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Muriel’s Jackson Square’s Seance Bar
Muriel’s Jackson Square

A Guide to New Orleans’s Haunted Bars and Restaurants

Believe in them or not — ghosts don’t care

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Muriel’s Jackson Square’s Seance Bar
| Muriel’s Jackson Square

New Orleans considers itself the most haunted city in America. And no wonder. The port town was built more than 300 years ago on a bedrock of anguish, from wars and natural disasters, to the exploitation of the enslaved and an ample leavening of deadly pestilence for good measure.

Ghost tours abound around the French Quarter, leading believers and skeptics on wild ghost chases. They are all kinds of fun, especially the haunted pub crawls, where tippling is encouraged. Take a tour or do the rounds at these bars with some pals to get in the spirit — just don’t be surprised along the way. In New Orleans, where voodoo arts are still practiced and haunted treasures abound, it’s no wonder the natives, dead and otherwise, tend to get restless...

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Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar

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941 Bourbon St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 593-9761
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Stands to reason that a bar named for the city’s most infamous pirate would be haunted. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop was the den of Jean Lafitte, who majored in smuggling with plenty of looting and pillaging on the side. Ghost hunters have seen the man standing in the bar’s dark corners close to the fireplace. Stare at him and he’ll disappear — maybe. The ghost of a woman who killed herself is said to roam upstairs. Order one of the potent hurricanes, made with real juices, to calm your nerves. 

Lafitte’s
Shutterstock

2. Muriel's Jackson Square

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801 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 568-1885
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The second floor bar at Muriel’s isn’t called the Seance Bar for nothing. The restaurant’s site has had a storied and checkered past, with the restless spirits to prove it. Pierre Jourdan built his dream house on the edge of Jackson Square in the early 1800s, only to lose it in a poker game and then throw himself out of a second floor window. Seems like he’s still hanging around, a glimmer of shimmering light usually seen at the upstairs bar. A poltergeist throws stuff around the courtyard, shadows and voices appear and disappear. Something is up — which is why the owners make peace by keeping a table reserved for Mr. Jourdan set with bread and wine.

Muriel’s Seance Bar ghost
Muriel’s Jackson Square

3. Pat O'Brien's

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718 St Peter
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 525-4823
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While Pat O’s is famous for its dueling piano bar and technicolor hurricanes, employees have seen plenty of shenanigans not related to Bourbon Street. Reports of running footsteps, a single piano note being struck — without a player in sight — and a chair being pulled across the floor are all documented. Believe it...or not...the ladies room is said to be haunted. Funny how all the noise in the next stall isn’t connected to a set of legs. Then again, drink enough hurricanes and anybody will levitate.

The dueling (and haunted) pianos at Pat O’s
Pat O’Brien’s/Facebook

4. The Court of Two Sisters

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613 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 522-7261
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Rumored to be the location of at least three of Jean Lafitte’s bloody duels and the location of Marie Laveau’s voodoo incantations, the Court of Two Sisters is known for more than just an ample jazz buffet. The site of at least one unsolved murder, the touched have reported seeing fairies and sprites partying in the courtyard. Then there’s the wishing well ominously called “The Devil’s Wishing Well,” a reference to Marie Laveau’s dark arts.

“The Devil’s Wishing Well” at the Court of Two Sisters
The Court of Two Sisters

5. Napoleon House

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500 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 524-9752
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The Napoleon House was supposed to be an exile home for Napoleon Bonaparte. Instead it became a grocery store and front for the New Orleans mafia. Whatever goings-on happened at 500 Chartres St. over the centuries, the resulting angry spirits are well documented. From Civil War soldiers to mafia ghosts and even the ghost of former city mayor Nicholas Girod, there’s no telling what might be served on the side of that delectable pressed muffaletta.

Inside Napoleon House
Inside Napoleon House
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

6. Old Absinthe House

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240 Bourbon St
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 523-3181
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Ghost City Tours always stop at the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon — and with good reason. The original building, built in 1752 and destroyed in the 1788 Great Friday Fire, was rebuilt in 1806 and operated as a grocery and spirits shop for more than 40 years. A haven of illegal hootch during Prohibition, it’s no surprise that in its 215 year-plus history it’s acquired a few spirited regulars. The ghost of Jean Lafitte, Andrew Jackson, and even Marie Laveau have been felt here — there’s also the woman in a long white dress and a child that is so often heard running up and down on the third floor. Have an absinthe frappe at the bar and think on that for a spell.

Exterior Views Of The Old Absinthe House - New Orleans
The Old Absinthe House
Photo by Skip Bolen/Getty Images

7. The Jimani

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141 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 524-0493
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The Jimani is a sports bar on Chartres Street, but upstairs from the bar there’s a dark and troubled past. On June 24, 1973 at the UpStairs Lounge, an arsonist set a hate fueled fire that trapped and killed 32 gay men who had gathered to celebrate Pride in a community space on the second floor. Mostly members of the New Orleans congregation of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), the first gay church in the United States, the dead were never avenged and justice did not prevail (James Massacci, the owner of the bar at the time, put up his own money as a reward for capture of the arsonist). It’s been said that spirits still haunt the bar with feelings of being forgotten and abandoned.

