New Orleans Myths and Urban Legends: The Ghosts of St. Louis Cemetery and the Vampires of the French Quarter

dark clouds looming over the above-ground brick and cement tombs of New Orleans' St. Louis Cemetery


Long before New Orleans earned its moniker as the Big Easy and before the French claimed the land, indigenous people called the area Balbancha (land of many tongues). New Orleans or Balbancha evolved for centuries, accumulating diverse cultures and developing its unique and powerful allure.

For as many good times as the city has had, the land has witnessed an equal amount, if not more, of horrors, including colonization, slavery, wars, and natural disasters. Throughout it all, New Orleans’ enduring legacy of bizarre and often unexplainable occurrences sprouted myths and urban legends that carry an immense weight that people can still feel today.

The media, film, television, literature, and tourism industries have and continue to capitalize on New Orleans lore to entice curious minds with sensational tales of ghosts, voodoo, and vampires.

The Vampires of the French Quarter

Vampires are perhaps the best-known urban legend in New Orleans, and many locals believe in the existence of the parasitic night walkers. The city is even home to an organization for self-identifying vampires, the New Orleans Vampire Association.

Tales of vampires are vast and date back centuries before Anne Rice penned her bestselling gothic novel, “Interview with the Vampire.”

The Carter Brothers

One of these tales is about two dock-working brothers from the 1930s, John and Wayne Carter. As the story goes, the brothers were vampires and spent their nights roaming the streets for victims. Eventually, they were arrested and executed. While no legal records support the story, some believe the tale is true, and the brothers are still very much undead.

The Count of Saint Germain

Rumors of vampires are countless in New Orleans. The most infamous vampire legend is the mysterious case of Jacques de St. Germain, also known as the Count of Saint Germain. The Count was reportedly born sometime between the late 1600s and early 1700s and reappeared in New Orleans society as Jacques de St. Germain during the early 1900s. Germain passed himself off as a descendant of the original Count of Saint Germain.

Germain quickly became the toast of New Orleans, but on one frightful night, a young woman reported to police that Germain was a vampire and had attacked her. The police went to Germain’s home and questioned him about the allegations. Germain explained to the police that the young woman was intoxicated. Nevertheless, the police asked him to visit the station in the morning to give a formal statement. Germain never arrived and vanished that night without a trace.

Numerous sightings of a peculiar man known as Jack have occurred throughout the years to the present day, and there are those who believe this strange man named Jack is the Count of Saint Germain looking for his next victim.

The Casket Girls

The Casket Girls, pale from their journey, arrived in New Orleans in 1728. The young women became known as Filles a la Cassette for their casket-shaped coffer chests. They were to stay with the Sisters of the Ursuline Convent until finding marriage.

However, the Casket Girls were viewed as outcasts, and due to their mistreatment, French officials decided that they should return to France. The Sisters of the Ursuline Convent went to find the girls and help them pack their coffer chests, but the girls, along with their possessions, had vanished. All that was left were the empty coffer chests.

Following the Casket Girls’ sudden disappearance, they faced accusations of being vampires. From time to time, and especially on foggy nights, visitors of the French Quarter have witnessed pale-looking young women lurking around the old Ursuline Convent they once called home.

The Ghosts of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

New Orleans is known as the Cities of the Dead for its many above-ground burial sites. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, established in 1789, is the oldest extant cemetery in the city and is the reported home of many ghosts.

Henry Vignes

Henry Vignes, a wayward sailor, would stay at a boarding house in New Orleans awaiting ships. All Vignes had to his name was his family tomb information. While Vignes was at sea, the crooked owner of the boarding house sold Vignes’ family tomb. As it were, Vignes died not long after and was given an unmarked burial in the pauper’s section of St. Louis Cemetery No.1.

According to legend, Vignes still wanders the cemetery looking for his family’s tomb, asking visitors if they know where the Vignes tomb is, only to then vanish into thin air.

Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau

The most famous resident of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. is Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. Many cemetery visitors believe they have seen Laeveau’s spirit strolling nonchalantly between the labyrinth of tombs.

Visitors often stop by Laveau’s tomb in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. with an offering and a wish, hoping she’ll see the desired wish to fruition from the afterlife.

Additional haunted locations in New Orleans include Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.

Stay at the Maison Dupuy Hotel

One of the best ways to discover the haunting tales of New Orleans is by staying at a hotel in the middle of it all. The Maison Dupuy Hotel is ideally situated in the heart of the French Quarter. Make a reservation at the Maison Dupuy Hotel today.



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