Tag Archives: new orleans

Court of Two Sisters New Orleans

The Enchanted Charm Gate at the Court of Two Sisters

Court of Two SistersThe Court of Two Sisters is a restaurant in the French Quarter offering the most delightful courtyard to enjoy a meal. Here, the wisteria trees have interlocked and connected, creating a natural canopy over the courtyard that brings the space alive with sunlight peeking through the leaves.

The name Court of Two Sisters originates from the previous owners, two Creole sisters named Emma and Bertha Camors.  The two sisters (born in 1858 and 1860) spent their entire lives together, and, according to history and local lore, they died within months of each other and were buried side by side in 1944 at St. Louis Cemetery #3 in New Orleans. The ghosts of both sisters are often seen throughout the restaurant, both inside the building and strolling around the courtyard.

Locals insist that they have seen fairies dancing about in the trees and around the beautiful fountain in the center of the Court of Two Sisters. They say that you can see them day and night and that there are many elementals, fairies, and sprites that have lived in this courtyard for hundreds of years.

There’s true magic to be found at this location, both in the courtyard and at the entrance of the restaurant on Royal Street.

Charm Gates1Waiting for you at the entrance of the Court of Two Sisters are charm gates, given for the building by Queen Isabella II of Spain. These gates were blessed with magic and are reported to be lucky. It is said that if you touch them, you will be the recipient of their charms. The iron on the gate is cool to the touch, and the restaurant has attached small blue lights to it, which drape around the gate.

Over the years, hundreds, maybe thousands, of young women have touched these gates, with their wish being to find true love. More than any of the other hands that have touched these gates hoping for thousands of favors and wishes to be granted, it is the wishes of the young girls that have left the strongest impression on these charmed gates. It appears that the purpose of the gates is to help people find true love.

If you are looking for a place to get engaged, have a wedding reception, or celebrate an anniversary, I believe that the Court of Two Sisters is one of the most magical and enchanted sites in which to conduct such a ceremony or celebration.

For more stories from the other side, Join Kala Ambrose, author of Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends and Cities of the Dead, as she takes you back to her roots to discover the Spirits of New Orleans.

At Arnaud’s get a meal, a museum visit and a ghost story!

Arnaud As you step off Bourbon Street and round the corner to Arnaud’s, you instantly feel as if you have stepped back in time and are preparing to dine like a real Creole. Founded in 1918, a French wine salesman named Arnaud Cazena built the restaurant.

A variety of private dining rooms, as well as a museum filled with New Orleans memorabilia on the second floor, are inside. The museum includes elaborate Mardi Gras costumes worn by Count Arnaud and his daughter, Germaine Wells, who reigned as queen over 22 Mardi Gras balls, more than any other woman in the history of Carnival.

Ghost Sightings at Arnaud’s Restaurant

There have been hundreds of paranormal sightings at the restaurant, including a ghostly gentleman standing near the beveled glass windows, who has been seen by employees. At first the tuxedo-clad man is noticed standing alone. When approached, he immediately disappears. Most believe that it is Count Arnaud checking in on the restaurant.

Others report seeing a woman wearing a hat exiting the ladies’ room and crossing the hall, where she then walks into the wall and disappears. There have been so many reports of this sighting that investigations were held to determine the original structure and layout of the building. It was discovered that this area once had a staircase where the wall is now placed. The ghostly woman is simply walking to the stairs from the time when she was here; in her world, there is no wall there to block her entry. Some believe this ghost to be Germaine, the daughter of Arnaud, who still enjoys the restaurant as well. She reportedly also appears in the museum by her costumes and has been seen in her ghostly form at various Carnival balls each year.

Arnaud New OrleansBeyond the supernatural sightings reported by local diners, tourists, and waitstaff, Arnaud’s reports that even its CPA experienced a ghostly visitation in the restaurant when he was alone one evening conducting inventory. While he was working, he  noticed a strong drop in temperature in the room. As he felt the cold chill overtake him, he became aware of a presence standing behind him. Turning around, he found himself alone in the room. The CPA was in the Richelieu Bar at the time, which is one of the oldest standing structures in the restaurant, dating back to the late 1700s. In a building still standing for several centuries, there is the opportunity for a wide variety of hauntings over its incarnations. Over the years, so many different ghosts have been seen and felt at the restaurant that not all of them have been identified by name.

