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Best places for ghost busting in New Orleans, America's most haunted city



New Orleans is often cited as being one of America's most haunted cities. Whether you're a believer in the spirit world or not, there's something decidedly eerie about walking through one of the city's famous cemeteries, the dead interred on top of the swampy ground instead of six feet under.   The city served as a historic entry point for the country's slave trade, was a major stomping ground for pirates, and was the birthplace of voodoo. Add in the mix of African, French and Spanish traditions and superstitions, and the stage is set for otherworldly visitors. 

The city has capitalized on its ghostly population. Realtors advertise when a historic home for sale is haunted, although there's an often-told story about a certain Nicholas Cage being unable to live in his famously haunted, now ex-abode in the Quarter.   There are lots of tour options to explore and exploit the city's sixth sense, some running at night, many with rambles through old tombs in the famous St. Louis Cemetery #1, the final resting place of voodoo queen Marie Laveaux – or is it? Whether you like your tours over the top and theatrical or more historic, there is an experience for you. Most cater to kids and families, but some include stops for adult beverages in haunted pubs.


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Ghost City Tours


Consistently making it to number one on popular tourism social media sites says something. Maybe it's because Ghost City Tours works with super guides, expert yarn spinners who stop short of melodrama. Then there's the Ghost of New Orleans tour, which is good for families with kids of all ages, another plus. Some tours are for the grown-up ghostbusters only, including the Haunted Pub Crawl. Then there's the Killers and Thrillers Tour and the Dead of Night Ghost Hunt Experience, good for keeping the 16 and over crowd engaged and interested. Whether chasing down ghostly lore in cemeteries, dive bars, theaters or haunted mansions, Ghost City Tours delivers.

Recommended for Ghost Tours because: Ghost City Tours offers thoughtful commentary and late-night ghost hunting.

Beth's expert tip: Check the website for special discount codes that can save you 10 percent.

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Spirit Tours offers a wide range of walking tours, but the Ghost Tour draws the biggest crowds. Leaving from Rev Zombie's Voodoo Shop at 723 St Peter St. each evening at 8 pm stops include the famous St. Louis Cemetery with its voodoo queen grave and forays into the history of slavery and the city's yellow fever epidemic. The guides do a bang-up job of translating legendary stories of misfortune, disasters, and disease as the backdrop for all kinds of ghosts and spirits walking among us. Storytelling is the focus, without the use of elaborate costumes or scare-tactics. The walking tour covers some ground, so best wear your comfy shoes.

Recommended for Ghost Tours because: This company has a well-deserved reputation for authentic commentary.

Beth's expert tip: Choose from two options: a walking ghost tour and ghosts and graveyard bus tour.

Read more about Spirit Tours New Orleans →


Historic New Orleans Tours


Historic New Orleans Tours' Haunted French Quarter Walk makes sure to hit all of the "most haunted" city's hot spots. You will venture to the Lalaurie Mansion, hear about the phantom of the Orleans Hotel, and shiver over the tale of the witch that makes her home at the French Opera - a tale of spurned young love getting even. The tour operates rain or shine, leaves from Bourbon Street and lasts around two hours. These tours don't trade in theatrics, but the guides are some of the most knowledgeable and informative on the circuit. Unlike some tours, the guides love taking questions which makes for a lively way to spend a few hours.

Recommended for Ghost Tours because: The emphasis is on historic tales, not the sensational kind, giving this company a strong niche.

Beth's expert tip: A great value at $25 for two hours, most of these tours are led by local residents.

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Ask Arthur Tours
Photo courtesy of Ask Arthur Tours


If you're looking for the average walking tour, then move along. But if you want to delve deeper into local culture and lore, with commentary powered by a curious mind adept at arcane facts and in-depth research, then you've come to the right place. Arthur Morgan Smith is the gentleman behind Ask Arthur Tours, a retired New York ad-man and Tulane grad with a penchant for uncovering the most interesting bits about New Orleans, a place he's called home, on and off, for decades. The names of his tours are the first hint: Seldom Seen Cemeteries, Bards & Barflies of Bohemia,and Marigny Happy Hour all sound tantalizing, yes? Eschewing the usual ghost tour approach, Smith dives deep into Voodoo/Afro/Catholicism on his St. Louis Cemeteries No. 1 and No. 2 tours, points out haunted sites on his French Quarter tours and adds tidbits about 19th-century Afro-Creole Spiritualism in New Orleans, seances, mediums, that sort of thing.

Recommended for Ghost Tours because: Ask Arthur delves deeply into the city's spirited leanings.

Beth's expert tip: Ask Arthur about extending your St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 tour to include St. Louis Cemetery No. 2, the city's second-oldest graveyard.

