In anticipation of Halloween, the Louisiana Office of Tourism shared spooky personal stories with its Canadian media partners on Tuesday (Oct. 19) at its Haunted Louisiana virtual event.
The diverse and complex history of Louisiana is rich in ghost stories, paranormal activity, and famous hauntings. A ghost tour, a cemetery visit, or a haunted hotel stay are just a few ways to experience Louisiana's most haunted locations.
Along with her Louisiana-based colleagues, Canada’s LOT representative, Joanne Scalamogna took attendees on an adventure to a few favourite haunted spots across the state including Shreveport, Beauregard Parish, The Myrtles Plantation, and New Orleans, which is said to be America's most haunted city.
Shreveport’s Logan Mansion
Located in Northwest Louisiana, Shreveport is the centre of the Ark-La-Tex region where Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas meet.
It is the home of one of the most haunted and majestic 1897 Victorian-style homes, The Logan Mansion.
Today, this home is host to some of Shreveport’s most unique events, tours and murder mysteries.
Building owner, Lisa Brutto, purchased the 5,000 square foot mansion in 2019 and shared with attendees that it is located in a unique position within a triangle.
The Municipal Auditorium sits directly behind the home and beside it is an open cemetery.
It is believed that these three places share a lot of energy because of a "triangle effect."
“There’s all kinds of things that happen on every single floor, so you can’t really get away from the hauntedness,” Brutto said. “The spirits in the mansion are very positive.”
Spirit-wise, the mansion is known for a young girl, Theodore Hunt, between the ages of 10 and 12, who Brutto described as mischievous and playful.
“She loves messing with the keys. I have to keep my keys in my purse because if I set them out, I don’t know where they are”, said Brutto, amusingly. “But then they show up exactly where I placed them a couple of days later.”
The little girl has been spotted many times on the stairway and attic of the mansion, and it is not uncommon for people driving by to see her through the attic window.
A deal was struck by Brutto with the spirits when she bought the mansion.
“I heard someone walking down the stairs when I was here by myself and I just said, 'Hey, you guys can stay here as long as you want as long as you don’t scare anybody.'"
In addition to its five-star rating and Superhost status, Logan Mansion offers posh accommodations and a hot breakfast. There are four rooms, two of which are available through Airbnb. In addition, there is a Master Suite with a connecting room.
And is there a possibility that you may experience paranormal activity?
According to Brutto, “when guests come here, if you’re open to having experiences, you likely will.”
South to Beauregard Parish's hanging jail
The Gothic Jail of DeRidder, also referred to as the "hanging jail," was built in Collegiate Gothic style and completed in 1914. It is believed to be haunted possibly by the two men that were hung for their crimes from the top of the jail stairwell in 1928.
Beauregard Parish Tourist Commission representative, Marlena Dougarty, shared with attendees that “we have interesting things that happen in the jail" and it’s common to see some paranormal activity on the porch and staircase.
"We think it’s the ghost possibly of the old jailer or deputies that still reside here in our building that like to make their presence known walking these stairs certain times of the night. It’s happened a couple of times on day tours," Dougarty said.
A three-story building, the bottom floor contained the jailer's quarters and his family lived there. Staffers believe the facility is still the family's home, and they want to make sure this remains their home.
"We want to make them proud and keep the building and history alive," Dougherty said.
The Myrtles Plantation
Located in St. Francisville (42 kilometers north of Baton Rouge and 158 kilometers northwest of New Orleans), The Myrtles Plantation is said to be haunted by at least twelve spirits, including a slave named Chloe.
Jennifer Berthelot, director of communications at the Louisiana Office of Tourism, shared with attendees that it is typical to see Chloe wearing a turban to conceal her missing ear as punishment for eavesdropping.
“If you stay in the Myrtles, and leave your earrings on the nightstand, Chloe may take one of them,” said Berthelot.
A tip for ladies planning a trip to the Myrtles - make sure to wear earrings you can afford to lose.
The Myrtles Plantation currently operates as a bed and breakfast with eighteen unique rooms and offers guided tours of historical and mystery interests during the day and into the night.
Final stop haunted New Orleans
Kelly Schultz, senior vice-president, communications and public relations at New Orleans & Company shared with attendees:
“Whether it is our haunted hotels and restaurants, or our cemeteries, or our French Quarter, or our ghost tours that are so popular with tourists, New Orleans is one of the most haunted cities in America," she said.
New Orleans considers Halloween to be a second Mardi Gras celebration.
On Saturday, Oct. 23, the city is excited to host the Krewe of BOO! New Orleans' Official Halloween Parade, a Mardi Gras-style parade that will roll through the streets of New Orleans.
Since the COVID pandemic began, this will be the first Mardi Gras type of parade to be approved where floats will roll through the city. The public is invited to the parade and to follow the safety guidelines.
A lesson in voudou
Sallie Ann Glassman, an author, artist, and business owner of New Orleans Healing Center, who has been practicing Vodou in New Orleans since 1976, concluded the virtual tour and even gave attendees a glimpse of a ceremony.
One of the few Americans to be initiated into Vodou via the traditional Haitian initiation rites, internationally-known Glassman is an initiated Vodou Priestess.
According to Glassman, Vodou is not spooky. Its faith emphasizes the idea that there is an invisible world reflected in the physical world and that by letting go of self-imposed boundaries, one can imagine a world filled with unlimited possibilities.
While Glassman acknowledged that there are bad people out there with bad intentions, she said the practice itself is “absolutely beautiful.”
Glassman offers public ceremonies throughout the year to educate the community and get rid of the negative connotations surrounding the faith.
For more information on Haunted Louisiana, visit here.