When dining at Arnaud’s, try the Oysters Bienville with shrimp, mushrooms, herbs, and seasonings in a white wine sauce; it’s elegantly delicious!

Join Kala Ambrose, author of Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends and Cities of the Dead, your travel guide to the other side, as she takes you back to her roots to discover the Spirits of New Orleans.

Three Haunted Must See in New Orleans

Jean Lafitte’s Bar

New OrleansIf you want to hang with the locals, catch a Saints game at Jean Lafitte’s Bar, where you’ll hear what’s really going on in the city of New Orleans. Try the Voodoo Daiquiris, which are made with fruit juice and are much tastier than some others you’ll find on Bourbon. They are so delicious that I’ve been known to try many of them—for research purposes, of course.

Some people report seeing red eyes floating over the fireplace area inside the bar. There are also tales of a woman who appears in a mirror. The charming bar is lit by candlelight, and you’ll feel transported back in time. Anyone with psychic abilities will pick up on the energy of the place. Paranormal researchers also come away with a variety of orbs and mists appearing in their photos.

The Napoleon House

Napoleon House New OrleansWhen Napoleon was captured and imprisoned on the Isle of Saint Helena, a group of Frenchmen in New Orleans began to plan his rescue.  They decided to acquire a yacht and sail to the Isle of Saint Helena, where they would participate in a daring rescue and bring Napoleon to New Orleans to live out the rest of his life. One of the men involved with this plan was Nicholas Girod, the mayor of New Orleans from 1812 to 1815. Girod offered his home to Napoleon to live in upon his arrival. Many meetings regarding the rescue attempt were discussed here at Girod’s home, which began to be referred to as the Napoleon House.

For more than 200 years, it has served locals and travelers alike with food and drink, while maintaining its historical significance. Regarding the haunted history of the house, more people are apt to tell you that it has been haunted more by living artists and writers.

Try the Pimm’s Cup, a gin-based drink, while at the Napoleon House. The recipe remains a secret, and it’s tradition to try one. The Sazeracs made here are wonderful as well. You can buy the mixes to make Pat O’Brien’s hurricanes and Pimm’s Cup at home, but everyone says (and I’ve tried it myself and agree) that they never taste the same at home like they do while in New Orleans. So it’s best to leave the making of these cocktails to the professionals.

Beethoven, a fan of Napoleon, composed “Eroiqua” in honor of the emperor, and the classical music is played today in the Napoleon House. The Napoleon House has appeared in movies, including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Runaway Jury.

Antoine’s

Antoines Restaurant New OrleansAntoine’s is a family-owned restaurant that opened in 1840 and has been offering exemplary service and French Creole  cuisine since its inception. With more than 14 dining rooms, the restaurant is capable of holding up to 700 guests at a time.

Several of the dining rooms are named after the Carnival krewes, which include Rex, Proteus, and the 12th Night Revelers. A krewe is an organization or club that puts on a parade or special event during Mardi Gras season.

One of the reasons that the restaurant is thought to have been so successful is the legend that every family member involved in Antoine’s restaurant has encountered the ghost of Antoine in one form or another. Reportedly, he looks after the restaurant and keeps a watchful eye on the operations to ensure that the finest quality is still being preserved. Guests and some staff members have also reported seeing the ghost of Antoine. By all accounts, as long as there is an Antoine’s restaurant, Antoine himself will be there to look after the staff and the guests.

To be part of the in crowd at Antoine’s, ask to be seated in one of the back rooms when calling for reservations. You will be dining with the locals.  It’s the custom here at Antoine’s that if you enjoy a particular waiter, you can ask for his card to ensure that you can book a table with him on future visits.

At Antoine’s, you must try the Pommes de Terre Soufflés, which are the most delightful puffed potatoes! They come out hot and puffy, and they must be eaten immediately to savor them. Once they are cooled, they are not the same, so enjoy them quickly.

When dining at Antoine’s, the waiters will recommend that you take a tour after your meal and walk around the other rooms of the restaurant to take in the sights. Take them up on this offer, as it’s wonderful to see the history, including photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Judy Garland, Pope John Paul II, Presidents Roosevelt and  Coolidge, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and others who dined here.

Join Kala Ambrose, author of Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends and Cities of the Dead, your travel guide to the other side, as she takes you back to her roots to discover the Spirits of New Orleans.

