Ghost Tours, New Orleans
If getting drunk on Bourbon Street isn’t your idea of a fun evening, take a New Orleans ghost tour with French Quarter Phantoms. It’s an interesting and educational way to see the French Quarter. I wasn’t enthusiastic when my family wanted to take a ghost tour, because I have an overactive imagination and can manage to freak myself out quite nicely without any help. But our tour guide, Jessica, was perfect. Her goal was not to scare us but to inform us. She was more like a historical lecturer and had a laidback sense of humor that I enjoyed -- the kind of person I wouldn’t mind talking to at a party.
A story from the tour:
The present-day Andrew Jackson Hotel was a boys' boarding school in the 1800s, but when a yellow fever epidemic swept the city, all of the students died. The hotel today is said to be haunted by their ghosts. The ghostly happenings are very mischievous, the sort of thing you’d expect from little boys, but it would still scare the bejesus out of me! Guests have reported hearing children laughing and running up and down the halls at night, faucets turn on by themselves, female guests have been awakened by someone tickling their feet. A few of the latter have said they saw a little boy giggling at the foot of their bed. It made me wonder how the ghost tour affects the occupancy rate of the hotel.
This is a walking tour, so wear comfortable shoes. Tours last about an hour and a half. Phone for the times -- these have changed, post-Katrina. $20 per person, children's rates. Reservations are necessary, as the size of tour groups is limited. Tips are gratefully accepted by your guide at the end of the tour.
In a city where cemeteries count as some of the most popular attractions, it only makes sense that ghost tours would be popular too! There are several companies offering guided haunted walks through the French Quarter and after reading some reviews, we decided to go with the French Quarter Phantoms. It's the only ghost tour we went on so I can't compare it with the others, but we had a fantastic time on the tour! Our guide was one of the most entertaining I've ever had - she really knew how to tell a story and she made us laugh all night long! The stories were well researched and included a lot of historical information about New Orleans, which is exactly what I like in a ghost tour. Among other things, we heard about the history and ghosts of the Cornstalk Hotel and Andrew Jackson Hotel, and made the obligatory stop in front of the LaLaurie Mansion, which is often described as the city's most haunted location. And to make things even spookier, I and another lady on the tour might have seen a ghost walk by as we were getting ready to cross the street. It was one of the weirdest sensations ever!
The French Quarter Phantoms ghost tour runs every evening at 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. Tours start at Flanagan's Pub and tickets cost $20, and you get a 2 for 1 special on Hurricanes at the pub. As our guide said, the more people drink, the funnier she gets!
I love creepy stuff that's true - fact not fiction. New Orleans is one of my favorite places to visit. For that reason - on my many visits I have done just about everyone's ghost and cemetery tours. As the other lady said the one that starts from Flanagan's Pub - 625 St. Philip Street - French Quarter Phantoms - is the one to do. The tour guides are real historians with degrees in Theology and History! The are also great storytellers - its easy to follow their stories, you can ask them questions and they really have a historically accurate sensible answer to give you. They are not "theater rejects" and are not dressed like haunted house characters - they are very upscale - dressing in Black suits / red ties - or all black dress clothing. Sort of Goth meets the Society page. This is the one for the discriminating traveler. You get a great chill up your spine from their excellent delivery but nobody jumps out and pinches you and nobody insults your intelligence by telling you things you know never happened. I ask the lady in the box office if she believed in ghosts - her reply "of course, even the Bible talks about spirits, do I believe in Vampires? No that is fictional, therefore our vampire tales are of vampiric style crimes, " That is the best answer I've ever heard anyone give. Their tour starts at 8 pm every night. I do recommend reservations, they limit their group size and will even put out an extra group if they feel the customer personalities warrant it. Such as if there are several families with young teens or small kids they will put all of them with one guide and put all of the adult only guests with another guide - that way everyone gets a tour with accurate historical information but the adult group gets more gorey detail than the group with youngsters. My tour guides were Mike on the first night and Randy on the second. Both gentlemen were right on the money, and both had unique tours . I toured with them twice this trip and one night they had 2 groups with about 15 people per group, Mike took the families and Randy the adults and the other night they had one group with about 20 - high school students and another group with about 25, mixed aged adults. The other companies I toured with on my last New Orleans trip put like 35- 40 people with one guide and I really had a lot of trouble hearing and seeing everything - not to mention that some of the stories were not appropriate for the type of people in the group. These folks tell me they never put more than 28 people per group - but most of the time try to keep it at 15 people per guide for better entertainment value. I agree.
Maybe this should be under "Tourist Trap" but here goes. We took one of those "Haunted Tours" early in the evening. I relunctantly went along but it ended up a pretty good tour. I learned that what we see as the "French Quarter" is really Spanish in architecture. And we heard some creepy stories. If you have the time and some extra dough, then maybe you should try one of these tours. It's cheesy - but still worth doing.
You don't need to believe in ghosts or the supernatural to enjoy this tour. It's a fascinating source of local history and folklore--often the things that don't get into the history books. Here sordid tales of murder, intrigue, tragedy, and dark family secrets revealed. Here is the real Gothic side of the old French Quarter.
