New Orleans is famous for its nightlife, but you can find plenty of creepy experiences between the daiquiris and Huge Ass Beers.
This city has seen everything, from war and famine to natural disasters. What’s left behind are resilient locals and spirits who refuse to move on.
We’ve got you covered if you’re looking for a spine-tingling time in the deep South. Today, we’re highlighting seven of the spookiest places in the Crescent City.
Let’s hit it!
The Creepy, Haunted History of New Orleans
Few places in the US have a history as rich as New Orleans, Louisiana. In fact, many say it’s the most haunted city in the country.
Some of the earliest folks to inhabit the newly founded settlement were French prisoners sent over by the King. The influx of riff-raff gave the town a shaky and violent start.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, yellow fever decimated the population. During this period, a series of fires ravaged over 1,000 buildings and took untold lives. Many believe the spirits of these people, as well as those publicly executed, still walk the streets, especially around Jackson Square.
Today, French, Spanish, African, and Indigenous influences combine here. Its sordid past features vicious battles, pirates, and enslavement. Cultural and religious traditions range from vampirism to the mysterious practices of Voodoo.
New Orleans embraces its creepy ambiance. Ghost tours, seances, and fortune readings are commonplace. Whether you want bone-chilling fear or communion with those who’ve passed over to the other side, you can find it in the Crescent City.
Here are seven ways to make the hairs on your neck stand up while you’re here. Plus, you’re bound to learn something new about this fascinating destination.
When you’re not exploring the creepy part of the city, here’s How to Spend a Day in New Orleans, Louisiana.
#1 Experience Chills at the Museum of Death
If you’re obsessed with all things macabre, you won’t want to pass up a visit to the Museum of Death.
Artifacts include letters written by serial killers such as Ted Kaczynski and Jeffrey Dahmer, photographs of the Manson family, and one of Dr. Kevorkian’s suicide machines. You’ll see John Wayne Gacy’s artwork, exhibits on cannibalism, and an array of shrunken heads.
Although the museum is dark and disturbing, the owners hope it’ll start a conversation among visitors. After all, death eventually comes for everyone, so why not talk about it?
To lighten the mood, they hand out free t-shirts to people who faint upon seeing the morbid displays. If you can’t handle the imagery, you just might leave with some new swag reading, “I passed out at the Museum of Death…and lived to talk about it.”
While it isn’t the only facility of its kind, the New Orleans location may be the creepiest. However, if you can’t get to the South, you can visit their other venue in Hollywood, California.
#2 Tour the Legendary St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
When exploring the Crescent City, you’ll probably notice the cemeteries pretty quickly. They stand out because the tombs are above ground. There’s something extra spooky about walking alongside the dead rather than above them.
If you want an authentically creepy New Orleans experience, check out St. Louis Cemetery #1. Within a single block, more than 700 crypts hold the remains of 100,000 people. And more are constantly added, as it’s still a functioning cemetery.
Today, you can only visit with a licensed guide unless you have a family member interred at the site. Tours generally last about 45 minutes. You’ll see the final resting places of famous locals like Voodoo Priestess Marie Laveau and Homer Plessy, the well-known civil rights activist.
#3 Join a Creepy New Orleans Ghost Tour
Ghost tours are a dime a dozen in this Southern city. But there’s a good reason they’re so prevalent. New Orleans’ vibrant past makes for a captivating and creepy history lesson. Even if you don’t spot paranormal activity, you’re practically guaranteed to learn something new.
And you won’t just hear about the ghosts that haunt the town. Vampires, Voodoo, and true crime are all headliners of specific outings. Some include pub crawls, while others feature local flavors at restaurants around town. You might walk the streets in one and take a carriage ride for another. They each put their own spin on the classic ghost tour.
Perhaps the most popular is the French Quarter Ghosts and Legends expedition. You’ll hear both facts and lore surrounding this infamous location from highly experienced guides.
Need a place to stay? 7 Best New Orleans RV Parks with Video Tours.
#4 Grab a Drink With Ghosts at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar
Allegedly, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is the oldest bar in the US. Construction on the French Provincial building began in 1722. Many believe it was the base of Pierre and Jean Lafitte’s smuggling operation. Later, it became a cafe and was ultimately added to the National Register of Historic Places.
In addition to the Lafitte brothers, some think the spirit of Tennessee Williams and other notable regulars still roam the bar. Although, you may not find it very creepy since it’s one of the busiest establishments in New Orleans.
We can’t say for sure whether or not ghosts haunt this spot. You’ll have to decide for yourself. But you should know that the bar isn’t exactly family-friendly. It’s adults-only, and you’ll need to get food elsewhere. That said, it’s certainly worth the pit stop if you’re in the area.
#5 Experience the Creepy Secret Room at M.S. Rau Antiques
In general, antique shops tend to have an unusual vibe. After all, those collectibles carry a lot of history. So, it’s no surprise that this Crescent City staple offers a little something extra.
M.S. Rau Antiques is a 25,000-square-foot building packed with unique finds. While perusing the main gallery, you may see an ancient Siberian cave bear skeleton or a pristine 35-karat yellow diamond. However, they hide away the real treasures in an unsuspecting location.
A secret passageway lies behind a door that might be mistaken for a bookshelf. This portal leads to a whole new realm. Paintings by Claude Monet, Norman Rockwell sketchings, and Rembrandt etchings are just a few of the riches you’ll see.
Of course, everything is for sale. However, you’ll need a bank account like Daddy Warbucks to purchase something from the hidden room.
#6 Spend a Night at the Haunted Hotel Monteleone
For a particularly creepy stay in New Orleans, you can’t beat the famed Hotel Monteleone.
Italian nobleman Antonio Monteleone bought the property in 1886. Renovations, additions, and enhancements have stirred the spirits for over a century.
Everyone seems to have a spooky story about the hotel, from the owners and staff to visitors. Many tell tales of mysterious shadows passing by in the hallways, doors opening and closing on their own, and elevators stopping on random floors.
In 2003, the International Society of Paranormal Research spent time on the grounds. They claim to have contacted over a dozen souls wandering the site.
One notable ghost is Maurice Begere, a toddler who sadly died of yellow fever while staying at the hotel. Heartbroken, his parents returned regularly in hopes their child would visit. Eventually, they got their wish. Guests still report seeing the young boy roaming the halls to this day.
#7 Check Out the Historic Haunted Old Absinthe House
Against all odds, the Old Absinthe House is still operating after over 200 years. It survived prohibition by selling booze under the table. At one point, the owners moved every item in the building to another location on Bourbon Street to save it from destruction.
This watering hole is where General Andrew Jackson met with pirate Jean Lafitte to strategize a battle plan. Legend has it that a secret network of tunnels links this establishment with Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.
Many say Jackson’s ghost still sidles up to the bar occasionally. Other haunts include a child who runs around on the third floor and a woman in a white, flowy dress. Visitors and staff report disembodied voices, items moving, unexplainable cold spots, and drastic temperature changes.
This creepy New Orleans haunt will hit the spot whether you want to catch a buzz or commune with the spirits.
Listen to or read about local ghost stories: Haunted New Orleans: History & Hauntings of the Crescent City.
Is a Trip to Creepy New Orleans Worth It?
When some folks think of the Crescent City, Mardi Gras and mayhem come to mind. However, there’s much more to this place than meets the eye.
The history of New Orleans is unlike anywhere else, and what remains today is a significant, sometimes creepy, look into the past. You’ll almost certainly have a great time while you’re here. But keep your eyes peeled for the paranormal!
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