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St. Louis Cathedral –
Haunted Place: The St. Louis Cathedral Basilica
615 Pere Antoine Alley
New Orleans, LA 70116
The Saint Louis Cathedral Basilica can be
found near the corner of Peron Antone Alley and Chartres Street,
directly across from Jackson Square.
This beautiful 1850 Cathedral Basilica is
the landmark structure of New Orleans, with its two side steeples
and central bell tower with its steeple. It is designed inside
along the lines of traditional large churches of its time, with a
central main altar, two side alters, a beautiful pipe organ, that
has recently been rebuilt due to water damage from Katrina, a
vestibule and other statues of importance, breathtaking ceilings
and lovely decor. The lovely Cathedral Garden can be found behind
the Cathedral-Basilica, on Royale Street.
On this plot of land, there have been 4
churches, built to serve the spiritual and physical needs of the
people of New Orleans. The first structure arose in 1718, a crude
wooden structure, a temporary solution for a people really in need
of spiritual teaching. The second church was a proper building of
brick and timber, which served the people well, from 1727 until it
was burned to the ground during the horrible fire of 1788, which
destroyed most of the French Quarter. But not to worry, the Spanish
built a glorious cathedral, which was finished in 1794, and
declared a cathedral in 1793 by Pope Pius. While the two side
rounded steeples were in this original building, the central bell
tower was commissioned in 1819, designed by well-known architect,
Ben Henry Latrobe, who also designed the White House. The bell and
original clock came all the way from Paris.
By 1849, a larger cathedral was needed for
a growing population. During this 1850 ambitious renovation, the
central tower collapsed, causing the whole cathedral to be redone,
losing much of the original Spanish architecture. However, the new
design was solid and beautiful, creating a house of worship that
has endured over 150 years! This solid, beautiful 1850 cathedral
was upgraded to a basilica in 1964, by John Paul 11.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
St. Louis Cathedral Basilica is considered
by many to be one of the most haunted buildings in New Orleans. It
has long been the center of spiritual worship of God for the people
of New Orleans, and has been blessed with some dedicated people and
priests who have served the Lord with fervent dedication in
The story of Pere Dagobert and the slain
The trouble began in 1764, when the King of
France quietly gave the colony of New Orleans and his Louisiana
property to the King of Spain in The Treaty of Fountainbleu,
neglecting to tell his Creole subjects in New Orleans. Imagine the
alarm when the Spaniards arrived in 1766, took down the French flag
and replaced it with a Spanish one. thinking that they were being
invaded, the people got together, and formed an army, led by 6
prominent, Creole gentlemen. The Spanish at the end of the skirmish
left in haste, escaping to Cuba. In 1769, a fleet of 24 Spanish
ships carrying battle-ready troops and a fiery new governor of
Irish decent, Don Alejandro O'Reily, retook New Orleans. The new
governor had his troops chase down the 6 leaders of the rebellion,
and shot them without due process of law, leaving their bodies in
front of the church.
The new governor forbade anyone from moving
the bodies for burial, but decreed that they were to be left to rot
in front of the church, to teach everyone a lesson. Anyone caught
moving the remains would suffer the same fate. This was abhorrent
not only to the residents and Pere Dagobert, but also the Spanish,
who also were Catholics.
The beloved Pere Dagobert visited this
arrogant, merciless governor twice, pleading to be allowed to give
these men a proper burial. However, the governor refused him both
times, and threatened to shoot Pere Dagobert if he came back again
to ask for the bodies.
Pere Dagobert knew what he had to do, and
he wasn't afraid. During a big storm, Pere Dagobert gathered all
the families, had the remains put into pine boxes, led a funeral,
and sang boldly the mass, in his clear, distinctive voice. He led
the procession down to St. Peter's cemetery, singing all the way,
where the remains were buried in unmarked graves. No one stopped
them. While Pere Dagobert was replaced by the new Spanish monk,
Pere Antoine, brought over from Spain in 1769, q until he died of
natural causes. He was buried under the main altar.
The graves of the 6 men were never marked,
and eventually, the cemetery was closed, and other buildings were
constructed on top of it. Hopefully an attempt was made to move
most the remains, but unmarked graves can't be found easily.
