New Orleans’ Museum Of Death And Ghost Bar Are A Perfect One-Two Punch
New Orleans is a great place for ghost hunters, spooky chasers, and lovers of all things paranormal. The incredibly vibrant city is rich in history and culture. Springtime is a gorgeous time to visit the city. The temperatures are mild, and humidity hasn’t made the air feel thick yet. This city was designed to be enjoyed outside. Jackson Square breathes with sights and sounds of music, and so many restaurants and bars have porches, verandas, or courtyards to appreciate the cool breeze.
Around every corner is a different ghost or cemetery tour. Two of the more unexpected attractions, however, are often overlooked. Go to the Museum Of Death located right in the heart of the French Quarter and then stop in at the Ghostbuster-themed Ghost Bar just a few blocks away for lively conversation, reasonable drinks, and a real ghost story or two. This combo is a nice mix of fun and macabre and even gives you some of New Orleans’ backstory. Start at the museum and finish with drinks once the sun goes down.
Located on Dauphine Street, the Museum Of Death is open seven days a week and is a singular experience not for the faint of heart. The museum, which feels like the bizarre love child between the Faces Of Death movies from the ’80s and a chilling true crime documentary, is a cultivating if disturbing experience. Filled to the brim with actual evidence, court documents, and photographs, it invites you deep inside the minds of many of the most infamous killers. Easily the most unsettling is a collection of hand-drawn instructions from David Berkowitz, otherwise known as the Son of Sam. For history buffs, there is an entire section on Hollywood suicide and death set in a funeral home reenactment complete with velvet-lined pews.
The self-guided tour typically takes forty-five minutes to an hour to go through and leaves you utterly paranoid. For those interested in death, there are taxidermied animals, gruesome car crash photos, coffins, and shrunken heads. The true crime space is where it shines, though. Charles Manson’s family photo and accounts of cannibalism can all be found here. Antique mortician’s equipment is an interesting addition that reminds us how far medicine has come. It is a gruesome slice of history that is as fascinating as it is creepy. It’s a surreal place for those who like dark tourism.
Easily hours could be spent reading through the copious documents if you can stomach it. Less scary than unnerving, The Museum Of Death leaves you thoroughly creeped out. The looping film in the funeral home space is an excellent place to take a load off and sit down for a while. The museum is open from 10:00 am- 6: 00 pm every day, and the price of admission is $17.00 plus tax. Please be aware photography of any kind is strictly forbidden inside the museum and is enforced.
Ghost Bar is just a few blocks over for a complete change of pace. This open-air bar on Iberville Street is filled with fun neon ghost cartoons and Ouija board tables. Cardboard planchettes are used as coasters, and the drinks are delivered well-blended and perfectly balanced by the friendly and knowledgeable staff. This popular bar hops six days a week from 5:00 pm to close, only taking Tuesdays off. The beautiful dark wood bar is a good place to meet new people and watch the bartenders do their stuff. My favorite concoction is the S’Mores Martini that comes with tasted marshmallow garnish. If you aren’t sure what to order, ask the bartenders. They won’t steer you wrong.
It is a wonderful oasis from the chaos blocks away on Bourbon Street. It is still full of energy but has a more grownup vibe than the often overwhelming signature street. All of their specialty drinks come with smoke or unique garnishes, which are unlike anything you have ever tasted. The Cereal Killer tastes exactly like Fruity Pebbles, and the glass is rimmed with crushed sugary cereal. It’s a cheeky nod to all the serial killer memorabilia you just immersed yourself in. You can watch a football game in the fall with an enthusiastic crowd, and if you are hungry, there is a full menu of snacks and pizza to soak up all that alcohol.
Ghost Bar isn’t just a ghost-themed bar; it has historical significance and a dark backstory in the city. On an unassuming plaque outside the bar, the details of a terrible fire that acted as the catalyst for the LGBTQ movement in New Orleans are presented. On June 24th, 1973, a fire was started in the Upstairs Lounge, killing thirty-two people. This tragedy spawned what would become the LGBTQ gay rights movement. When I asked the bartender if their Ghost Bar was haunted, he said while there have not been any aggressive displays of paranormal activity, there are unexplained happenings. Stacks of cups tip over, and the faucet turns on without explanation. I did not experience anything weird while at the bar, but there is a palpable mischievous feel that permeates the space as if something is watching, waiting to pull a prank.
New Orleans is known for its food, but its culture shouldn’t be overlooked. So come to the Big Easy and eat your fill of oysters, fish, and lobster. You can drink and dance the night away, and if you love all things spooky, make it an afternoon with the New Orleans Museum Of Death and Ghost Bar.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.