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The Bloody Truth: The Haunted Tale of the Sultan’s Palace

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - For years there’s been a tale making the rounds around the French Quarter about a rich Sultan and his palace.

Legend has it, a mass murder took place inside the Gardette-Lepretre mansion.

The story begins back in 1836 when a luxurious Greek home was built on the corner of Dauphine Street and Orleans Avenue.

A Turkish man, claiming to be a sultan bought the mansion at 716 Dauphine St. from a wealthy plantation owner.

“Immediately, extra locks were put on all the doors.  Heavy drapery was put on the windows, and chain and locks for all the gates”.

Denise Augustine, a New Orleans tour guide with Rob Florence Historic New Orleans Tours recounts the story of this mysterious mansion that’s been passed down for years.

“At night the action began.  The house came alive with music, incense, young women, and bodily pleasures,”  Augustine said.

She said neighbors were suspicious of the “Sultan’s Palace”.  One day their suspicions were dead on.

“One morning a French Quarter neighbor was taking a walk and he noticed blood seeping down the walls, down the steps and onto the sidewalk.  The neighbor summoned the police and what he found was the most vicious massacre they’ve ever seen.  Every man, woman, child was dismembered and body parts were thrown everywhere,”  she said.

Augustine went on telling the tale, “They got to the courtyard and found a grave with a hand protruding out of it.  It was as if the hand was reaching for life itself.”

She said the man buried alive was said to be the Sultan, but there’s a twist.  The man was not actually the Sultan, but the Sultan’s brother who escaped to New Orleans after stealing the real Sultan’s women and possessions.  It’s said the real Sultan hired assassins to kill his brother and everyone in the house.

“This is why it’s now known as the haunted Sultan’s Palace.”

Nearly 200 years later, Nina Neivens owns the palace, which is now broken up into six different apartments.

“I just googled the address and everyone is saying it’s a harem of horror.  I was totally shocked.  I fell in love with this house the moment I saw it.  I was really taken aback and worried that it would affect the property value, but I knew I wanted to own it, ” Neivens said.

Neivens started doing research on the palace.

“Originally, I thought we were purchasing a piece of property.  I didn’t realize we were purchasing a piece of history.  The story of the “Sultan’s Palace” has been sensationalized.  There were not 37 people buried in this building.  The story was told to a historian before the building was even built.

Even though she doesn’t believe the story she will admit there are some odd occurrences in the mansion.

“The only strange thing that happens is the keys keep going missing and they don’t show up again.  It’s weird, but I never feel alone in this building,”  Neivens said.

Haunted or not?  French Quarter tour guides will continue to tell the tale of the “Sultan’s Palace”.

“I believe most of the hauntings have a basis in fact.  We are a city with so much history.  We don’t have to make up stories,”  Augustine said.

This property is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Two apartments are currently available for rent.  If interested contact Nina Neivens at ninaneivens@yahoo.com