Thursday, September 15, 2016

French Market Inn - New Orleans, LA (The Baroness and the Bloody Handprints)

Photo courtesy of
501 Decatur St.
New Orleans, LA 70130

            A quick stroll down Decatur Street and you will quickly see this is the busiest street in the French Quarter. With plenty of two-way traffic, street performers, artists and horse carriages, it’s hard to stop and smell the roses; or shall I say the horse manure! In the 1800’s this area was also known as a rough and rugged place, not always housing society’s finest. Located close to the river, this area was a regular hangout for thieves, prostitutes and other unfortunates of the time. Ironically, this area is also home to the picturesque Jackson Square. As you wander down Decatur, amidst the commotion, you may encounter an interesting little inn, rumored to have some very unique paranormal activity.

            The French Market Inn was built as a private residence sometime in the early 1800’s; many feel the exact date was around 1830, yet the sign below suggest a date of 1833. The home was originally built for Baron Joseph Xavier de Pontalba, the husband of successful business woman Micaela Leonarda Antonia Almonester, also known as Baroness Pontalba. Her fortune and long property list is still evident today as the well-known Pontalba Building that sits next to Jackson Square was built by her.
            The building is now operated as a successful inn. With over one hundred guestrooms, many of which still showcase the original exposed beams and brick walls, this is a great place to stay as you are in walking distance to many of the city’s landmarks. When picking a place to stay in New Orleans, location is everything. What may be ten blocks during the day seems a whole lot longer when you are drunk at three in the morning!
            Many guests that have stayed at the French Market Inn have walked away with more than just a good night’s rest. Numerous ghostly encounters have been reported here such as the sounds of disembodied footsteps and voices, unexplainable cold spots, misty figures being seen and doors opening or closing on their own. In the
One of over a hundred rustic guestrooms.
most unusual of reports, there have been several claims by guests that when they awake, they find bloody handprints on their bed sheets. Now, don’t get me wrong, many of us have had some wild nights in the French Quarter, but not wild enough to where I wouldn’t remember getting covered in blood. I’ll be the first to admit, hearing these stories, I was a little skeptical myself as the event did seem far-fetched. I would be curious as to if this would happen again, try and find a way to have the fluids analyzed to see if they are, in fact, human blood. My luck, I would stay here for the night and awake to find blood all over my pillow, only to find that someone was also murdered in the room next to me. Try explaining that one to the cops! “Officer, it’s not what it looks like. It was the ghost, I swear!” Hey, if O.J. can get off “red-handed”, no pun intended, why can’t I?

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