of these orphans have been seen by hotel guests running and laughing around the hotel and courtyard.
The most haunted room at the Andrew Jackson is Room 208.
A young boy named Armand, one of the orphans who died in the fire, is most active here. Some say Armand jumped from this window, attempting to save himself from the flames.
These days, guests of room 208 report feeling something cold brush against them, seeing lights or faucets turn on by themselves, and some even claim to have been dragged out of their beds.
The hotel insists that Armand means no harm and that he’s just having some boyish fun- we’ll leave that for you to decide.
5 Star Service Forever
Another ghostly figure at the Andrew Jackson Hotel is a woman who appears to be cleaning the rooms, fluffing pillows, and rearranging the furniture. This woman has been seen in hotel rooms and the hotel lobby.
Many believe this benevolent spirit is either a former housekeeper or caretaker of orphans.
The Casket Girls of Old Ursuline Convent
1100 Chartres St New Orleans, LA 70116
Finished in 1745, the Old Ursuline Convent is the oldest building in New Orleans and has survived hurricanes, floods, epidemics, and fires.
When city’s founders asked France to send over wives for the colonists,King Louis XIV sent young girls carrying what would fit into a little “casket.” These caskets were just tiny boxes, but the name stuck.
The Casket Girls brought the first vampires to New Orleans.
Remember, these girls had to journey across the world during the early 1700s over the Atlantic. Is it any surprise that they arrived pale, thin, and sometimes deathly ill? To make matters worse, Tuberculosis was circulating and could cause one to cough up blood as if these Casket Girls needed another vampire connection.
Bones and Ghosts of the Ursuline Convent
At one point during the covenant’s long and unique history, construction workers found human bones hidden underneath the foundation of the walls. Weirder still, forensic specialists determined that the bones had belonged to children and infants.
Today, the sounds of children’s laughter coming from the front garden of the Old Ursuline Convent at all times of the day, but especially in the dead of night, is commonly heard. Small child-like apparitions playing on the covenant’s front lawn have also been reported. You can also tour the building via the Old Ursuline Convent Museum.
BK House & Gardens
The Beauregard-Keyes House is a beautiful piece of Greek Revival architecture currently serving as a museum, the BK Historic House and Gardens, that tells the story of past residents. These include its wealthy, pre-civil war French Creole inhabitants and their slaves, the Italian immigrant families, and American author Frances Parkinson Keyes.
Ghosts of the Keyes House
The ghost of a cat with a bell around her neck, moving, making no sound, is a favorite of the Keyes house and of the entire Quarter. Caroline, the ghost cat of the house and courtyard. Her tombstone in the back of the house reads Caroline: Our Loyal Cat. May 9, 1994.
In 1908, a group known as the Black Hand demanded money from the Giacona family, who lived at the Keyes house at the time. Pietro pretended to bend to the extortion, going into the house to grab the money. Instead, he returned with a gun and shot all four members of the Black Hand. The sounds of gunfire and the screams of dying men have been reported in the house to this day.
From the 1840s-90s, the now sleeping-looking French Market street was Gallatin Street the center for New Orleans drinking, prostitutes, robbery, and crime.
Being labeled as the center for crime and debauchery is impressive in a city such as New Orleans, built off sin, mystery, legend, and lore.
In 1897, City Council member Sidney Story passed an ordinance to regulate the sex trade to one district in the Treme. Sidney’s proposed name was The District, but it quickly became known as Storyville.
Storyville was shut down in 1917 by the US Navy, who feared their virtuous, all-American sailors being tempted by whores of New Orleans. The Mayor’s now famous statement, “You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular,’ would hold the test of time.
And with that, the first nightclubs began to open on Bourbon Street. Demand for nightlife, prostitutes, and liquor exploded during World War Two. As soldiers and sailors on leave went looking for distractions from the horrors of the war, Bourbon Street grew into what it is today.
While you’re in the area:
There’s three great drive bars right down the street on Decatur street. Grab a one of the famous frozen coffee drinks at Molly’s on the Market, a domestic beer at local dive bar Aunt Tikis, or people watch at the dark and gritty Quarter favorite, The Abby.
1138 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Probably the most famous of all the haunted houses in the Quarter
After the death of her first two husbands, Delphine married younger.
She and her newest husband, Dr. Louis Lalaurie, were legends in the Quarter, throwing lavish parties for the societal elite at their mansion on 1140 Royal Street.
Other than the fact that they were filthy rich, there was one commonly known fact about the Lalauries:
Some of their slaves would disappear without a trace. New slaves would arrive and take their place just as mysteriously.
Partygoers knew not to ask about this curious situation. Delphine would only brush away the questions and quietly remove the curious guests from future party invitations. This was serious- Delphine was the queen bee of the Quarter, and no one wanted to be on her bad side.
One day, a crack appeared in the LaLaurie’s carefully crafted reputation.
Neighbors reported seeing an enslaved child, about 7 years old, fall to her death outside the mansion while being chased by Delphine Lalaurie herself. To this day, tourists report seeing the ghostly body of a young girl smash dramatically through the upstairs window, never to hit the ground.
