The Bourbon Orleans Hotel, nestled in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter, is a site steeped in history and ghostly tales. Originally not a hotel, its transformation over centuries has left an indelible mark on the city’s cultural and paranormal landscape.
History of the Hotel
The hotel’s saga began as the Theatre d’Orleans in 1815, only to be destroyed by fire a year later. John Davis, an entrepreneur, rebuilt it, and alongside, he constructed the Salle d’Orleans, a ballroom that became a hub for Creole society. The site epitomized the grandeur and decadence of the era, with masquerade balls and high society events marking its calendar.
The Civil War and the ensuing decline of Bourbon Street nightlife led to the property’s next chapter. In 1881, it became a convent, motherhouse, and the first Catholic school for African-American girls in New Orleans, operated by the Sisters of the Holy Family. This marked a significant shift from the building’s previous life, symbolizing a transformation from a place of revelry to one of virtue and education.
In 1964, the Sisters sold the property to the Bourbon Kings Hotel Corporation, which developed the site into the Bourbon Orleans Hotel we know today, preserving the Orleans Ballroom and adding a modern structure to the historic site.
Ongoing Paranormal Activities
Like several other hotels—Hotel Mazarin, Andrew Jackson Hotel, and Hotel Monteleone—in the French Quarters, the Bourbon Orleans Hotel is renowned not just for its luxurious accommodations but also for its spectral residents. The history of suffering, joy, and tragedy within its walls has seemingly given rise to numerous ghostly apparitions:
- Children’s Spirits: The nuns of the Sisters of the Holy Family once cared for sick orphans during a yellow fever outbreak. The laughter and mischief of these children, many of whom succumbed to the illness, are said to still resonate in the hotel’s hallways.
- The Mournful Nun: Room 644 is particularly infamous, with tales of a nun’s spirit, believed to have committed suicide there. Guests have reported seeing her ghostly figure, emanating a mixture of sorrow and kindness.
- The Wounded Soldier: A Confederate soldier, bearing the scars of battle, is often sighted limping through the hotel’s corridors, his presence a reminder of the tumultuous Civil War era.
- The Dancing Lady: In the Orleans Ballroom, the spectral figure of a woman dancing alone under the chandeliers is a common sight. Mysterious bloodstains that appear and disappear on the carpet add to the eerie ambiance
Visiting the Hotel
Located at 717 Orleans Street, New Orleans, LA 70116, the Bourbon Orleans Hotel sits at the intersection of Orleans Avenue and Bourbon Street. This location positions it at the heart of the French Quarter, a neighborhood renowned for its history and cultural significance.
The hotel offers a range of accommodations, including the only loft suites in the French Quarter with balconies providing views of the city’s most famous neighborhood.
Visiting the Bourbon Orleans Hotel offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich history and vibrant culture of New Orleans, but also a chance to experience the supernatural.