From the Confederate soldier spirit-haunted Hotel Provincial to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, resting place of infamous Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, New Orleans has no shortage of ghostly places. And Bonnye Stuart, mass communication, plans to visit most of them – in the name of research and ghost hunting.
The mass communication instructor, a 10th-generation native of New Orleans, one of the most haunted cities in the U.S., will spend summer 2011 taking ghost tours of her hometown and visiting some of the Crescent City’s famously haunted hotels, cemeteries, homes and buildings. She spent part of spring break 2011 touring the city's haunted hotspots. Stuart plans to use her first-hand experiences as material for "Haunted New Orleans," her book of 20 New Orleans ghost stories due out in 2011.
Stuart, who grew up hearing about the city’s many spirits and ghosts, sees a connection between her hometown’s rich history and its reputation as a world-famous haunted hotspot. "New Orleans is a very old city with a lot of old buildings, and old buildings bring with them a past," said Stuart. During her trips to New Orleans, she also plans to search the archives of The Times-Picayune, New Orleans' daily newspaper, for stories related to hauntings in the city.
Although Stuart admits that she generally doesn’t believe in ghost stories, some of her preliminary research – combined with some first-hand eerie stories told by her New Orleans relatives – has made her less certain.
"For a moment there you get caught up in the story," she said. "When you hear about these modern-day people who truly believe they’ve seen or heard something, you start to wonder."
Last updated: 04/07/2011