Throughout the years, bones have been dug up inadvertently during
construction projects. Uh Oh!
The story of the Spanish Monk, Pere
Pere Antoine started off on the wrong foot
in every way, being fresh off the boat from Spain, and determined
to establish old world, harsh Catholicism in a new world setting.
Known as the Spanish bigot, he caused pain and trouble. He even
tried to establish a Holy Court of Inquisition in Louisiana, but
luckily failed. All his misdoings and the harm he caused, became a
source of great shame to him, after he underwent a spiritual
renewal, that changed his perception of what his ministry should
Once he found the right path, he focused on
his ministry with all his heart and soul. He became a true
spiritual leader, prayer warrior, counselor, teacher, and had a
vigorous outreach program for the sick, the poor, the imprisoned
and the slaves, working tirelessly for their benefit. He ministered
to Protestants and Catholics or anyone in need, while living a
simple life-style. He died at the age of 81, and was deeply mourned
by the whole city of New Orleans. He too is buried in the
cathedral, and his portrait hangs in the vestibule, giving everyone
a clear picture of what he looked like; A tall, thin man, with dark
brown eyes, a flowing white beard, wearing a traditional black monk
robe and sandals.
He was instrumental in the lives of several
well-known residents, performing the sacraments, teaching and
counseling them;Truly a spiritual father to such parishioners as
Marie Laveau, Madam LaLaurie, & Aimee Brusle.
The story of Marie Laveau
Marie Laveau - Her full story can be found
on the St. Louis Cemetery Number 1 story on this website. Marie
followed two religions:Catholicism: Worship of Jesus, and Voudou:
Worship of the dark powers. She had her bases covered spiritually,
or so she thought. Marie was a devout Catholic, and worked with
Pere Antoine in his ministry to the poor, and the sick. She helped
to nurse yellow fever patients, by the side of Pere Antoine.
Despite her good works, displaying her Catholicism, she was denied
a marked tomb when she died, because of her other darker activities
in her Voudou worship business.
The story of Aimee Brusle
A devout Catholic, daughter of a successful
baker, she grew up under the influence of the good Pere Antoine.
She married a Jewish merchant, Edward Gottchalk, probably against
the wishes of her family, and despite Pere Antoine's advise, who
also may have had an insight into the young man's character. The
marriage turned out to be an unhappy one, as her husband kept a
mistress down the street. She had several children. Her youngest
daughter, Theresa, died of yellow fever. Her son, Louis Moreau
Gottschalk who had inherited her musical talent, was a child
prodigy in music. His father sent him to Paris at the age of 8, to
study with the masters there. He became the first American artist
of great acclaim.
Anna felt trapped, and depressed, but consoled herself by playing
the newly installed cathedral organ, which eased her great remorse
She fought against her depression the rest
of her life, by spending hours in the cathedral-basilica, playing
the organ, while her husband continued with his business and
mistress, and her children grew up.
The story of Ben Henry Latrobe
Ben Henry Latrobe, the designer of the
first bell tower, died before his labor of love was finished. His
bell tower also collapsed during the revamping of the cathedral in
The story of Jean Delachaux
He was the person sent to Paris to purchase
a bell and clock for the original tower. This tower eventually
collapsed, and a new one was built in 1849. While the original bell
was reinstated, perhaps a newer clock was installed, which seems to
be a point of concern for this dedicated soul.
The story of Delphine Macarty
She led a double life; Being a
well-respected, wealthy woman, married to a pillar of the
community, hosting parties for the in-crowd at the time, while
having a sadistic side seen in slave abuse, mutilation and torture.
Her two worlds were destined to collide, after a fire in the
kitchen brought light to what she was doing to her slaves. She and
her husband quickly left New Orleans, two steps ahead of the
authorities, with tattered reputations and ruined lives, taking
respite, some say in Paris. Others say they fled to a friend's
mansion somewhere in Louisiana.
When Madame LaLaurie died in Paris, her
remains were buried in St. Louis Cemetery Number 1, not far from
the family tomb of Marie Laveau.
