Ghostly Tour Guide to New Orleans

Ghost Carriage Tour, New Orleans, Louisiana
Carriage ride through the French Quarter heading to Pat O’Briens where the author meet a gentleman ghost while discussing the Saints game. Photo by Kala Ambrose

Destination: New Orleans

Book: Spirits of New Orleans: Voodoo Curses, Vampire Legends, and Cities of the Dead (New August, 2012) by Kala Ambrose


Read this guide book to New Orleans, when you’re in a Halloween mood.  Spirits of New Orleans, your guide to all things spooky and unworldly is Kala Ambrose, a psychic and medium. Since Ambrose introduces you to some, shall we say, former residents of New Orleans–now in spectral form– some readers may have to call upon suspension of disbelief.

Whether you approach this guide in a spirit of sincere appreciation of multi-dimensional travel, or you approach it with a sense of fun, you’ll find a good guide to all the basic charms that make New Orleans such an attraction for tourists.  You’ll also find some things you definitely are not going to find in Fodor’s or Lonely Planet.

Each chapter ends with highlights and tips, including this coda to visiting the Cities of the Dead (cemeteries).

Visiting cemeteries can deplete your auric energy, especially if you are an intuitive, medium, or empathic in nature, as you will be sensitive to the grieving energy stored in these locations.  

She goes on with ways to “shake off” (her quotes) the energy.

This is best done by stamping your feet outside the entrance to shake off any of the dirt that may have stuck to your shoes.  Next have something sweet to eat to ground your body: chocolate or fruit works best….Then surround your body with pure white light and see your body refreshed and energized.

Now you will admit that is a tip Arthur Frommer never told you about. But, hey, any advice that includes “eat chocolate” has my vote.

Antoine's Restaurant, New Orleans, Louisiana
Antoine’s Restaurant (established in 1840) where the author shared a French 75 cocktail with her husband along with her favorite Pommes de terre soufflées and explored the Mystery Room from Prohibition. Photo by Kala Ambrose.

As Ambrose travels through various areas of New Orleans, she is, of course, on the lookout for ghosts. She tells us delightful ghost stories about Pirate Alley, the Garden District, the Sultan and his harem at the LePrete House, the ghosts at the Old Ursuline Convent, ghostly carriages at the Old French Opera House in Bourbon Street, ghosts in restaurants and ghosts in hotels. It is hard to go anywhere in New Orleans without bumping into a ghost.

And being a medium, Ambrose, fortunately for us, bumps into some ghosts with whom she can have a chat. On the St. Charles Streetcar, she found listened to the life story of the ghost of an old man, and she says:

It was one of the most poignant, touching, and yet completely normal conversations that I have ever had with a ghost. He was not confused on any level about his current state; he knew he was dead and had chosen to remain here on the earth plane and not cross over. 

Since the medium wants to put the ghosts at ease and allow them to pass on, she convinces some to “give up the ghost” and therefore we will not run into those same guys and gals when we tour New Orleans, alas.

NewOrleans Voodoo Dolls
Voodoo Dolls purchased by the author during her time in New Orleans. Photo by Kala Ambrose.

Spirits of New Orleans, it turns out, provides a guide for the psychically gifted on where and how to approach the people of the past, but it also is a well-thought out guide even for non-believers, explaining voodoo, for instance, and the difference between real voodoo and tourist voodoo.

The only negative about this book is the quality of print. The photos come out smudgy in black and white, instead of the beautiful photos the author gave me to use here. Like any standard guide, this one includes a list of places with their addresses and contact information, and there is a thorough bibliography for further reading.  But the best thing about it is the tips that follow each chapter–only a few of them are aimed at her fellow “intuitives.”  Many of her tips will lead you to lesser-known sites in the enchanting city and equip you with trivia answers to stump everyone at the bar.

I’ve talked about other Halloween books for spooky travel in the past. You can see them here:

 Spooky Travel

 Ghost Guides

 Scary Places

Visiting the Dead 

This book was provided by the publisher for review. That does not affect my presentation of my unvarnished opinion.  Photos are supplied by the author and were taken by the author.

There are affiliate links in this post, which means that you are able to shop and benefit A Traveler’s Library at the same time. Although it sounds spooky, that doesn’t cost you a penny extra.


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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.