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Haunted New Orleans

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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


“A Haunted House 2″ is the new supernatural spoof starring funny guys, Marlon Wayans and Gabriel Iglesias.

In the flick, hilarious spine-tingling, and bizarre paranormal events take place.  It’s the sequel to the popular 2013 movie, “A Haunted House”.

News with a Twist’s Kenny Lopez met the actors when they were in New Orleans and took them to the world-famous restaurant in the French Quarter, Muriel’s to see if they would get “spooked”.

According to Muriel’s web site, the story goes like this:

Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan built his dream home restoring it to the original grandeur, for his family and himself. Although Jourdan dearly adored his beautiful home, he was a man that could never quench his thirst for the thrill and excitement of gambling. In 1814 he wagered his beloved home in a poker game and crushingly lost the one thing he treasured most in life. The shock of the loss was so intense, before having to vacate the premises and hand over his beloved treasure, he tragically committed suicide on the second floor in the area that served as the slave quarters-the same area where Muriel’s Seance Lounges are situated today.

Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan is still with us today in spiritual form on the same piece of property that is now Muriel’s. His ghost doesn’t appear in human form, but instead as a glimmer of sparkly light wandering around the lounge. Our Seance Lounges on the second floor are named as such because it is believed that this is where Jourdan spends the majority of his time. Patrons and employees of Muriel’s have also witnessed objects being moved around throughout the restaurant. We believe Mr. Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan never left his true love and home in New Orleans, he continues to reside here to this day.

Although Jordan is considered to be our main resident, he’s not the only spirit amongst us. We also have a slightly mischievous ghost in our Courtyard Bar that roams the property. Three times since March of 2001, glasses have flown from behind the bar 12 feet across to the brick wall and shattered. Perhaps some servants stayed behind to take care of him and go downstairs to throw glasses to release some angst. Other possibilities include previous patrons and owners of the property during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s; or that it’s Jourdan trying to get across to the other side or desperately trying to communicate with mortals he considers to be his family.

“A Haunted House 2″ opens in theaters on Friday, April 18th.

The movie also stars Jaime Pressly, Ashley Rickards, and Cedric the Entertainer.



Stars Marlon Wayans and Gabriel Iglesias visited New Orleans to promote their new flick, “A Haunted House 2″.

While in New Orleans, the comedians went to Muriel’s Restaurant to take a tour of the eatery, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan.

Legend has it that the ghost of Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan still haunts Muriel’s.  Patrons and employees have witnessed objects being moved throughout the restaurant and even glasses being thrown.  It is said that Jourdan became a ghost after hanging himself, when he lost his house in a poker game.  He resided in the spot, where Muriel’s is, today.

News with a Twist’s Kenny Lopez took the stars to Muriel’s and WATCH as Marlon Wayans gets a little “spooky” with the ghost.









The guys who run one of the newer, hip burger places in town started to think that they might be possibly being haunted by the spirit of a woman who died the day after Hurricane Katrina.

Owners of Charcoal’s Gourmet Burger Bar on the corner of Magazine and Jackson streets turned to a popular New Orleans artist to help the woman’s spirit rest in peace.

Charcoal’s opened in early 2012, but before it was built, it was the burial site for Hurricane Katrina victim, Vera Smith.

At the time of her death, Smith was 65 years old.  Smith was killed in a hit and run accident by a drunk driver.  She was walking on the corner of Jackson and Magazine streets one night.  Her body laid in the street for five days.  Neighbors said she bled out into the street.  Authorities ignored her body because it was their priority to tend to the living first in the aftermath of the storm.  Neighbors decided to make a makeshift grave memorial for her because she was well-known in the community.  The makeshift memorial sat on this property until Charcoal’s was built in 2012.

Smith’s body was later cremated and her ashes were taken to Texas and spread on her parent’s grave site.  Although, she’s physically gone, Co-owner of Charcoal’s, Craig Walker said her spirit is definitely still felt.

“I think there’s a strong sense of the after-life in New Orleans.  Many believe in voodoo and spirits here,”  he said.

Charcoal’s certainly hasn’t had it easy.  Business is slow, and there have been plenty of mishaps and problems which aren’t entirely understood.

“Our brand new meat grinder went out the first week we opened,”  he said.

Other mishaps include:  broken waterlines, vandalism, and fighting with the city to open their doors.

Walker said that they want to put all the mishaps behind them and get a fresh start and move forward with success.

“Our message to Vera is our heart and soul is in this restaurant.  We want you to support us,” Walker said.

Walker turned to famous New Orleans artist, Simon Hardeveld, whose gallery sits next door to Charcoal’s to help.  He asked Simon if he could get rid of Vera’s “bad vibes” by building an artistic memorial peace fountain for her, which is now placed outside their building, where she was killed.

“She was not a sad woman.  She had a very good life.  In the neighborhood, everyone knew her and loved her,”  Hardeveld said.

This artist hopes his peace fountain for Vera will make her happy and that Charcoal’s can now be successful.

Apparitions, werewolves, vampires… oh my! You’ve probably heard the tales, but are the ghost stories of New Orleans fact or fiction?

According to Haunted History Tours owner, Sidney Smith, that depends on who you are.

“Some people, I think, are simply more sensitive to paranormal activity than other people are, some people hear it, feel it, see it, experience it on a regular basis, other people never feel anything,” says Smith who considers himself an open-minded skeptic. His knowledge of New Orleans folklore is enough to captivate anyone brave enough to listen.

Whether you are a firm believer or don’t believe in ghosts at all, the well-documented atrocities of the LaLaurie Mansion will chill you to the bone. It is considered the most haunted house in New Orleans. Sidney Smith calls it the “crown jewel” of every ghost tour in the French Quarter. It is at this spot where hundreds of people over a twenty year span have fainted while taking the tour.

“Violent death and strong emotion are often what contribute to hauntings or paranormal activity and we have had no shortage of violent death and strong emotion in this city. It is said rest in peace but what if you can’t,” says Smith.

For more information on Haunted history Tours visit:

While WGNO reporter Vanessa Bolano was investigating reports of hauntings at the Myrtles plantation in south Louisiana, she caught this image on her camera. Watch for Vanessa’s full story on WGNO’s News with a Twist at 5PM on Friday, December 14, 2012.