Haunted Lodging: Bourbon Orleans

Sometimes, a property serves in various capacities throughout its existence and the spirits who choose to linger come from different eras causing a kind of layered haunting effect. Such is the situation of the hotel some consider to be the most haunted in New Orleans: the Bourbon Orleans.

Situated between the famed Bourbon Street and the quieter, elegant Royal Street, the historic hotel sits at 717 Orleans Street in the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans.

In 1817, the first establishment to occupy the site was Orleans Theatre and Grand Ballroom. All of the most up-to-date amenities filled the ballroom and theatre, from the cathedral ceilings which held the sparkling chandeliers to the floors polished to a mirror-like shine. Over the years, the ballroom set the stage for many of New Orleans’ most prestigious social and historical events. Elegant masked balls, the forerunner of today’s Carnival celebration, were held there as early as 1823. During this time, Quadroon Balls were also held at the Orleans Ballroom. These were designed to promote the concubinage system known as Plaçage.

By 1881, the property was acquired by the Sisters of the Holy Family for use as a convent and school. The sisters remained for 83 years. Soon after it was bought and turned into the hotel it is today.

Spirits spotted at the hotel range from children, believed to be from the time the property served as a school, to dancing specters seen in the ballroom. Visitors have also seen and heard a Confederate soldier on the third and sixth floors.

If you visit New Orleans and decide to stay at the Bourbon Orleans, be sure to request their haunted package and I’m sure they will do everything in their power to accommodate your haunting needs.