After the girl’s death, police investigated the LaLaurie household. Neighbors were unsurprised when Delphine was found guilty of cruelty and forced to forfeit 9 slaves.
Devilishly, Delphine later bought back these same 9 slaves and returned them to the house on Royal Street.
Everything came crumbling down in 1834 when the LaLaurie Mansion caught fire, turning the crack in their social reputation into a deep dark hole.
After authorities extinguished the fire, they found an enslaved woman chained to a stove, who admitted to causing the blaze and pleaded with police to look in the slave quarters.
What they found was nothing short of a horror show:
Dozens of slaves were in horrific living conditions- tortured, starving, and badly beaten. Bodies were suspended by their neck with broken bones. Adults and children were restrained with their eyes gouged out, skin flayed off, or mouths sewn shut.
When the secret got out, a mob of locals burned the LaLaurie mansion to the ground. The building was rebuilt in 1838 while the Lalauries escaped to France. Delphine would later die under mysterious circumstances in Paris, supposedly during a Boar Hunt.
It is said that Delphine always wanted to return to New Orleans, and she lingers in the Royal Street mansion after death. Today, tourists report hearing the screams of former slaves, the ghostly body of a young girl smashing dramatically through the upstairs window, never to hit the ground, and shadows moving behind closed curtains.
Today the house is privately owned but standing in front of it is creepy enough.
A Murder in 1894
When 1894 rolled around, the mansion had been converted to apartments. After months of reporting ‘sprites’ in his home, a tenant was violently murdered, and no suspect was ever identified.
Tip: kitty corner to the mansion is one of the best places to get a po-boy in the quarter, they also sell cold beers if you need a refreshemnt. Verti Marte is some of the best po-boys in the Quarter, but don’t expect quick service or a place to sit down.
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar
941 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116
If you had a bar named after you, you’d make sure it was your permanent haunt, well, after death, wouldn’t you?
The last bar on Bourbon Street, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, is shrouded in mystery. Named after the notorious pirate Jean Lafitte, the bar was once used (allegedly) as a front for smuggling.
Obviously, Lafitte’s Bar is haunted by the pirate himself. Mostly candle lit and always creepy, you can sit down for a “Voodoo Daiquiri” with Lafitte at his Blacksmith Shop Bar.
New Orleans Voodoo Museum
724 Dumaine St, New Orleans, LA 70116
New Orleans voodoo, also known as Louisiana voodoo, is a spiritual and religious tradition that developed in the Southern United States, particularly in the city of New Orleans and surrounding regions. It is a syncretic faith that blends elements of African, Native American, and European spiritual beliefs and practices.
The roots of New Orleans voodoo can be traced back to West African religious traditions, particularly those of the Fon, Ewe, and Yoruba peoples from present-day Benin, Togo, and Nigeria. These African traditions were brought to the Americas during the transatlantic slave trade when Africans were forcibly transported to the New World.
In the New World, African spiritual beliefs and practices encountered the beliefs of Native Americans and European settlers. This cultural mixing gave rise to a syncretic tradition that blended African spirituality with elements of Christianity, particularly Roman Catholicism. Many voodoo practitioners in New Orleans incorporate Catholic saints and rituals into their practices, often associating each saint with an African deity or spirit.
Spirits and Deities: Central to New Orleans voodoo are spirits and deities, often referred to as “lwa” (or “loa”), who are intermediaries between humans and the divine. Each lwa has unique characteristics, responsibilities, and attributes.
Ancestral Worship: Ancestor veneration is an important aspect of voodoo. Practitioners believe that deceased family members can intercede on their behalf and provide guidance and protection.
Rituals and Ceremonies: Voodoo ceremonies involve music, dance, chanting, drumming, and offerings to the spirits. These rituals can take place in temples, known as “houmfor,” or in outdoor spaces.
Hoodoo: In addition to the religious aspect, there is a separate tradition called “hoodoo” that is often associated with voodoo. Hoodoo is a form of folk magic and herbalism, blending African, Native American, and European practices.
New Orleans voodoo has often been portrayed inaccurately and sensationalized in popular culture, leading to misunderstandings and misconceptions. It is essential to recognize that voodoo is a legitimate spiritual practice and not synonymous with the negative stereotypes often associated with black magic and curses.
The most famous of New Orleans Voodoo Practitioners was Marie Laveau. Marie Laveau was a prominent figure in New Orleans voodoo and is often referred to as the “Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.” She was a free woman of color who lived in the 19th century and became a well-known and influential practitioner of voodoo in the city.
The best way to learn about that culture is through the New Orleans Voodoo Museum, which opened in 1972. Cornered between Bourbon and Royal Streets on Dumaine Street in the center of the French Quarter, the Voodoo Museum is the best place to learn about and see the history and folklore related to Louisiana Voodoo.
801 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116
The fun and quirky New Orleans Vampire Cafe serves local Cajun dishes, vampire-themed cocktails, and desserts. The blood bag drinks look fantastic in photos, and the berry pomegranate lemonade with vodka is a crowd-pleaser. Popular dishes include shrimp and grits and fried deviled eggs.
