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?


  1. My husband & I stayed at French Market inn during Mardi Gras in 2011. The historic hotel sits across from the river and centrally located in the French Quarter. We literally walked everywhere among the crowds of celebrating people.

    Our room was on the top floor at the corner. The room was small but honestly all we used the room for was to sleep and shower. At night we dragged ourselves to the room to sleep. At around 2am we were awakened by footsteps on the wooden floor above us. Like boots or hard sole shoes. Back and forth back and forth. Sometimes we could hear a radio playing zydeco music. The first night we thought it was hotel workers staying in the attic because of Mardi Gras. Right outside our room was a ladder to a small door right above our door. Storage attic area right? We stayed there for about 5 or 6 nights and every night was the same thing. We never complained because that’s just not us. When we checked out we exchanged the usual pleasantries and I did mention we heard them in the room above us. The clerk had a strange look on his face and called the manager. I thought “oh no I’m getting someone in trouble with my big mouth”, not the case. The manage wanted details, I gave him all the details and he said that the area above our room is not storage or a place a person can walk around. More like a crawl space to gain access to electrical etc.... most likely it was a ghost!!

  2. Stayed in the French Market Inn this past weekend, nov 8 - 10, 2018. We were exhausted from walking and enjoying the French Quarters all day. We had an inner room rm. 234 there were no windows and the only light was from the red numbers on the alarm clock. My wife was sound asleep when I was waken up by the lamp mysteriously clicking on. When I opened my eyes the lamp clicked off. This happened twice. After the second time I noticed a large black presence flash across the top part of the wall. I didn't feel threatened, the presence didn't seem hostel. The next morning I asked the desk lady if anyone has mentioned anything about a presence or entity in the rooms. After asking me what room I was staying in, like that may make a difference, She said yes but not that often, every two months or so. I was curious to what they experienced. She said, They got touched but no one really complained, they just reported it, as A Matter of Fact. After pondering what she had told me, I felt short changed, Why wasn't I touched? True story

  3. We stayed here the last 3 nights. Did not know it was haunted until researching it this morning. We experienced cold spots the entire time. We kept turning the heat on and off. We heard someone rattling the door in the middle of the night so my husband got up to look out the peep hole to an empty hallway and our door bent open and ajar. I saw a black streak going from the room out toward the balcony twice. We thought all of this was random and were not aware of it being haunted until reading this blog. Beautiful hotel, we would stay here again.