 

 

A Loving Legacy at the Cornstalk Hotel

The Cornstalk Hotel — A Story of Love and Ghosts
by Kala Ambrose

Cornstalk HotelThe Cornstalk Hotel was originally built as a home in 1816 for Judge Francois Xavier-Martin, who is best known in Louisiana as a former chief justice for the Supreme Court. The home was designed according to his wishes, but records show that several homes had previously been built on this property, beginning in 1730. Each of the previous homes had been destroyed by fire, most likely by the two Great Fires of New Orleans—the first that destroyed 90% of the French Quarter and the second that destroyed more than 200 buildings. The records of who owned the homes before Judge Martin are missing (some were destroyed by fire), but it is assumed by most historians that several families lived at this location over the decades.

A cast-iron fence resembling cornstalks

The tale of the haunted Cornstalk Hotel begins with a husband’s love for his wife. In 1834 Dr. Joseph Secondo Biamenti purchased the home for himself and his Iowa bride. He ordered a cast-iron fence to be installed around the property. In New Orleans, lovely homes with cast-iron balconies and fences are features found in great abundance on every corner of the city, so the chosen material on its own is not what has made the Cornstalk Hotel famous.

What causes this building to stand out in the French Quarter is that the cast-iron fence resembles cornstalks, as if one was looking out at a field of corn made completely from cast iron. Each column of the fence is anchored with a pumpkin. Climbing up each iron post are vines, leaves, and flowers, until you reach the top of the post, where cornstalks are partially open to display the kernels of corn inside.

The effect is whimsical, and the artisan must have worked long hours to shape iron into such delicate and intricate pieces, which include a butterfly landing on the front gate. The good doctor loved his wife dearly. Knowing that the swampy soil in New Orleans would never allow a field of corn to grow, he did the next best thing he could to bring an Iowa cornfield to his wife: He designed a unique fence that would remind her of home whenever she looked out the window.

Architecturally, the hotel is fascinating. It is listed in a multitude of travel guidebooks as a must-see location to photograph in the city. This hotel meets that list for other reasons, too, including the legends of ghosts haunting the building. Guests have reported hearing children laughing as their footsteps pitter-patter back and forth inside the house and outside.

There are also reports of hotel guests hearing the sounds of someone tapping on the window, only to find no one there when they pull back the curtain. They also report doors opening and closing in the middle of the night.

Cornstalk Hotel iron fence vibrates with energy

Cornstalks Hotel2At the hotel, I was psychically drawn to spend time outdoors rather than inside. The iron fence is quite captivating, and there is something almost electric about it. Iron was used in cemeteries, as it has a reputation of keeping spirits inside the area surrounded by iron or preventing them from entering an area surrounded by an iron fence, as ancient tales state that spirits are not able to cross over iron fences and gates.

This particular iron fence vibrated with an energy that I had not noticed elsewhere in the French Quarter. The fence emanated a blue hue, as if it was magnetized with an energy field. It had the look and feel of a spell, as if someone who knew what they were doing had magically placed a charm on the fence for purposes yet unknown.

As I tuned into the fence to determine what energy had been placed there, I followed the blue auric field and saw that it surrounded the property. Protective spells had been placed in this field to shield the hotel from any harm. The hotel certainly has a warm and welcoming feel about it. If you are standing in front of the fence from the street and want to see this blue energy field for yourself, you’ll find that the left side of the fence has the most energy, as if it wants to protect itself from energy coming from that direction. On the right side, the energy field is much more open and relaxed, appearing to not detect any harm coming from this side. This right side of the property is where the ghost boys are most often seen playing on the lawn.

As I continued to study the fence and the supernatural energy attached to it, I had the distinct feeling of being watched. I looked up at the hotel and saw a woman looking out at me from an upstairs window. I gave a friendly wave to her, thinking she was a guest, until I noticed that she was wearing a dark dress with a lace collar at the neck and had her hair pulled back into a tight bun. My first thought was that she was dressed in period clothing, perhaps for an event at the hotel. This thought soon vanished, however, for as I stood there looking at her, she disappeared into thin air, except for one of her hands, which remained there at the window for a few moments longer. She appeared to me as someone who was very protective and inquisitive about the comings and goings at the hotel.

Kala AmbroseMy encounter with the woman was very brief. She was quite a distance away, as I was outside near the fence looking up and she was upstairs inside the hotel, so there wasn’t a strong connection. The one thing I did feel strongly, however, was that she was not the wife of Dr. Biamenti. This woman appeared to be dressed more in the style of the late 1700s rather than the mid-1800s, when Dr. Biamenti and his wife lived in the home. Most likely she was an occupant of one of the previous homes that burned down.