Sultan's House (Gardette-LePretre Mansion)
716 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70116
There comes a point in every ghost story where a little embellishment adds to the fun. This is that point in our tour:
A mysterious man claiming to be a sultan purchased a lavish French Quarter mansion.
The so-called sultan threw massive parties with prostitutes, fancy food, and endless alcohol. Expensive imports in the form of art and furniture arrived daily, and all the while, the doors remained locked, and the drapes stayed drawn.
One morning, pools of blood started to leak from under the doors. Police discovered several bodies in the house and some buried in the backyard. Nearly 40 bodies were found that day, but none were the Sultans.
It was said that the supposed Sultan was actually the brother of the Sultan, who left his country after stealing his sibling’s fortune.
738 Toulouse St, New Orleans, LA 70130
This dark dive bar is known for its late-night hours and goth atmosphere. Photos of the inside are strictly forbidden, lest they reveal any vampires. Good for ghosts on a budget, The Dungeon has 3 for 1 mixed drinks from 1-4 am every Friday. Yes, that was 3 for the price of 1 drink specials.
How to find The Dungeon: wander down Toulouse and find a small, shadowy alleyway. The sign above the door declares “The Quarter’s Most Unique Night Spot.” Does not open until Midnight
The Pharmacy Museum
514 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Besides being completely haunted, New Orleans is just plain weird.
In the middle of The French Quarter lies The Pharmacy Museum, a creepy and fascinating collection of medical history. The building started life as an apothecary owned by the first licensed pharmacist in the country. Today, The Pharmacy Museum is one of the world’s best-preserved medical pharmacology collections.
What to look for at The Pharmacy Museum:
bottles of heroin once sold as painkillers
creepy vintage medical equipment
tank of leeches
chloroform inhaler originally used for childbirth
Voodoo artifacts, ritual items, and potions
recreation of the original apothecary
Next door to the Pharmacy Museum is a restaurant and bar that’s an absolute favorite with locals, Napoleon house. If your thirsty grab a Pimms Cup, a cocktail their famous for, and we will continue on.
Story goes the mayor of New Orleans offered the Defeated but well loved Napoleon this property but he died before he could make New Orleans his new home.
214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Antonio Monteleone came to America in 1880 and immediately purchased the Commercial Hotel. After giving the hotel a better name (his own) and adding an impressive 300 rooms, the hotel’s reputation skyrocketed.
Hotel Monteleone saw a lot of famous faces, including Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, and William Faulkner, to name a few. Today, visitors see lots of dead faces, such as-
Today it’s one of the Best Hotels in the French Quarter
The Ghost Child
In the 1800s, the Begere family came to stay at the Hotel Monteleone. One night, young Maurice was sickened and died. Devastated, his mother, Josephine, returned to the hotel every weekend, longing for her son and attempting to contact his spirit through occultism.
One night, Josephine made contact. As she cried tears of anguish, a ghostly Maurice said to her: “Don’t cry, Mommy.”
Today, guests regularly see Maurice and hear him playing on the 14th floor.
The Eternal Feud
There exists an ongoing feud between two former restaurant employees.
You see, the hotel’s restaurant was once a battling ground, and there was a chef vs. a server in the arena.
One wanted to leave the door open, and the other wanted the door closed, and many arguments ensued over what was best.
No agreement was ever reached, and the two spirits continued to debate after death. The restaurant door is often wide open in the mornings after it had been locked with a deadbolt the night before.
Pro-Tip Inside is the Carousel bar, one of the most famous bars in New Orleans, the entire bar slowly rotates. It’s a great place to try a famous New Orleans Cocktail.
Where to Grab a Drink With a Ghost
New Orleans is the birthplace of some of the world’s best cocktails, including the Sazerac and the Vieux Carré. Mixology is truly an art form in The French Quarter. But the best part is that you can sip with the dead at several historic bars in the Quarter.
Here’s where to find a free paranormal drinking partner (we can’t guarantee the quality of the conversation)-
Old Absinthe House
240 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70112
To put it lightly, the brick walls of the Old Absinthe House have seen some stuff.
Numerous pirates, outlaws, writers, celebrities, politicians, and criminals have had a drink at this tiny bar. The building served as the meeting spot for General Andrew Jackson and the pirate Jean Lafitte during the War of 1812.
Eventually, the Old Absinthe House would become famous for its cocktail, the absinthe frappe, AKA the “green monster,” a mix of absinthe and sugar water.
Today, Jean Lafitte has been known to have ghostly gatherings, looking dapper in his signature pirate hat and accompanied by spontaneous outbreaks of laughter. Jean Lafitte is in good company as the ghosts of Andrew Jackson and Marie Lavaeu, who were also patrons during their living years.
Other spirits known to haunt the Old Absinthe House include a woman in a long white dress and a child dashing down the third-floor hallway. Bartenders report doors opening on their own, chairs rearranging themselves, and temperatures suddenly dropping.
Don't Ghost Just Yet
We hope you’ve had a ghostly good time on this self-guided ghost tour of The French Quarter.
If you enjoyed this walking tour, check out our other Free Self Guided New Orleans walking tours with maps. To get the best experience, join our pay-what-you-can walking tours.