Written by Lynsey Oxton
We arrived into New Orleans on a flight from Orlando late morning and took a cab into the French Quarter. The cab pulled up at 919 Royal Street, the Andrew Jackson Hotel. Little had I known at the time of booking our stay that this hotel tops the list of most haunted in New Orleans! It even features on the city ghost tour. To say I was nervous is an understatement.
The history of the Andrew Jackson Hotel.
In 1792 the property was an orphanage and all-boys school for those who had lost their parents during the yellow fever epidemic that ravaged the city each summer. In 1794, a huge fire destroyed numerous houses in the French Quarter, including the orphanage. Five young boys were horrifically burned to death on the site.
After the fire demolished the orphanage, a US Federal Courthouse was built. Major General Andrew Jackson was tried here for contempt of court, shortly after he and his troops defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans. Long story short, Andrew Jackson’s tale is one which ended in an apology being given to him by the court, shortly before his death. The property was demolished in the late 1800s, after which the Andrew Jackson Hotel was constructed in its place.
Before I’d arrived I had read that room 208 is the ‘most haunted’ room, said to be occupied by one of the boys who died in the fire. If you believe what you read, guests have been pushed out of bed, had valuables go missing or woken to his laughter at the foot of the bed. As I checked in, I specifically asked not to be in room 208 (because I’m a wimp) and was told that we would be in room 201. My relief was short-lived when the guy on reception told me that 201 is even worse than 208 and that lots of ghostly goings on have been reported. Yikes.
Unlike the modern lobby, the main ‘house’ was very dated and each stair up to the bedroom creaked – all of which added to my perception that the hotel was most probably haunted. Apparently many guests and staff have reported seeing Andrew Jackson himself roaming the hallways. Fortunately, he didn’t present himself to me!
Our room was a surprise – in a very good way; spacious, massive bed, high ceilings and with a gorgeous private balcony overlooking Royal Street with its jazz buskers and horse drawn carts. Really special.
Naturally (and just to be on the safe side) I tried the age old test to see if any ghostly spirits appeared in my photograph. Thankfully, they must have been camera shy!
The courtyard within the grounds of the hotel was really pretty, with a cute patio area by a fountain. Despite its peaceful appearance, guests and staff claim to have heard the sound of children playing in the courtyard at night, when nobody is around!
Featuring on the ghost tour.
As it started to go dusk, the hourly ghost tours came out. Nothing quite creeps you out like sitting on your balcony only to hear the tour guides talking about the hauntings that take place where you’re staying. But in honesty, it was good fun to play along with the groups who looked up at us on our balcony, some saying (in good humour) that we must be mad!
So…..did I have a ghostly encounter?
Perhaps I have a bottle of wine to thank or maybe I was just lucky/ unlucky – but I can hand on heart say that there was no sign of any spirits (other than alcohol) during my stay at the Andrew Jackson Hotel.
In fact, I had a great nights sleep!