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GREAT ESCAPES// HAUNTS OF NEW ORLEANS

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Loa Bar

If you need a break from spooks, head off to the sexy Loa Bar (named for the divine spirits of voodoo) for a glass of absinthe, aka “the mysterious spirit.”

Where to Shop:
Historic Magazine Street is lined with sophisticated shops, restaurants and bars. Hazelnut, a gift and housewares emporium owned by actor Bryan Batt (Sal on AMC’s Mad Men), sells New Orleans toile fabrics based on the actor’s own drawings. Scriptura stocks exquisite stationery and writing accessories. On Pirates Alley, bibliophiles interested in Southern authors and Americana mustn’t miss Faulkner House Books, a tiny shop set in the house where William Faulkner wrote his first novel. Some insist that the author’s spirit still lingers, and they’ve smelled smoke from his pipe on the first floor.

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
By now, you’ll probably want a drink. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop was reputed to be a front for pirate brothers Jean and Pierre’s illicit activities. Lit entirely by candles, the atmospheric pub is said to have several ghosts, including the pirates themselves. Photo: Drinking at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
St. Louis Cemetery #1
When darkness descends, head to St. Louis Cemetery #1, the final resting place of voodoo queen Marie Laveau, renowned for her magical spells and rituals. Visitors write three Xs on the side of her tombstone in the hope that the queen’s spirit will grant their wish. For mystical must-haves, stop by Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo to buy altars or offerings or to have a private reading. (Laveau’s ghost may chime in.)  Photo: Voodoo queen Marie Laveau's grave at St. Louis Cemetery #1
Local Celebrities

Celebrities are just as likely to haunt New Orleans as spirits. The Jolie-Pitts have a house here, as do Sandra Bullock and John Goodman. Pitt commissioned 13 architectural firms to help rebuild the Katrina-ravaged Lower Ninth Ward by building green, affordable houses. Photo: A home commissioned by Brad Pitt

Photo courtesy of AFP/Getty Images

Ghosts in Muriel's Jackson Square
 Every night at Muriel's, a table is reserved for the glittering ghost, should he be in the mood for pecan-crusted fish or an apple-glazed pork chop. Photo: Muriel's pecan-crusted puppy drum
Muriel's Jackson Square
For contemporary Creole cuisine, Muriel’s Jackson Square inhabits the former mansion of Pierre Jourdan. Today, Jourdan is a sparkly light who spends most of his time in the Séance Room (once a bordello and fittingly outfitted in red velvet). Photo: Muriel's pork chop
NOLA Classics
NOLA classics Arnaud’s and Antoine’s have great Creole food and something extra-spectral. Arnaud’s is said to be haunted by Count Arnaud himself (as the non-noble was inexplicably called). He moves silverware and resets the bar if it’s not up to his standards. Try Arnaud’s specialty, shrimp in a zesty remoulade sauce or a spicy alligator sausage. Photo: Muriel's Jackson Square
The Ghost of Père Antoine
Although ghosts usually pop up at night, Père Antoine is a 24-7 spirit, often glimpsed in the quiet, early morning hours. The beloved former pastor of St. Louis Cathedral died in 1829, but his black-robed apparition is frequently seen strolling along the alley behind the church, reading his prayer book. Photo: Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
Brennan's
Start your day with beignets and café au lait at venerable Café du Monde. Locals swear a phantom waiter takes their orders and disappears. When a live waiter materializes, they say they already ordered from Blue, as the supernatural server has been christened. Since Blue doesn’t appear to head off to the kitchen, you’re advised to order from the animate attendant. Or try breakfast at Brennan’s, where the late chef Paul Blange created eggs Hussarde—poached eggs topped with wine sauce and hollandaise—and bananas Foster. Employees insist that chef Blange and Herman Funk, who built up the wine cellar, are keeping watch from the afterlife. Funk even gives them wine recommendations. Check out the Red Room’s eerie portrait of Pierre LeFleur and see if his expression changes from smiling to sinister. Photo: Pierre LeFleur watches over the Red Room at Brennan's.
Hotels
Hotel Monteleone, with its Beaux-Arts façade and glittering chandeliers, is an Old World classic with some otherworldly occupants. A shadowy clock-maker tends to the lobby’s grandfather clock; a locked restaurant door opens and closes; and one boy, who was older when he died, comes back as a 10-year-old to frolic with a young, female spirit. The hotel even has a saying: “Many people who come to the Hotel Monteleone don’t want to leave. Some never do . . . .”  Photo: The Lobby of the Bourbon Orleans
Bourbon Orleans
The gracious Bourbon Orleans is reputed to be the city’s most haunted hotel—no mean feat when more than 35 hotels claim paranormal patrons. Visitors have spied children playing in the opulent halls (though none were registered) and a lonely ghost dancing in the ballroom. In the lush courtyards of Soniat House, Mother Soniat’s spirit wanders over from the neighboring convent to lend a calming presence. Photo: Bourbon Orleans
Most Haunted City in the United States

Considered the most haunted city in the United States, New Orleans was initially a lawless swamp settled largely by murderers, thieves and prostitutes. Add that it’s been ravaged by fire, hurricanes, epidemics and war, and you have the perfect supernatural storm. Fortunately for ghost hunters, its abundant apparitions have excellent taste in hotels, restaurants and bars.

Photo by Nick Martucci

The Crescent City is famed for great food, cool jazz, stunning architecture and a galaxy of ghosts.

By Robin Cherry

Photos by Sara Essex Bradley, Nick Martucci, Vilena Makarica, AFP/Getty Images

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