How to get spooky autumn moods in New Orleans
There are ghost stories on every corner.
As a fan of travel and who is obsessed with all things scary, New Orleans in autumn is one of my top things to do. Although I’m there to work every couple of years I make sure to visit and mark items (like places like a gothic talk-sale as well as creepy museums) off my ever-growing must-see lists.
Established in 1718, New Orleans is a city with a rich food, history and culture, some of it hidden in the midst of. According to legend, ghosts can’t travel across water bodies and so the the early New Orleanians painted their homes blue to signify the flowing waters and to ensure that ghosts were kept at bay. Here are my top picks for spooky events that are only available within New Orleans, plus some other sites to explore when you’re in town.
The ultimate spooky destination The Witches Brew ghost tour
Ghost tours are the ideal place to begin the beginning of your New Orleans adventure, and Witches Brew Tours is one of my favorites. The guides, who are true experts on local folklore and the paranormal — help to make it stand out from the others, telling tales about the ghosts that are a part of the city, and taking visitors to the places that are believed to be haunted by spirits (not as is the case with all Ghost tours). It will visit places such as the Voodoo queen Marie Laveau II’s home, The Sultan’s Palace, and the Ursuline Convent in which you’ll be able to feel as if you’re watching ghost stories unfold before your eyes at a close distance.
To get the most out of this tour, make sure you wear comfortable shoes for walking and carry lots of fluids (it could be in the high 80s during the fall). Remember to bring cash to tip. Don’t forget to bring a camera as well. You’ll want to take a shot to capture photos of the ghosts.
The wild card Cats of Jackson Square
There’s Jackson Square in the heart of the French Quarter between the St. Louis Cathedral and the Mississippi River, just across from the first location of Cafe du Monde. The name is a tribute to the General Andrew Jackson, it’s one of the most well-known and photographed places within New Orleans. However, there are a few elusive residents who appear as the sun begins to set. Don’t be worried when you hear them before you can see them.
Travelers have said: “Locals say these are the spirits of witches who lived in the time of witch hunts during colonial times. It’s difficult to answer, but I do know that I saw lots of cats during the evening but no daytime.
After sunset, cats – believed to be witches — set out to explore Jackson Square. The stray cats gather in a plethora of numbers to relax around the area and let you know that they’re looking to have a little fun.
Other things you shouldn’t miss out on in New Orleans:
The Pontchartrain Hotel
Known as the most haunted hotel in the town and the Pontchartrain is a place with an eerie history: in 1929 two sisters were involved in a romantic triangle and one was able to burn down the apartment of the other on the 11th floor. Ghost hunters have witnessed apparitions of the sisters, as well as about 25 more victims. Even the ice maker located on the 9th floor is believed to be haunted by two people who died in the fire.
Beignets at Cafe Du Monde
The was a popular 1862 New Orleans institution is renowned for its beignets: light fritters, fried and filled with sugar and powdered sugar, simple but plenty of it. They are served in trios and are delicious with the cafe’s other popular offering which is coffee. (The pro-move is served made with ice, chicory and milk).
A bar that turns into a carousel
In the Hotel Monteleone, located in Hotel Monteleone, the Carousel Bar is a merry-go round from the 1940s, which has been transformed into bar. Each 15-minute period, the merry-go-round is rotated to allow you to enjoy the city’s views without drinking your beverage.
The city’s famous jazz scene
One of the most storied jazz venues in New Orleans (and certainly the most sought-after), Preservation Hall offers shows every night and almost every artist who walks through its doors is worth watching. 2nd-line parades that are led by musicians from jazz, are performed every week at the French Quarter; bystanders are invited to take part in the parade while dancing to the beat.