These tours usually include some details of local architecture, and those little oddities that somehow get left out of other tours. For example, Romeo spikes. Most buildings here have balconies, an innovation added by the Spanish. On some of their support pillars are sharp spikes. They were meant to discourage any would-be "Romeo" from climbing up to the second floor, where the girls slept.
I've NEVER experienced a haunting, or other supernatural event. But a good ghost tour is just too much fun to pass up.
You'll find many pamphlets advertising walking tours around the French Quarter. For about $15, a guide will take you to landmarks and explain the area's history. The tours I took were fascinating, and unfold better than stumbling around on your own. These tours are also great to visit neighbourhoods you might otherwise avoid alone. For example, the rough neighbourhood Tremé is pivotal in black New Orleans history.
I was warned that some "haunted" tours are gimmicky money wasters. However, I took both a "historic" and a "spooky" tour, and found the latter to be more educational! So shop around!
New Orleans is one of my favourite cities in the world. What could be better than enjoying a Po'Boy or a bowl of gumbo as the notes from the calliope on the steamboat Natchez waft across the French Quarter from the Mississippi? I could happily retire to this city, despite the problems it has. It has an atmosphere of being not quite of this world, and existing strangely outside of time. This surely has something to do with the fact that the place is so haunted! New Orleans has a wide variety of ghost tours on offer, as well as vampire tours, voodoo tours and cemetary excursions. I can highly recommend Haunted History Tours for their ghost and vampire tours. The guides I had were Brent and Jonathan respectively. Both knew their subjects very well, and were extremely informative as well as entertaining. Both tours stopped off at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop - the oldest bar in New Orleans, which was fun. The place is haunted and my camera acted up so much I couldn't get a proper picture there! I also did their Garden District Ghost Tour, which was a laid-back afternoon stroll, and took the subject very seriously, which I like. I also did a Cemetary Tour with Gray Line Tours. We went to St. Louis No. 1, which was fascinating, even though the guide seemed unhappy to be there! No trip to New Orleans is complete without a visit to a cemetary, and it was a great experience. The grave of Marie Laveau certainly has something about it. I felt very drained after being near it. All in all, if you haven't been to New Orleans, GO! And make sure to go on some ghost tours while you're there!
It is interesting to tour the unique above ground cemeteries in and around New Orleans. There is a lot of history. They have many guided tours to tell you the ghost tales surrounding some of the well know haunted cemeteries. To save some cash, you can tour them yourself and have just as much fun, but don't go alone. Bring, at least, one companion and have fun!
Check out the new ghost story book by local author
If One Only Looks: 85 Years of Ghost Stories
One of the most fun things I did while in N.O. was the narrarated walking ghost tour through the French Quarter (at night!) Lots of fun & the guide was very animated in his storytelling which made the tour all the more fun & haunting.
There are several guide places in the French Quarter but the one I used was N.O. Ghost Tour leaving from Flanagan's Pub on St. Philip St. Cost was $18.00 p/p.
If you are going to chose to do a Haunted Ghost tour I highly suggest Haunted History. We only did the ghost tour but when we go back we are definitely taking more tours with this company...especially if we can take them with Ernie! He was an amazing tour guide! Very, very entertaining without being cheesy. He had his own personal story that made the tour better. I don't know if he offers other tours as well but I highly suggest taking the ghost tour with him. We even walked by the next night to say hi to him again. He's awesome!!
Walking Ghost Tour of the French Quarter.
It was an interesting mixture of history, ambience and local color. The guides were knowlegeable about the history and good story tellers. The tour provides a mix of the old world charm, folklore and superstition that gives one an appreciation of the city it's great character. This is the home of Anne Rice, Lafayette cemetery and Voodoo dolls.
Okay, so heres the deal. Don't waste your money! The tour is boring and the information is questionable at best, and not entertaining. We stood around while our guide recited rehearsed routines about people who supposedly now haunt the french quarter due to their untimely end by fire, murder or syphilis. You would do better to just walk around yourself and spend the money on liquor and make up your own ghost stories.
Ghost story tours in the French Quarter
Yes, it's 'touristy'. Yes, it can be a bit overdone. Yes, it's still worth it. Tours of this sort offer an intriguing glimpse into the history of one of the oldest cities in the U.S., in an entertaining way. The best time to go is at dusk, and the best one to take is Richard Rochester's. Richard is a one-of-a-kind, looking [and acting] like a cross between Jim Carrey and Jack Nicholson. He lead our tour in white pants and shirt and a Panama hat, his waist-length hair in a blonde braid trailing behind him.
These tours take you around New Orleans and teach you a bit about the paranormal side of the city. They are a definite must-do!! We took their Voodo and Witchcraft tour, and our host was Rudy Raven. They also have tours on the ghosts of New Orleans, a Voodoo/Cemetary tour, and a vampire tour.
You should try to take one of the tours offered (and there are tons of them!). They have all kinds, from voodoo, to swamp tours. Check the tourist publications.
You get so much information that you wouldn't if just wandering around on your own. It's very interesting.