Real Haunted Places: New Orleans St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

Living in New Orleans, it is hard to pick one place to focus on since the city boasts an abundance of haunted locations! 

I’m going to go with St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 for the number of reported ghost sightings there. But also because the cemeteries here are so unique with their above-ground tombs (built as a result of the city being below sea level). They have an otherworldly look to them before you even hear about some of their ghostly legends.

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is the oldest existing cemetery in the city and was established in the 1700’s. It was initially built to be away from the population as a response to concerns that disease was spreading from the city’s main cemetery in the French Quarter, but as the city grew, the area around it became more developed. It is now considered to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in the United States.

One of the cemetery’s most famous tombs belongs to Marie Laveau, also known as the “Voodoo Queen.” Many believe that by leaving offerings and drawing X’s on her tomb (now technically illegal) she will grant their wishes. Her spirit is said to haunt the cemetery, and people have reported being pinched or slapped near her grave. There are also reports of hearing drums and chanting, and seeing the spirit of Marie wandering the paths of the cemetery or appearing with her boa constrictor “Zombi” around her neck. 

Other ghost sightings are said to include that of Henry Vignes, a sailor who trusted the owner of the boarding house that he lived at with his important papers while he was at sea. Part of the entrusted paperwork included Henry’s family tombs, which the owner decided to sell in his absence! Henry died shortly after his return and had to be buried in an unmarked grave in the pauper’s section of the cemetery. Visitors have reported encounters with a tall blue-eyed man that inquires if they know where the Vignes tomb is. It is also said that his spirit has been caught on camera and that EVPs have been recorded of him saying, “I need to rest!”

Another regular is said to be the ghost of a young boy named Alphonse. Encounters describe him stopping visitors to introduce himself and ask for help getting home. However, he cries and disappears after being asked where his home is. He is also said to appear near the Pinead family tomb and warn visitors to stay away from it, leading to speculation that he met his demise at their hands. Other sightings report him taking flowers from some gravesites and moving them to what may be his own tomb.

Currently, visitors are only allowed to the cemetery with licensed tour guides because of numerous acts of vandalism over the years. It is on the National Register of Historic Places for its significant art and architecture. So, if you visit and don’t encounter one of the legendary ghosts, you will have many other things to feast your eyes on!


The Ghostwriter of New Orleans
Laura Michaud

Genre: YA, YA Paranormal
Publisher: Pelican/Arcadia Publishing
Date of Publication: 3/28/22
ISBN: 978-1455626243
ASIN: 1455626244
Number of pages: 192
Word Count: approx 55k

Cover Artist: Julie Buckner

Tagline: What if fate got it wrong this time?

Book Description: 

When a boy dies and becomes a ghost in his high school, he creates life-changing consequences for the entire student body when he communicates with his girlfriend by underlining passages in her favorite book in the library.  

But he finds that he also has a decision to make–accept his fate or take a dark path back and start a new life?

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How many times have you forgotten to do something small? Shut a window before it rains? Take your phone with you? Do up a button on your shirt? Grab your homework on your way out the door? On the day that seals my fate, I forget to look over my shoulder.

Right before it happens everything is the same. I get the same rush of freedom that I always get in my stomach when I leave the school parking lot, hit the gas, and make a right turn onto St. Charles Avenue. The same line of live oak trees cast their tunnel of shadows over the street. I see their branches moving, so I turn the air conditioning off, roll my windows down, ignore the text messages blowing up my phone, and turn the Jimi Hendrix music (that I only listen to when I am by myself) way up. The sweat starts to pool up around the white collar of my school uniform, but the feeling of the wind across my face is totally worth it. What I do not know is that this is the last time I will ever do it.

I guess if you asked me what I do know for sure in those last moments I would say that I am a pretty fast runner, I am decent at guitar, and that Margot Cramer is the love of my life.

About the Author:

Laura Michaud grew up with her face in a book, so it was natural that she would spend some time in the publishing industry before becoming a children’s librarian and writer. A native of New York and New England, she has called the amazing city of New Orleans home since 2004. The Ghostwriter of New Orleans is her first novel.

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