About the author: Kala Ambrose is an award-winning author, national columnist, inspirational speaker, and host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Radio and TV Show. Kala Ambrose’s teachings are described as discerning, empowering, and inspiring. For more haunted tales from New Orleans, check out her book Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends and Cities of the Dead. 

 

Saint Expedite

Saint Expedite brings swift relief to those who ask

Saint Expedite
Our Lady of Guadalupe

It is said that offerings to the saints, just like Voodoo gods, are expected when asking for a favor or wish to be granted. Saint Expedite, a saint whose statue is inside Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in New Orleans, is no exception.

Locals claim, that Saint Expedite prefers wine, rum, and sweet cakes, with a special penchant for pound cake. Offerings are not allowed at the chapel, so many people slip a small piece of paper with their prayer under the statue and then visit the gravesite of Marie Laveau with their offering, asking her to deliver it to Saint Expedite.

If you would like to ask Saint Expedite for a favor to be granted, consider printing out his photo and placing it on your alter while lightning a red candle and saying this prayer that was given to Kala Ambrose, author of Spirits of New Orleans:

Oh Mighty Saint Expedite,
Bring Swift Relief to My Problem At Hand.”

Saint Expedite
Saint Expedite

Then explain your situation and problem. Say the prayer three times and don’t forget to offer a piece of cake and rum in offering. The luckiest day of the week to say this prayer is Wednesday, which is associated with the planet Mercury, the messenger, and on his Feast Day, which is April 19. Many practitioners state that once Saint Expedite answers your prayer, it is very important that you do a good deed or make a donation in his name.

If you visit the church to slip a small paper with your prayer under the Statue of Saint Expedite, please consider making a donation to the church, for they have to look after his statue and care for the surroundings, making it possible for you to visit.

Saint Expedite is perhaps the most photographed statue of any saint in the city of New Orleans, as many believe that his photograph helps one intercede directly to him in prayer.

Read all about the story of Saint Expedite and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends, and Cities of the Dead by Kala Ambrose.

Kala Ambrose
Kala Ambrose

About the author: Award winning author, national columnist, inspirational speaker, and host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Radio and TV Show, Kala Ambrose’s teachings are described as discerning, empowering and inspiring. Whether she’s speaking with world-renowned experts on the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show, writing about empowering lifestyle choices, reporting on new discoveries in the scientific and spiritual arenas or teaching to groups around the country, fans around the world tune in daily for her inspirational musings and lively thought-provoking conversations.

Kala shares her love of history, travel and the spirit world in her books Spirits of New Orleans and Ghosthunting North Carolina. Her books are designed to explore the history of cities in an entertaining manner while sharing haunted stories and offering travel tips on how to best see the cities to shop, dine, stay, and visit the haunted sites.

 

 

Cold Lonely Nights in New Orleans

Blog by Keen intern Sarris Balcerzak based on a story from Spirit of New Orleans by Kala Ambrose.

December of 1850 was a cold winter for New Orleans. Julie was visiting her extremely wealthy lover in the comforts of his Royal Street apartment—he had not yet married. He treated Julie as well as any man with an octoroon mistress could be expected to, he gave her gifts, set her up in her own cottage, and she visited him frequently.

photoJulie desperately wanted to marry the man she loved and this conversation led to many fights. One day, her lover told her that if she stripped naked and stood on the roof—in the sleeting rain—all night and into morning, that would prove her love for him (for love would keep her warm, he said) and he would agree to marry her despite his father’s wishes—and fortune. If she failed, she would stay his mistress.

Now, Julie’s lover never expected his mistress to take the bargain seriously. He couldn’t imagine she’d think of standing outside given the weather conditions, much less stark naked. So he went downstairs to play cards with other wealthy men and gave the matter no more thought.

He returned to the bedroom late that night to find it empty. He searched the house for Julie, to no avail. Finally, he found her: lying naked on the roof, cold and completely void of life.

Rumors suggest that her lover died of heartache just one year later. Many guests of the house, however, have seen Julie. Sometimes she’s nude with hallowed eyes filled with intangible despair, other times she’s dressed in a nightgown reaching as if to embrace her lover. Her love for him never ended, she remains in the house searching for him. Others report seeing a young man playing cards. The two are never seen together. It’s as if they are still searching for each other in the afterlife. It appears that they are both caught in moments of despair, trapped by their fateful circumstances.

