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Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Non-Traditional Fat Tuesday

Fat Tuesday is on the horizon. February 28th is the end of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, which is a week-long celebration of excess. If all the crowds aren't for you, which I can totally understand, then you may want to enjoy some of what else New Orleans has to offer, like its rich history and it's haunted side. You may remember my post on voodoo culture and free art, but what about heading to see some of the most haunted locations around the city? Perhaps you'll even want to stay in one of these hotels.

New Orleans has always claimed to have a rich history in the occult and creepy myths, so taking a trip to indulge in the historical part of this city is definitely a must. The city has long been called one of the most haunted cities in America and for several reasons – catastrophes, violence and close quarters being among them. Everywhere you turn, you can find ghostly haunts:

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The Omni Royal Hotel
Once the building for the city’s slave market and the site of great brutality, the hotel is now a grand place to stay and home to many spirits. If you stay here, you may see lights flicker and faucets turn on and off.

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The Bourbon Orleans
This former orphanage run by nuns still has kids running along its corridors. Guests have reported hearing children’s voices, seeing nuns in the hallways and feeling electrical charges near the stairwells.

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The Dauphine House Bed & Breakfast
Some guests just refuse to leave. This historic house, built right outside of the French Quarter in the 1800s, has doors that open and close on their own.

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Brennan’s New Orleans
A staple of the city since 1946, Brennan’s is not only a highly rated fine dining establishment, but it also has its own ghosts. In the Red Room, a man living in the building hanged himself after murdering his family. One of the cooks loved his job so much he continues to try to do it after his death and pots and pans clank in the kitchen when no one is around.

The owner of this well-known eatery was so deeply devoted to his restaurant and its patrons, that he is said to come back night after night – sometimes with other dearly departed family members – to check on how things are going.

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Not one to dismiss the presence of ghosts who roam the earth, Muriel’s greets wandering spirits with a waiting plate of food and has even turned what was once the old slave quarters into a séance room. A former owner, devastated by losing his home in a poker game, committed suicide in this same room, making it a hotbed of paranormal activity.

The Pharmacy Museum
Set on the site of the very first apothecary shop, the Pharmacy Museum holds a wide variety of cures and artifacts from old medical practices and voodoo rituals, including ghastly instruments used in the past for dentistry, many by the former owner, a dentist known to conduct grisly experiments on patients.

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St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
Nearly everyone has heard of the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and you can visit her tomb in New Orleans’ most haunted cemetery. Hundreds of thousands are buried in this one square block, with the tombs being reused over and over. Because of vandalism, you'll have to book a tour to visit now, as individuals are no longer allowed to wander alone. You also have to go during the day, as the church has set the closing time to 3pm now. Fortunately, it's well worth the effort and cost, especially if you book a city tour that includes a visit to the cemetery, because you get more for your money that way.

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Lafayette Cemetery No. 1
Located in the Garden District, this beautiful cemetery is full of the tombs of those who died of yellow fever in the 1850s. It is surrounded by stately homes and mansions and has free tours each day. Shadows are seen frequently around the grounds. I didn't see any ghosts while I was there, but it was also pretty busy. Entrance is free, but you must go during the daytime. Look online to find a self-guided tour to learn more about the different tombs you'll see, though you can also book a free guided tour online as well. I enjoyed going on my own and taking time to take pictures and read the various tombs. 

Everywhere you go in The Big Easy seems to have an interesting story behind it. I was glad we booked two tours (made cheaper by Groupon) the week we were there and also toured alone, so we had the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, even though I learned a lot about its haunted past, I didn't see or feel any ghosts during my trip.

Have you ever had a paranormal experience in a haunted destination?

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