Death in a sunny clime–New Orleans

Museum of Death
227 Dauphine Street
New Orleans, Louisiana

For details on other hauntings on this street see my “Street Guide to the Phantoms of the French Quarter—Dauphine Street.”

So many of the buildings of the French Quarter have exuberant, life-giving architecture. Lacy ironwork, medallions, fluted columns, and fanlights add their own organic touches to buildings, however, the building housing the Museum of Death lacks those touches and is, well, architecturally dead. Here there is nothing but angular lines without any frilly curves or decorative flourishes. And, it is certainly appropriate. To make a point in all this death, a skeleton stares out of the rather blank rectangular window above the entrance.

Museum of Death New Nrleans
The Museum of Death building provides a great contrast to its more decorative neighbors. Photo taken in 2023 by Infrogmation, courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Museum of Death started in sunny California; certainly, a place that is life-affirming, which only makes tragic death even more shocking. In 1995, Catherine Shultz and her husband, J. D. Healy compiled a collection of morbid artifacts, opening a museum in San Diego in 1995. Their collection includes a range of macabre items ranging from mortuary training videos, crime scene photos, and coffins to furniture and clothing associated with the 1997 Heaven’s Gate mass suicide. One of the most grotesque items is the head of French murderer, Henri Landru, which was separated from his body with a guillotine in 1922.

In 2014, the museum opened this location in New Orleans where the sunshine is interspersed with rain which adds a verdancy to the landscape. Perhaps death doesn’t seem as out-of-place here, but the building’s architecture is still jarring. The museum exhibition at this location includes Dr. Jack Kervorkian’s suicide machine amongst the strange, bizarre, and morbid.

Museum of Death New Orleans
Closeup of the entrance to the Museum of Death, 2023, by LittleT889, courtesy fo Wikipedia.

On a recent Reddit post, a museum visitor notes that the atmosphere inside the museum feels quite odd, “You can feel the vibe change as you walk through the door.” They continued, “You can definitely feel it. Some people feel dizzy, others take a quick see and leave, twice I’ve seen people walk in and straight back out. Your experience will be very interesting to say the least.”

It’s not hard to imagine that the museum is haunted by an array of negative and strange vibes, which would be altogether appropriate for a Museum of Death.


Where ghosts are just another service—New Orleans

For details on other hauntings on the street see my “Street Guide to the Phantoms of the French Quarter—North Rampart Street.”

French Quarter Courtyard Hotel & Suites
1101 North Rampart Street
New Orleans, Louisiana

There are ghost stories to be found among the thousands of reviews on sites like TripAdvisor. Back in 2011, a couple staying at the French Quarter Courtyard Hotel & Suites found that the hotel offered everything they wanted, but threw in some ghosts to round out their experience. On one morning, the young woman awoke to see “about 6 or 7 round happy faces just watching us sleep.” After rubbing her eyes, the figures were still in the front room. When she looked again, “there they were, smiling, turning their heads from side to side, just watching us sleep.”

New Orleans Courtyard Hotel & Suites
New Orleans Courtyard Hotel & Suites in 2013, by Infrogmation, courtesy of Wikipedia.

She told her partner the next day about her experience and he laughed at her, thinking her to be crazy. The following morning, he awoke to have the same puzzling experience. The guests seemed to have enjoyed the hotel and all it has to offer, including the ghosts.

The hotel occupies a home that was long known as the Dupaquier House. The home was designed by G. A. D’Hemecourt in 1879 for Dr. A. Dupaquier and his family who lived in the home for many years. In 1971, the home was reincarnated as a jazz club where many modern greats including Ellis Marsalis and his son, Wynton performed. The club was renovated and reopened as Menefee’s Restaurant in 1982.


A hotel on edge–New Orleans

Best Western Plus French Quarter Courtyard Hotel
920 North Rampart Street
New Orleans, Louisiana

For details on other hauntings on the street see my “Street Guide to the Phantoms of the French Quarter—North Rampart Street.”

Tile North Rampart Street marker New Orleans
Tile North Rampart Street marker, by Infrogmation, 2007, courtesy of Wikipedia.

The atmosphere of a room on the second floor of the Best Western French Quarter Courtyard Hotel remains on edge. The tensions and negative energies left over from a shooting that happened some years ago still echo in this hotel on the edge of the French Quarter.

According to author Allen Sircy, in the 1970s a wealthy businessman picked up a pair of young hustlers and brought them back to his hotel room to take advantage of their services. When the hustlers attempted to rob their client, he produced a gun shooting and killing both young men. He was arrested in their murder but was let off pleading self-defense.

A longtime hotel employee told Sircy that while the hotel doesn’t advertise itself as being haunted, guests staying in the particular second-floor room have had a variety of experiences. One guest reported that she heard footsteps around her bed before she felt someone climb in with her. Jumping up, she turned on the light to reveal that she was entirely alone.

A search for the details of this murder have so far been fruitless.


  • Sircy, Allen. Southern Ghost Stories: New Orleans. Amazon Kindle edition. 2023.