French Quarter shop owner sees dead people

I noticed this story on the website for our local newspaper and thought it would be cool to share. My problem with photographic evidence – other than the obvious of being very easily manipulated on a computer – is this….

… if you hold a lighted magnifying glass close enough to some of her photos and stare really, really hard, you could make out man-in-the-moon features.

If ghost photography is really possible, I don’t want to have to stare really really hard at anything to see what should be plainly obvious. I have seen photos people have taken of a residential street and then digitally zoomed in on one house with a bay window in front and claimed to see a ghost in the window. It’s convenient for people to overlook the fact that when most photos are enlarged, they are also distorted. Especially the details.

Cynthia Badinger knows you may not believe that she’s able to photograph ghosts. She said that if someone told her they could photograph ghosts, she’d be skeptical too. But Badinger has proof, hundreds of snapshots of apparitions mostly seen in the sky and on balconies in the lower French Quarter. She showed them to me as we stood in her crowded French Quarter art shop. We were kept company by her scruffy little dogs, several concrete courtyard cherubs and a statue of Napoleon, who had an incredulous look on his face.

Badinger said that the translucent orbs that pop up on her Canon digital camera screen are spirits. You can see faces in the orbs, she said. Sure enough, she showed me that if you hold a lighted magnifying glass close enough to some of her photos and stare really, really hard, you could make out man-in-the-moon features. Sometimes you can make out dogs and animals. It’s like looking at clouds. She has a chilling photo of an orb with a mysterious teeny tiny face that appeared in a Gentilly Boulevard church window. She thinks that maybe it’s the ghost of a priest.

The ephemeral blue soldier silhouette hovering on the balcony above the coffee shop across the street from her shop at 940 Royal St. is her ghost photo masterpiece. If you try, you can make out crossed cartridge belts, a beard and maybe mutton chop sideburns.

If you try.

Considering Badinger’s buoyant attitude and all the spirit orbs floating all over the place in her photos, it’s irresistible to describe her as bubbly. She talks a mile a minute in one of those great old-time New Orleans accents and shuffles through her photos like a card dealer at Harrah’s. Here’s the photo of the orb behind the curtains. Here’s the orb on New Year’s Eve. Here’s the orb over St. Louis Cathedral and the orb near the old Ursuline convent.

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American Murder Houses: The Gardette-Laprete* House

At the corner of Orleans Street and Dauphine Street in the heart of the French Quarter sits a rather unassuming four story Greek Revival¬†house ¬†of an indistinct shade of pale pink. Black wrought iron elegantly compliments the simplicity of the pale wall colouring. Walking past it, no one would guess that it was once the site of a pretty gruesome murder that happened in the 19th century. Local paranormal enthusiasts probably know the house better as The Sultan’s Palace, so if you’re ever in town and want to have a gander, ask for that rather than The Gardette-Laprete House.
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Murderous May: The Mass Murder of Slaves

In the French Quarter of New Orleans, at the corner of Governor Nicholls Street and Royal Street, sits an unassuming grey three-story building. It’s biggest claim to fame as of late is that it was owned by the actor Nicholas Cage as recently as last year. But those who know history know its darker history overshadows it’s previous owner’s fame. You see, within these walls occurred some of the most horrific pseudo-scientific experiments ever performed on human beings.
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The Octoroon Mistress


During the 19th Century, a third class of citizenry emerged in New Orleans which found itself caught between a rock and a hard place. These individuals were called Free Men of Colour and they were a mix of those who fled Saint Domingue (now Haiti) and former slaves who had managed to buy their freedom. Most often called Creoles, these people were neither part of the lowest class of slaves nor were they as high as the whites who dominated the South. Still, they dominated the city in their own way, bringing richness to a city that many would come to view as the most European city in America.
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