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Gray Line New Orleans


Gray Line offers a very solid Ghost & Spirits Walking Tour that takes participants on a deep journey through the city's major haunted locales by night. You may meet the ghosts of the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, and be introduced to a full cast of ghouls that reside in the Vieux Carre. The two-hour tour departs nightly at 7:30 from the Gray Line Lighthouse Ticket office on the riverfront. You'll pass through an old slave exchange and visit the haunted courthouse which is actually the home of today's state supreme court. Don't forget your camera...you just never know who might show up to pose.

Recommended for Ghost Tours because: Gray Line is a solid brand that always delivers.

Beth's expert tip: Gray Line advises that due to scary subject matter this tour is not recommended for kids under 10.

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Bloody Mary offers a fully comprehensive ghost tour that is pretty much unrivaled in the city. As for Bloody Mary herself, she is a New Orleans native who has traveled the globe on spiritual quests, seeking out the paranormal. She offers a three and a half hour tour aided by a luxury van that takes patrons to cemeteries, mortuaries, a haunted bar and voodoo altars. A mini ghost hunt is included where you are implored to channel your inner psychic abilities. Hear the stories of murderess Mad Madame Lalaurie and the Patriot Pirates as you huddle close with your group for comfort.

Recommended for Ghost Tours because: This is a tour for the true believer in the world of specters and the power they can wield.

Beth's expert tip: Ask about this company's haunted pub crawl for extra fun.

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The chills start as soon as you take a look around Lord Chaz's website. A self-made expert on New Orleans ghost/vampire history who became so popular he started his own business, Lord Chaz and his crew bring a Goth, leather biker sensibility to the goings-on around the spirit world. Lord Chaz & Co. offer a nightly walking tour from Bourbon Street limited to 25 patrons that is thrilling, over the top and informative. The tour constantly undergoes adaptation to ensure it stays fresh and can entertain previous guests. Chaz and friends are excellent storytellers, and will never appear cheesy or over-rehearsed.

Recommended for Ghost Tours because: If you are looking to learn a bit about New Orleans' paranormal history in theatrical style, Lord Chaz will deliver.

Beth's expert tip: Get to the meeting point - Johnny White's Hole In The Wall Bar- a little early if you want to steel your nerves with a cocktail.

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The Haunted Mortuary


The Haunted Mortuary on Canal Street is certifiably home to a cadre of spirits according to a number of paranormal experts around the country. The original goal of the current owner was to turn the building into a haunted house, but during construction, the former funeral home was found to already be haunted. During the Halloween months, the space operates as a haunted house, but for the rest of the year, it is open for ghost tours and overnight paranormal readings. The building operated as an actual mortuary during the 20th century and was also abandoned for a period of time during the 90s, at least by humans.

Recommended for Ghost Tours because: What's not to like - a haunted house inside a real haunted house?

Beth's expert tip: This is a popular seasonal attraction leading up to Halloween so get your tickets in advance.

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French Quarter Phantoms


The French Quarter Phantoms Ghost & Vampire Tour is constantly battling it out with Haunted History Tours for the top ghost tour in town, and if your stay is long enough it would be worth doing both. Created after consulting with the National Paranormal Society, these tours are historically accurate, yet exciting experiences for groups of families and adults. Given rain or shine, these wanders last just under two hours, and cover about a mile walked over a leisurely pace. This isn't the tour for you if you want melodramatic hauntings, instead, the fright factor comes from the dark truths shared by a corps of excellent guides.

Recommended for Ghost Tours because: A diverse offering of tours combined with consistently well-rated guides adds up to a winning experience.

Beth's expert tip: Book online to save $3, you'll pay $17 instead of $20.

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With Haunted History Tours, you have options. Ghost tours, vampire tours, cemetery tours; pick your poison. The tour guides will laugh and haunt you through two hours of exploring the French Quarter's darker history. The highlight of the itinerary is visiting voodoo queen Marie Laveaux's tomb, located in the city's oldest burial ground, St. Louis Cemetery #1. The tour's meeting place is a voodoo shop, just to set the mood. If that doesn't do it for you, maybe the Travel Channel saying they offer the "#1 Tour in New Orleans" will. You'll have the chance to quench your thirst along the way at one of the city's haunted bars.

Recommended for Ghost Tours because: This company does a great job mining the city's sordid past.

Beth's expert tip: If it's a theatrical experience you are looking for, the guides for Haunted History fill the bill.

Read more about Haunted History / Ghost Tour →


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Meet Beth D'Addono

Beth D'Addono is a food and travel writer obsessed with flavor, exploring cultures, street music and the city of New Orleans.

Beth writes about New Orleans and other destinations for outlets...  More About Beth

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