8. Commander's Palace

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1403 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 899-8221
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Commander’s Palace is one of the most storied dining experiences in town — you might say it’s hauntingly good. It seems there are a few regulars around the famed turquoise Victorian, from a young girl endlessly coming down the steps to a moody occupant in the ladies restroom to lights flickering randomly in the kitchen. The restaurant’s location across from historic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, where more than 7,000 people were buried, might be one reason some diners never leave.

Commander’s Palace
Shutterstock

1. Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar

941 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Lafitte’s
Shutterstock

Stands to reason that a bar named for the city’s most infamous pirate would be haunted. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop was the den of Jean Lafitte, who majored in smuggling with plenty of looting and pillaging on the side. Ghost hunters have seen the man standing in the bar’s dark corners close to the fireplace. Stare at him and he’ll disappear — maybe. The ghost of a woman who killed herself is said to roam upstairs. Order one of the potent hurricanes, made with real juices, to calm your nerves. 

941 Bourbon St
New Orleans, LA 70116

2. Muriel's Jackson Square

801 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Muriel’s Seance Bar ghost
Muriel’s Jackson Square

The second floor bar at Muriel’s isn’t called the Seance Bar for nothing. The restaurant’s site has had a storied and checkered past, with the restless spirits to prove it. Pierre Jourdan built his dream house on the edge of Jackson Square in the early 1800s, only to lose it in a poker game and then throw himself out of a second floor window. Seems like he’s still hanging around, a glimmer of shimmering light usually seen at the upstairs bar. A poltergeist throws stuff around the courtyard, shadows and voices appear and disappear. Something is up — which is why the owners make peace by keeping a table reserved for Mr. Jourdan set with bread and wine.

801 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70116

3. Pat O'Brien's

718 St Peter, New Orleans, LA 70116
The dueling (and haunted) pianos at Pat O’s
Pat O’Brien’s/Facebook

While Pat O’s is famous for its dueling piano bar and technicolor hurricanes, employees have seen plenty of shenanigans not related to Bourbon Street. Reports of running footsteps, a single piano note being struck — without a player in sight — and a chair being pulled across the floor are all documented. Believe it...or not...the ladies room is said to be haunted. Funny how all the noise in the next stall isn’t connected to a set of legs. Then again, drink enough hurricanes and anybody will levitate.

718 St Peter
New Orleans, LA 70116

4. The Court of Two Sisters

613 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
“The Devil’s Wishing Well” at the Court of Two Sisters
The Court of Two Sisters

Rumored to be the location of at least three of Jean Lafitte’s bloody duels and the location of Marie Laveau’s voodoo incantations, the Court of Two Sisters is known for more than just an ample jazz buffet. The site of at least one unsolved murder, the touched have reported seeing fairies and sprites partying in the courtyard. Then there’s the wishing well ominously called “The Devil’s Wishing Well,” a reference to Marie Laveau’s dark arts.

613 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70130

5. Napoleon House

500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Inside Napoleon House
Inside Napoleon House
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

The Napoleon House was supposed to be an exile home for Napoleon Bonaparte. Instead it became a grocery store and front for the New Orleans mafia. Whatever goings-on happened at 500 Chartres St. over the centuries, the resulting angry spirits are well documented. From Civil War soldiers to mafia ghosts and even the ghost of former city mayor Nicholas Girod, there’s no telling what might be served on the side of that delectable pressed muffaletta.

500 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70130

6. Old Absinthe House

240 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70112
Exterior Views Of The Old Absinthe House - New Orleans
The Old Absinthe House
Photo by Skip Bolen/Getty Images

Ghost City Tours always stop at the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon — and with good reason. The original building, built in 1752 and destroyed in the 1788 Great Friday Fire, was rebuilt in 1806 and operated as a grocery and spirits shop for more than 40 years. A haven of illegal hootch during Prohibition, it’s no surprise that in its 215 year-plus history it’s acquired a few spirited regulars. The ghost of Jean Lafitte, Andrew Jackson, and even Marie Laveau have been felt here — there’s also the woman in a long white dress and a child that is so often heard running up and down on the third floor. Have an absinthe frappe at the bar and think on that for a spell.

240 Bourbon St
New Orleans, LA 70112

7. The Jimani

141 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

The Jimani is a sports bar on Chartres Street, but upstairs from the bar there’s a dark and troubled past. On June 24, 1973 at the UpStairs Lounge, an arsonist set a hate fueled fire that trapped and killed 32 gay men who had gathered to celebrate Pride in a community space on the second floor. Mostly members of the New Orleans congregation of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), the first gay church in the United States, the dead were never avenged and justice did not prevail (James Massacci, the owner of the bar at the time, put up his own money as a reward for capture of the arsonist). It’s been said that spirits still haunt the bar with feelings of being forgotten and abandoned.

141 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70130

8. Commander's Palace

1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
Commander’s Palace
Shutterstock

Commander’s Palace is one of the most storied dining experiences in town — you might say it’s hauntingly good. It seems there are a few regulars around the famed turquoise Victorian, from a young girl endlessly coming down the steps to a moody occupant in the ladies restroom to lights flickering randomly in the kitchen. The restaurant’s location across from historic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, where more than 7,000 people were buried, might be one reason some diners never leave.

1403 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130

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