A Haunting Visit in New Orleans

Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on 7 Feb 2016.

Last week was the first time I’ve returned to New Orleans in years and when a co-worker suggested going on the ghost tour I was reluctant.  I told the story of my haunted honeymoon and that made everyone accompanying me wanting to go on a tour even more.  I’m glad we booked, we had the most awesome tour guide, Dr. Z., whose knowledge of the city’s history was phenomenal!  I sent him the following story as I’m interested in discovering the history of what my husband and I experienced.

We stayed in the French Quarter around December 27-30, 1977.  Our hotel was on Canal Street but I don’t know the address.  The experiences we had during our visit have stayed with us all these years and we’ve never quite had anything close to that happen to us again.

When we checked in for our delayed honeymoon the front desk employee told us not to open the door to the balcony as the building was old and the condition of the balcony was not safe.  Of course, being young and foolish, I did not heed his warning.  As soon as we put down our bags I was drawn to the door to see the view.  I opened the door with the intention of just getting a better picture but after taking a step or two on the balcony I felt it was safe enough to go to the edge and take pictures up and down the street.  My husband did not accompany me, he stood in the doorway and watched.

When I was done photographing I closed the door and we began to unpack.  We heard children outside the room running and laughing.  There was loud smack on the door which we assumed was made by the kids.  We were ready to go out and explore the city so we opened the door to leave, expecting to see the kids who had been playing but no one was there.  We didn’t really think much about it at the time, we figured they had just gone into one of the other rooms.

We aren’t heavy drinkers so we were not drunk when we came back to the room hours later.  Sometime between 2 and 4 AM we were awakened by the sound of a cannon blast.  It sounded like the annual Gasparilla parade near our hometown so we turned over and went back to sleep.

The next morning we inquired at the front desk what event had occurred in the city in the middle of the night.  The clerk said he didn’t know.  We left for breakfast.  Realizing we were going to run out of film we went back to our hotel room after eating.  Again, we heard children running and laughing in the hall.  Again there was a thump on the door.  Then there was another thump.  My husband opened the door and there was no one there.  An elderly couple was coming out of a room down the hall.  My husband asked them if they had seen children.  They said they hadn’t seen or heard anything.  Creepy, but we shook it off as we were going to see the King Tut exhibit and we wanted to get in line as early as possible.

That evening, we again were awoken by the sounds of cannon fire.  My husband got out of bed, went to the door and opened it.  No noise.  He climbed back into bed and there was another cannon blast.  He went to the balcony door and opened it.  No noise.  I was spooked so he told me that it must be the old plumbing in the building, someone showering or flushing the toilet.  I believed him and went back to sleep.

The next morning the children woke us up.  My husband said he was going to say something to the management.  We dressed as the door was repeatedly thumped.  Again, no one was there when we opened it.  We stopped at the front desk on our way out and my husband told the clerk about the children and the cannon.  His response, “You went out on the balcony, didn’t you?”  My husband said he hadn’t, which was true as I was the one who had.  I felt like a child getting caught with my hand in the cookie jar!  I said, “I only opened the door to get a better picture.”  The clerk sighed.  He said he’d talk to hospitality about the children.  I have no idea what hospitality had to do with the children but I figured maybe the staff had brought their kids to work during the Christmas break.  He had no explanation for the cannon fire.

That night I awoke but not to the noise of cannon fire.  I have no idea what roused me from my sleep but I felt heavy and warm.  I opened my eyes and in the dim light coming through the windows I saw an old man sitting in the chair by the balcony door.  He looked harmless and was staring straight ahead, not looking at us in bed.  I was too afraid to scream.  I just lay there and squinted to watch him as I didn’t want him to know I was awake.  I could hear my heart beating and I wanted to run but I couldn’t move; the only control I had was to open and close my eyes.  He had a beard, cleanly cut, can’t say if his hair was white or grey and it appeared he was in some sort of uniform but it wasn’t ornate.  It was a jacket with maybe brass buttons, and trousers made of the same material as the jacket.  He was deep in thought and somehow I knew he wasn’t going to hurt us.  At that point I was afraid my husband was going to wake up as I didn’t want a fight in the room.  I just wanted the man to leave but I had no idea how to make him go.  Just then the cannon blast occurred.  My husband sat up in bed and the man was gone.  I completely fell apart!  I cried as I explained what I had just seen.  Fully awake the cannon blasts were loud and clear, it was not due to old plumbing.  We had planned to leave at 5 AM to return home but we had had enough – we quickly packed and went to the lobby to check out.  It was about 4 AM so the man and cannon fire must have occurred about 3:30 AM.  My husband told the desk clerk we were leaving because of the noise.  I asked him if our room had ever been reported as haunted.  His bored reply, “All the time.”  I sputtered that there had been a man in the chair.  He just shook his head in agreement.  My husband recommended that visitors be warned.  He said, “The whole city is haunted.”

Apparently so, after taking the Haunted Ghost Tour last week.  Some stories were sad, some were brutal – man’s inhumanity to man is just disturbing! If I discover who was haunting our hotel room I’d like to gain a better understanding of their lives.