Pere Dagobert and
the entities of the 6 executed men whose graves were
probably disturbed over time are present in the St Louis
When the St Louis Cathedral-Basilica is
closed for the evening, witnesses have heard the fine voice of Pere
Dagobert singing a funeral mass, starting at the main altar. As the
singing travels down the aisle toward the doors, witnesses have
seen a bright light moving from window to window. The disembodied
singing continues down the alley toward the area where St. Peter's
Cemetery used to be located.
Often, on rainy afternoons, the entity of
Pere Dagobert has been seen by the living, still praying for the
people of New Orleans, and probably for peace for the 6 entities
who are linked to him.
Whenever the entity Pere Dagobert manifests
itself, the entities of the 6 slain men are not far away, shyly
standing in the shadows, ready to assist Pere Dagobert, eternally
grateful to him for a proper Catholic funeral. It is also thought
that these 6 entities are self-appointed guardians of the
The entity of Pere
Appears in full bodily form, looking like a
real person; exactly like he is pictured in his portrait:
Witnesses see a tall man, with brown eyes
and a flowing white beard, wearing a black robe and sandals.
It is thought that he may still be really ashamed of his earlier
folly, or that he chooses to continue to serve this congregation
that he had dedicated himself to serve in Christ.
The good Pere has been seen walking down
Pere AntoineÕs Alley, deep in prayer, reading his book of
He is also seen deep in thought, walking
through the Cathedral garden.
During all times of the day, tourists and
locals have seen this entity hurrying through the streets of the
French Quarter, on a mission of need. They have also seen him in
A woman in high heels was hurrying down
Pere AntoineÕs Alley, tripped and was headed for a bad fall,
when she was caught by a robed man, Pere Antoine, who helped her
onto her feet, and then disappeared before she could thank him. She
felt a peace all afternoon.
When the children's choir is rehearsing for
a performance, the entity of Pere Antoine likes to appear, sit in
the pew opposite the altar, and loves to listen to their
During the holidays, the entity of Pere
Antoine is an active spirit, appearing in the choir loft, and will
hold a white candle during Christmas Eve Mass while walking down a
Regrets about their lives have kept some
parishioners tied to this world:
The entity of Madame
This detailed yet probably see-through
apparition is trying to receive forgiveness for her despicable
Witnesses have seen her in a third row pew,
kneeling and fervently praying, gazing up at the central altar.
Witnesses have seen her, looking forlorn,
walking back and forth in the area of one of the confessional
booths, looking for a priest to absolve her from her dastardly
The entity of Marie
Appears in a full, human-like state,
looking very real to the living. She is a restless spirit annoyed
with the living, and probably afraid to go to the other side.
When she isn't walking around St. Louis
Cemetery Number 1, reliving her VouDou practice, or visiting places
she liked while alive, she is in the Cathedral-Basilica, praying on
her knees, twice a day, early morning and evening, perhaps seeking
forgiveness for her Voudou practice.
The entity of Aimee
Can't let go of her grief, disappointment
and deep regrets and go to the other side. She is seen, dressed in
a dark, full dress from the mid 19th century.
The entity of his forlorn personality has
been seen by witnesses in the organ loft, who looks down at the
living with a depressed demeanor, though sometimes she is angry and
Others observe that she seems to want to
communicate with the living.
Her soft sobs of grief have been heard in
the Cathedral vaults.
The entity of Ben
Was terribly disappointed about dying
before his labor or love was finished. Was most active during the
final days of construction of his tower.
A strange atmosphere of a haunted space was
felt by the living in the tower area.
Workmen would only work there with a
partner, as his presence was strongly felt, and sometimes seen if
they stayed too long. it probably was like having someone look over
Tools and objects of the workmen would be
moved by unseen hands.
Strange sounds were heard as well.
Sometime the bell would faintly sound, when
no wind was present, like someone wanted to hear it ring.
The entity of Jean
A man who is dressed in early 1800s
Still has issues about the bell's quality
Tons of personal sightings and experiences
with all these entities have been reported for years.
Most probably so, though no paranormal
investigation has been done to back these hauntings up with hard
evidence. however, the volumes of personal experiences reported
over the years, surely do strongly suggest that these entities
still hang around this impressive basilica, as a lot of history and
drama took place here.
Saint Louis Cathedral Web Site * Saint Louis Cathedral page on Wikipedia