Taking a Haunted History Tour
CHERYL GERBER PHOTOGRAPH
“You know, people ask me all the time why the French Quarter is so haunted.” Daphne Schobert, tour guide for Haunted History Tours in the French Quarter, says. “Is it because it’s really old and a lot of people died there? Well, that’s part of it. But that is certainly not all of it.”
Each night Schobert leads her pupils down St. Peters Street to the back of St. Louis Cathedral and up Pirates Alley.
It is in this alley that you begin your decent into not only the haunted, but also the gritty history of New Orleans. Since the city’s beginning in 1718, it has experienced many tribulations including war, yellow fever and hurricanes. Because of that, Schobert believes the city is one of the most haunted places in the country; “New Orleans was born in tragedy, grew up in tragedy and tragedy creates emotional attachment, and emotional attachment creates most hauntings.”
On one crisp Tuesday evening, I began my two-hour walking tour of some of the most haunted areas of the city. The streets every New Orleanian has walked their entire life became the site of tragedy, scandal and hauntings. Each location we walked to had a story of tragedy or loss and each had visitors experience the paranormal. Some stories lean towards the gore and violence, like the home of Madame Delphine LaLaurie, and may be unsuitable for the faint of heart. The LaLaurie mansion, the Andrew Jackson hotel, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop and many more all make appearances during the tour.
The Haunted History Tour company has been providing tourists and New Orleanians alike tours throughout the city for 20 years. With New Orleans being a hot tourist destination and considered to be one of the most haunted places in the country, owner Sidney Smith saw the perfect market in 1995 to open what’s now the oldest and arguably the most popular walking tour company in the city.
Tours run daily at 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. concurrently with the seven other tours the company has to offer (Vampire, Voodoo, Cemetery, Scandal, French Quarter History, Garden District and Garden District Ghost tour).
“Because we all are so unequivocally connected to this city, that gets up in our blood, to the core of our very soul, when we die,” Schobert says, “there’s a really good chance that we don’t want to leave our home behind.” See you on the tour – one way or the other.