New Orleans, LA – Jackson Square Ghosts

Many cities have a “power center,” where major buildings have always been built, and significant historical events took place.

New Orleans' French Quarter cathedral
New Orleans’ French Quarter cathedral

In New Orleans, that place is Jackson Square. From the haunted Cathedral and Presbytere, to Pirates Alley and the ghost of Jean Lafitte, as well as the eerie spirits at Le Petit Theatre, this two-block area has over a dozen documented hauntings.

Jackson Square was the site of an early prison, in addition to several executions.

It was also home to an early New Orleans church, destroyed by a fire.

The park’s ghosts manifest as figures, floating lights, fragrances, and even the somber chanting of the “Kyrie” by the spirit of an 18th-century priest.

When I was in New Orleans in July 2005 (shortly before Hurricane Katrina), Jackson Square was a focal point of my ghost research, with very good results.

Below, you can see one of my best digital pictures; one copy is enhanced.

nola-jackson-square-1 Jackson Square ghost orbs

The copy on the left is exactly as I took it, looking through the Jackson Square gates at Decatur Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

On the right, I’ve adjusted the contrast to suggest (faintly) the statue in the center of Jackson Square, and the haunted cathedral behind it. (That’s the same cathedral as the one in the photo near the top of this article.)

There were no colored lights to cause the red and blue orbs on the right. Do those colored shapes represent the uniforms of the soldiers who were once stationed in buildings at this spot?

These vivid spheres of color appeared in several photos that we took over about ten minutes, along with the more classic “ectoplasm” shapes.

For those who insist those orbs are from high humidity: see my photo near the top of this page. That’s a flash photo taken nearby, with the same camera, in even more humid conditions. As you can see, that photo had no orbs.

I knew that I’d get some great evidence of hauntings at this park… just not this good.

In addition to Jackson Square’s many ghost stories, there is something especially odd about the gate where we took our photos.

Even with dozens of tourists passing, you’re likely to feel surrounded by an eerie silence at Jackson Square. For all its beauty and popularity, Jackson Square seems too quiet.

If you visit New Orleans’ famous French Quarter, I highly recommend an evening visit to the Decatur Street side of Jackson Square.

If your photos are like mine and others’, you’ll be very pleased with the results.

New Orleans, LA – Brennan’s Red Room Ghosts

Brennan's red roomBrennan’s Restaurant on Royal Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter is well respected as a world-class restaurant. “Breakfast at Brennan’s” has become a Louisiana tradition for visitors as well as locals who enjoy fabulous food in a relaxed but elegant setting.

Upstairs at Brennan’s, the Red Room is famous for its ghosts.

According to a legend dating to the 18th century, Monsieur Lefleur calmly went out one morning and arranged for three funerals. Upon returning home, he killed his wife and his son before hanging himself from the sturdy chandelier in the center of the Red Room.

Portraits of the three decorate the walls of that room.

It’s unclear if M. Lefleur’s ghost is among the spirits at Brennan’s charming restaurant, or if the Red Room is haunted by the ghosts of the murder victims, Mme Lefleur and her son.

Day or night, you can feel a “cold spot” over the lovely fireplace in the Red Room, using just your hands. (Before you decide you’ve felt a “cold spot,” make sure it’s not a downdraft from the chimney. If it’s a chilly day or evening, ask if the flue is open.)

In addition to the cold spot, the portrait of M. Lefleur seems to change expression every time you glance at it. I took several photos of the portrait, but as M. Lefleur’s smile changed to a sinister grimace, my camera had problems and the pictures turned murky.

Below, you can see a series of my photos taken one evening in July 2005. I had to increase the contrast on the right two so that the face could be seen online. Other than that, I did not alter them at all. They are all the same portrait.

M. LeFleur brennans-face2brennans-face4


Yes, this is one of those “either you see it or you don’t” set of images. Not everyone will see the changes between the pictures. Some will blame it on the lighting. (It also helps if you’ve seen the portrait in real life, so you know have a frame of reference for these photos… no pun intended.)

As I watched, Monsieur Lefleur’s face seemed to change from posed to vulnerable (or perhaps younger), and then a troubled grimace tightened his lips. It turned slightly sneering, and slightly distasteful. Finally, he looked anguished or perhaps angry… even sinister.

If you dine at Brennan’s — which I highly recommend — and have an opportunity to visit the Red Room, keep checking the portrait of M. Lefleur and see if his expression changes.

The painting’s transformation isn’t as dramatic as the special effects at Disney’s “Haunted Mansion” attraction, but I wonder if Brennan’s painting inspired Disney’s imagineers.

(If the Red Room isn’t in use, Brennan’s staff may allow visitors upstairs to see if the Red Room is active with ghosts.  The room is usually haunted, but even ghosts take a break now & then.)

Brennan’s is among New Orleans’ most haunted sites, and M. Lefleur isn’t its only spirit. The restaurant is haunted by a dedicated former chef, as well as an old woman who paces the corridor outside the Red Room.

Brennan’s serves some of the best food in the world. If you want to splurge on one elegant meal while you’re in New Orleans, Brennan’s is the place to go.

(When you’re there, you may see movie stars a adjoining tables. Be discreet. Don’t stare or ask for autographs. Just enjoy your meal… and the restaurant’s ghosts.)

Brennan’s Restaurant, 417 Royal Street — in the French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana. Phone (504) 525-9711.

Brennan’s Red Room and exterior photos are courtesy of Brennan’s Restaurant (c)2005. The three photos of the Lefleur portrait are (c)2005 Fiona Broome.

The changing facial expressions are courtesy of Monsieur Lefleur’s ghost, New Orleans, Louisiana.