This past weekend, a couple of friends and I took a weekend trip to one of my favorite cities, New Orleans. We stayed in the Andrew Jackson, a quintessentially French Quarter boutique hotel on Royal Street just one block away from the famous Bourbon Street. We chose the location for its exterior charm (the inside proved to be equally as lovely), as well as its history of hauntings. The present building, erected in 1888, stands on the site where a boys’ public school once operated. In the late 1700s, a fire destroyed the school, killing five young boys who still haunt the grounds.
During our stay, our alarm clock jumped back and forth in varying degrees (based on our cellphones’ satellite time): first it was 30 minutes slow, then an hour fast, and then 45 minutes fast. According to the staff, this was a typical prank. Right before we departed, the morning attendant also asked us if our luggage or things had been moved from their places. Until then, I hadn’t really thought much of it, but as a matter of fact, it had been moved and rearranged. All weekend I’d had trouble finding everything I brought, as my friends can confirm. Furthermore, one of my friends woke up to tapping on our window, and I thought I heard the water running in the middle of the night one night.
Our strangest encounter happened while we were staying in the courtyard. The courtyard is completely closed off from the street – accessible only through the main building. My friends and I were having glasses of wine outside at some point after midnight (probably around 2 or 3 in the morning) and we heard a door slam from one of the hotel buildings. No one was there, though – there weren’t any footsteps, talking, nothing. No one passed us to leave/enter the building. Even after looking around from the steps (from which you can see everything in the courtyard), we saw no one. Apparently the boys are notorious for playing in the courtyard – guests have often complained of the noise of children playing, though children rarely stay in the hotel. According to one hotel attendant, someone complained about a young boy playing basketball in the courtyard, though no one appeared on the security camera.
Café Amelie courtyard
Although our encounters with the children were fairly low-key (strange noises, things moving out of their places, etcetera), the hotel staff had plenty of strange stories to share with us. While my friend was leaving the room, one of the maintenance staff, who was climbing out of the attic (which was right next to our hotel room), was muttering about the “boys causing trouble again.” When my friend asked him about it, he said that the ghosts had been killing light bulbs, only to have the bulbs start working again as soon as the staff went to replace them. Another woman who had worked there said that recently a guest had checked in and upon arriving at his room, had found the door wide open. Nervous that someone already had access to the room, the guest asked for a different one, only to find that door open too. All of the hotel doors lock behind themselves immediately when they are closed, yet the guest and the hotel staff kept finding the doors open, and then soon after, shut.
But by far the creepiest story – Amityville Horror-level, really – came from the morning attendant. One evening, a woman took a picture of the hotel from across the street. She brought the picture into the attendant, who beheld four yellow eyes on the front balcony that stood about children’s height.
In addition to supernatural encounters, we amused ourselves with amazing Cajun food and famous Bourbon Street drinks. We breakfasted at Restaurant Stanley off of Jackson Square, which was worth the hour-long wait. I ordered eggs Benedict with boudin and my friend ordered the bananas foster french toast – both were incredible. We also ate at Croissant D’Or, the French Market restaurant, and the chic Café Amelie right across from the Andrew Jackson hotel. I’ve only been back home for a day and I already miss the food so much. This is my second time visiting New Orleans this summer and I can’t wait for my next trip!