As time went on the house transformed into the Bottom of the Cup Tea Room—a famous psychic shop—employees of this place said Julie’s mood goes sour every December. You can still visit the location that once housed the lovers and was once the “most reliable psychic shop in town.” Be sure to pick up your copy of Spirit of New Orleans by Kala Ambrose for other ghostly tales.

 

Marie Laveau a New Orleans Legend

Marie Laveau: The Woman, The Legend, The Queen

Ask anyone who has ever paid the slightest attention to the world of Voodoo what they know about the subject and chances are that the name Marie Laveau will be the main topic of discussion.  Regarded as the queen high priestess of Voodoo in New Orleans, Marie  Laveau was respected by all who knew her.  Her reputation was so revered that even her enemies thought twice before taking her on in any manner.  Marie was a free person of color and regarded as one of the best hairstylists in town.  The majority of her clients were the wealthy French women in the city, who were said to adore her.  She quickly gained their trust and confidence by making poultices and spells that helped with the pain of childbirth, as well as making women more fertile so that they could conceive more children.  On the flip side, when some women came to her no longer desiring to have children, she provided contraception methods that helped them achieve those goals as well.

Marie Laveaux
Tomb of Marie Laveaux

While Marie and other practitioners like her provided the mundane practice of Voodoo to clients, delivering potions and gris-gris bags as needed, the more elaborate rituals were held in the swamps outside the city as well as at Bayou St. John, where spiritual ceremonies were conducted (including the high priestesses dancing naked to a powerful rhythm of drums while handling large serpents).

In her book Spirits of New Orleans, Kala Ambrose dedicates an entire chapter to legendary Voodoo Queen Marie Laveaux including a list of places to visit such as Marie Laveaux’s grave,

Spirits of New Orleans
Spirits of New Orleans

About the author: Award winning author, national columnist, inspirational speaker, and host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Radio and TV Show, Kala Ambrose’s teachings are described as discerning, empowering and inspiring. Whether she’s speaking with world-renowned experts on the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show, writing about empowering lifestyle choices, reporting on new discoveries in the scientific and spiritual arenas or teaching to groups around the country, fans around the world tune in daily for her inspirational musings and lively thought-provoking conversations.

Kala shares her love of history, travel and the spirit world in her books Spirits of New Orleans and Ghosthunting North Carolina. Her books are designed to explore the history of cities in an entertaining manner while sharing haunted stories and offering travel tips on how to best see the cities to shop, dine, stay, and visit the haunted sites.

Exploring the Mighty Magic Mojo of New Orleans

Catch up with AHRT author Kala Ambrose (Ghosthunting North Carolina and Spirits of New Orleans) as she revisits her October book tour through The Big Easy. She will take you to the French Quarter, to unique shops and bookstores, and even to the Anne Rice Ball. You can read her full article HERE.

Spirits-of-New-Orleans-lo-res

Madame LaLaurie: Fact or Fiction?

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America’s Haunted Road Trip author Kala Ambrose has just posted a great article on her blog, Explore Your Spirit with Kala, where she discusses the presentation of Madame LaLaurie on FX’s American Horror Story: Coven. Madame LaLaurie is covered in-depth in Ambrose’s book Spirits of New Orleans, both her history and the rumored ghost stories behind it all.

In Spirits of New Orleans, Ambrose states that “more horrific activities have occurred at this home [LaLaurie’s] over the years and no one is ever able to rest easy in the home. The house appears to have a “presence,” an entity that has developed from all the torture and misery experienced in the home. The entity seems to have an effect on all who stay in the home, leading many of them to do dark deeds of their own.”

In the article, Ambrose claims that “as to Madame LaLaurie, she is buried in New Orleans, where she reportedly is still at rest, unlike her resurrection in the first episode of American Horror Story: Coven.”

Check out the entire article here, and then decide for yourself whether or not American Horror Story: Coven’s portrayal of Madame LaLaurie is fact or fiction! If you are interested in knowing the rest of the story behind all of the characters being portrayed in American Horror Story: Coven, you can dive into the rich history and infamous spirits of New Orleans with Kala Ambrose’s book, Spirits of New Orleans.

Spirits-of-New-Orleans-lo-res