Marie Laveau’s tomb in St. Louis Cemetery #1 is marked with Xs,
lined with coins, and adorned with flowers, candles and Mardi Gras
The faithful leave their offerings or knock three times on the
front of the tomb in the hopes that the spirit of the city’s most
famous voodoo priestess will look upon them favorably, even though
no one is entirely sure if Laveau is really buried in the old
New Orleans is a city that deals with the sacred and the profane
on a daily basis. It has more than its share of saints, sinners,
ghosts, vampires, cemeteries and voodoo priests and
Take Julie, the Octoroon Mistress, for example, who is said to
haunt the gables of a Royal Street town house on those cold winter
nights. Supposedly, the ghost also haunts the Bottom of the Cup Tea
Room, a fortune-teller’s store below.
Given the supernatural history of the city, perhaps it’s not
surprising then that some locals proclaim it one of America’s most
To get a well-rounded experience of New Orleans’ supernatural
side there are a number of tours and museums that specialize in its
Get Your Gris-Gris
It is estimated that about 15 percent of the city still
practices voodoo as a religion. The New Orleans Voodoo Museum gives
a history from the days of the slave trade, along with interesting
artifacts and a giant python.
John Martin is the museum’s in-house voodoo priest, who is
available to make customized “gris-gris” pouches filled with magic
herbs to meet special needs and solve personal problems.
The museum’s collection also contains a number of items that
belonged to Marie Laveau, including her “wishing stump,” which was
believed to bestow blessings on those who touched it.
Walk ’n’ Learn
There are several companies that specialize in history tours.
Historic New Orleans Walking Tours, Inc. has a good reputation and
has a general history tour of the French Quarter, a Garden District
and cemetery tour, a cemetery and voodoo history tour and a haunted
French Quarter walking tour.
For Anne Rice enthusiasts, Haunted History Tours offers a
vampire tour, which leaves every evening at 8:30 from the front of
St. Louis Cathedral. The tour stops at locales that have found
their way into the author’s books.
Need a Friendly Ghost?
While visitors to New Orleans will never find themselves wanting
for odd characters, some of the strangest can be found on
supernatural tours of the city, which feature tour guides in gothic
Chaz of the New Orleans Ghost Tour, a self-proclaimed vampire
expert, is said to have made more than 45 people faint on his
Proceed with caution.
" Bottom of the Cup Tea Room, 732 Royal St., 504-524-1997.
" New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum, 724 Dumaine St.,
" Historic New Orleans Walking Tours, 504-947-2120,
www.tourneworleans.com, 20 percent commission.
" Haunted History Tours, 523 Dumaine St., 504-861-2727, 15
percent commission or more.
" New Orleans Ghost Tour, 625 St. Philip St. 504-524-0708, $8
commission on $18 ticket.