Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hotel Monteleone - New Orleans, LA (The Naked Ghost and the Carousel Bar)

214 Royal St.
New Orleans, LA 70130

            I have received numerous e-mails over the years from people planning to visit New Orleans, wanting to know where the most haunted hotel to stay is. Folks visiting the Crescent City want to absorb as much culture as possible during their trip and what better way to begin their incredible vacation to such a unique city than spending their nights in a haunted hotel. As you have already seen, and will continue to notice, the list of hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts is quite long. Incidentally, the order in which they are placed regarding the severity of paranormal activity has long been disputed. For fear of being tarred and feathered by the rest of the paranormal community, I avoid issuing an official ranking but I can definitely give you the top two. One of which is the previously mentioned Bourbon Orleans, and the other is the Hotel Monteleone.
            The Hotel Monteleone has long been noted as one of the top hotels in the city and is also one of the longest family-operated places to stay. The story begins with a successful Sicilian cobbler by the name of Antonio Monteleone. As with many optimistic foreigners of the time, Antonio had heard of the grand opportunities that were available in the new world. Antonio quickly hopped on his chance at making a new life for himself and his family and moved to New Orleans sometime around 1880 and opened up a small shoe shop on Royal Street.

            Although the cobbler shop was successful, Antonio had much bigger plans and was looking for just the right opportunistic move to make it big. He didn’t have to wait long as in 1886 he purchased the sixty-four room hotel on the corner of Royal and Iberville Streets. Initially named the Commercial Hotel, the building would soon become a landmark for the city. The first of five major expansions took place in 1903, with thirty rooms being added. The largest renovation took place in 1908 when three hundred rooms were added and the hotel’s name was changed to the iconic Hotel Monteleone. 
            In 1913, Antonio passed away and the hotel was inherited by his son, Frank Monteleone. In 1928, another major renovation took place with two hundred rooms being added. By 1954, the hotel was beginning to show its age and was in need of some major remodeling. In order to do so, the
A shot of the world famous Carousel Bar.
original main building had to be completely demolished to make room for new facilities and cocktail lounges. The hotel is well known for its ever-so-popular Carousel Bar which was installed in 1949. The bar is one of the top places for tourists to visit, as the twenty-five seat bar slowly turns at a rate of one revolution per fifteen minutes. Although an ingenious creation, I can only imagine what tricks the bar must play on patrons who have had one too many. Take a seat, have a quick drink or two yet when you stand up, you are led out in a completely different direction. I’m sure the turning of the bar also does not help those who feel that the room was already spinning!

            Today, the Monteleone Hotel remains as one of the largest and finest hotels to stay at in New Orleans and is continuously family owned and operated. The hotel has served many celebrities and literary notables such as Ernest Hemmingway, Truman Capote, Anne Rice and John Grisham. With such an illustrious history, it is no wonder that the Monteleone is said to be one of the most haunted hotels in the Big Easy!
            The hotel is said to be haunted by numerous spirits left behind from its many years of existence. One of the most prominent hauntings is that of a young boy, presumably around ten years
A look at the beautiful lobby of the Hotel Monteleone.
old. The young boy, named Maurice, is reportedly the son of Josephine and Jacques Begere; a wealthy couple who stayed at the hotel in the late 1800’s. Their room was on the thirteenth floor, yet after years of superstitious guests, that floor is now known as the fourteenth floor. During their stay, the couple left Maurice with a nanny while they went to the opera. It is said that upon their return, an accident occurred with the horse-drawn carriage and Mr. Begere was fatally thrown from the cart. His wife is rumored to have died shortly thereafter, presumably of a broken heart. Although Maurice did not perish during this time period, his residual energy from that tragic event caused a near doppelganger effect, as the energy from that day plays back like a tape recorder. A young etheric double of Maurice paces the floor in a panic, with the hope of located his deceased mother and father.

             It is quite strange how these types of residual energies can manifest. For an event to be so tragic that it is played back in time over and over is hard to fathom. I once read of a story where a woman received a phone call, telling her that her son was killed in war. From that point on, every year on the anniversary of his death, the woman would see the doppelganger of herself walking down the hall, answering the phone and reacting to the horrible news. This was not an intelligent spirit, as it was simply the residual energy emitted from an intense event. This concept truly takes us to all new
Rooftop sign.
levels of thinking. In a modern world where we study quantum physics, worm holes and the possibilities of a holographic universe and multi-dimensions, this idea of residual energy and these etchings in time are truly mind blowing. Personally, the sheer thought of our lives being a mere hologram makes my head spin worse than the Carousel Bar!

              Now that I have you really scratching your heads, let’s return to the hauntings of the Monteleone. The fourteenth and seventh floors are said to be the most active areas of the hotel. Some feel another prominent spirit that resides here is the ghost of the original owner, Mr. Antonio. Others have reported the sounds of a spectral singer, as disembodied singing can be heard down the halls and from unoccupied rooms. In a stranger incident, a guest claimed to have seen a naked male wearing only a Mardi Gras mask. In what must have seemed like a freakish scene from The Shining, the barebacked fellow turned and vanished into thin air! Other odd occurrences have been the elevator, which seems to stop on the seventh and fourteenth floors for no apparent reason, unexplainable cold spots and strange sounds when no one else is present.
               As you have seen, the Hotel Montelone boasts quite the history and definitely is worthy of being ranked amongst the top in regards to haunted places to stay. It would be hard to decide if the Monteleone or the Bourbon Orleans holds the title as most haunted hotel, but I can guarantee that whichever one you decide to stay at, you will not be disappointed. After surviving a night of burning the midnight oil in the Big Easy, withstanding the vertigo-inducing Carousel Bar and not being run off by a naked ghost wearing a Mardi Gras mask, then my friends, you have earned your paranormal investigative wings!

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