New Orleans attracts fans of the macabre with its haunted houses, voodoo museums, and labyrinthine cemeteries. Thanks to its unique past, the city has no shortage of urban legends and ghostly encounters that have yet to be debunked by sceptics.

    The French Quarter is where you can visit iconic landmarks such as LaLaurie Mansion and St. Louis Cemeteries. Join a walking tour to enjoy twisted yet highly-detailed stories from a local guide. A drive up north takes you to the bayou, where werewolves and cannibalistic creatures are said to lie in wait for unsuspecting victims. Explore the dark side of Louisiana by checking out our list of creepy facts about New Orleans.


    Vampires in New Orleans

    Fans of Anne Rice may know that New Orleans inspired most of her Gothic novels, especially the bestselling Interview with the Vampire. However, locals believe that the city is actually the home of real vampires. During the 1930s, brothers John and Wayne Carter were executed for committing multiple murders. About a dozen bodies, drained of their blood, were discovered after a bloodied young woman managed to escape from their apartment. Sightings of the brothers are often reported to this very day, as their bodies mysteriously vanished from the family’s funeral vault.


    Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau

    New Orleans has a thriving voodoo culture dating back to the early 19th century. The city’s most prominent icon for this religion is Marie Laveau, an illegitimate daughter of plantation owner Charles Laveaux, and his Haitian slave mistress. She’s known as a hairdresser and practitioner of elaborate voodoo rituals, making her a revered figure in the community. Her final resting place is in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, but locals believe that Laveau materialises to lead voodoo worship during St. John's Eve every year.

    photo by Paul Mannix (CC BY 2.0) modified

    • Couples
    • History
    • Photo
    • Group

    From the outside, LaLaurie Mansion is a picturesque display of early 19th-century architecture, with iron-wrought balconies and a baroque façade. However, it’s notorious for being one of the most haunted buildings in the USA due to its gruesome past. The mansion’s owner, Marie Delphine Macarty (also known as Madame LaLaurie), tortured and killed many slaves back in the mid-1800s. Witnesses claimed to have seen severed limbs, slaves being suspended by the neck, and the bodies of young children in her house. Entrance isn’t permitted, but you get to learn about the grisly history of the LaLaurie Mansion by joining a ghost tour.

    If you dare to stay near LaLaurie Mansion, browse the hotels in the area.

    Read more

    Location: 1140 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA


    photo by Tom Bastin (CC BY 2.0) modified


    St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

    The St. Louis Cemeteries, located 0.5 mile northwest of Bourbon Street, are where you can visit the tombs of many New Orleans icons. These 3 labyrinth-like graveyards date back to the late 18th century, with most of the intricate tombs set above ground. One of its most popular residents is Marie Laveau, also known as the Voodoo queen of New Orleans. Many claimed to have seen her spirit wandering St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, unsurprisingly drawing plenty of paranormal enthusiasts.

    Location: 425 Basin St, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 3 pm

    Phone: +1 504-596-3050


    photo by Infrogmation (CC BY 2.5) modified



    The Grunch are said to be humanoid creatures that lurk in the woodlands outside New Orleans. These nocturnal creatures are believed to look like an albino chupacabra, though some claim they look like goat-headed humans with razor sharp teeth and claws. It is said that the Grunch lures its victims from their vehicles with a stray goat that appears to be injured.



    The tale of Rougarou originates from Southern Louisiana, and is often told to young children to prevent them from misbehaving. This creature is believed to be a human that transforms into a white-coloured animal (variations include wolves, dogs, cattle, or pigs). According to the legend, the Rougarou causes havoc in the streets until an individual kills it. Just before it dies, it becomes human again and warns its killer not to reveal the incident for a year. Failure to do so will cause the individual to become the next Rougarou.

    The Myrtles Plantation is an 18th-century antebellum plantation in St. Francisville, about 100 miles northwest of New Orleans. Numerous ghost sightings have been reported over the years, making it one of the most haunted landmarks in the USA. The plantation’s most popular (and yet to be debunked) encounter is the apparition of a young slave girl (known as Chloe) that was caught on camera in 1992. Today, the Myrtles Plantation operates a bed and breakfast, attracting the brave-hearted travellers looking to experience paranormal sightings around New Orleans.

    Read more

    Location: 7747 U.S. 61, St Francisville, LA 70775, USA

    Phone: +1 225-635-6277


    photo by Bogdan Oporowski (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    One of Bourbon Street’s oldest bars, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar is said to be haunted by the ghost of Jean Lafitte. The French-American pirate built the bar between 1722 and 1732 and operated an illegal smuggling business. Staff often catch an apparition dressed in period clothing near the fireplace, while others have reported seeing ghostly red eyes in dark corners of the bar. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is also haunted by the spirit of a young woman who committed suicide on the top floor.

    Read more

    Location: 941 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 3 am

    Phone: +1 504-593-9761


    Hotel Monteleone

    Hotel Monteleone, built in 1886, is a luxurious hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Over the years, hotel staff and guests have experienced unexplainable encounters, from a locked restaurant door that manages to open and close itself every night, to elevators stopping at the wrong floor and leading people into dark halls. It’s believed that the spirit of a toddler named Maurice Begere roams the halls of Hotel Monteleone.

    Location: 214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

    Phone: +1 866-338-4684


    300 coffins found inside a convent attic

    The legend of the Casket Girls appeared during the colonisation of New Orleans, when young French women were sent to the city for marriage arrangements. It’s said that these girls, who carried coffin-shaped chests, resided at Ursuline Convent until they could be wed to the colonists. The chests were kept in the convent attic, but the contents of them mysteriously disappeared overnight. Fearing a demonic presence, the nuns had the caskets nailed shut, and the attic locked and blessed by the Pope. The story takes a gruesome turn when 2 reporters broke into the attic in 1978. Their decapitated and drained bodies were found the next morning on the staircase of the convent.

    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveller

    Start planning your trip

    Keep exploring


    United States of America

    Back to top