Omni Royal Orleans

Posted by blogger in New Orleans Ghost Tours
Omni Royal Orleans - Photo

If you are in New Orleans without a roof over your head, or a bed to lay down in, and you have a little money to spend, then you should consider the Omni Royal Orleans hotel. It is a highly regarded hotel in the Crescent City and attracts visitors from the world over. Though it is one of the most luxurious hotels, the story of its past might be one of the reasons why it might actually be haunted. Could it be that the spirits of past guests have overstayed their welcome? Or was it something else? You are about to learn the history of this hotel and the stories of how it might be one of the most haunted places in the city known for its jazz and even voodoo culture. At one point, it also served as a crucial staging post for one of the major industries of the Southern United States prior to the Civil War.

Early Years


The Omni Royal Orleans was originally known as the St. Louis Hotel. It was built by the Creoles who inhabited New Orleans as a rival to another hotel that was built by Anglo-Americans known as the St. Charles Hotel. The hotel is situated in the French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans where it stands to this day. The building was constructed in 1838. Early on in the hotel’s years, the Creoles utilized the hotel as a place where its people from all over can visit. Other guests have also included visitors from Europe. The place was perhaps known for the high society to socialize and even display scenes of debauchery. Despite the lively nightlife that would be one of the centerpieces of New Orleans culture, it was also a place where the wealthy citizens of the South would purchase or sell slaves. The hotel was one of the major hubs of the slave trade in the Southern United States before the Civil War had broken out.

There were regular auctions occurring at the Omni hotel, with plantation owners and people seeking domestic servants making bids for and purchasing and selling human slaves. The people being sold, came from other parts of the United States, often brought in by boat from other coastal port cities like Baltimore. While waiting to be bought or sold, these poor people were held captive at a secret location somewhere the French Quarter. In 1840, sales of slaves totaled around $50,000 (or $1.5 million in today’s money) at the St. Louis Hotel alone.

In 1841, a fire had swept through the hotel and left it completely destroyed. However, it was quickly rebuilt thanks to financial contributions from a local bank. The building was rebuilt with fire-resistant materials. The hotel also served as a medical facility for Union Soldiers during the Civil War, after the city was seized by them in 1862. As Louisiana gave in to Reconstruction the State of Louisiana purchased the hotel, which would become the “de facto” Capital Building. Afterward it was one of the occasional assembly locations for the Louisiana legislature.

The ownership changes were constant after the Civil War. The condition of the hotel deteriorated over the years, alongside the French Quarter in general. An unnamed hurricane battered the city in 1915, and like much of the French Quarter, the hotel sustained serious damage afterward. That part of the French Quarter would not be touched until at least 1960 when the hotel was rebuilt and later named the Omni Royal Orleans.

The Most Haunted Hotel?


One account of haunting of the hotel was reported by a guest, recounting they had seen the spirit of a maid, wandering the halls, simply making sure that guests were comfortable and ensuring that their stay is pleasant.

It does make one wonder what kind of guests would be comforted by a ghost? Another guest reported their sheets were tucked tight in and almost perfectly arranged when they had woken up. They did not remember the sheets being like that before going to sleep. Perhaps the ghostly maid was fanatically tucking guests in while they slept, again, not very comforting.

More typically of ghosts are the reported sounds of moaning and groaning in the corridors of the Omni Hotel. The volume of human misery that has passed through this hotel boggles the mind. The slaves must have been kept captive at the hotel, many have said that the noises must come from the accumulated misery seeping into the fabric of the building. The spirits of those people that endured the inhuman conditions and treatment of slavery should be heard today.

The hotel was brought to the ground and arose twice in its history, both on the exact same spot. It must be this then that it is the place, not the fabric where hauntings and spiritual activities have happened almost constantly, the unhappy and happy spirits of the Quarter still seem to be resident at the Omni Royal Orleans hotel.

Hauntings At The French Quarter


Of course, much of the French Quarter is reported to have seen spirits and its visitors have experienced uneasy feelings while coming and going. But how did the neighborhood itself become haunted to begin with? One such event can be traced back to the late 1800s. From 1817 to 1905, the city had been in the grips of a lengthy yellow fever epidemic. As the yellow fever had ravaged the city, it reached its peak throughout the 1850s when it killed nearly 8,000 people in 1853 and nearly 5,000 people five years later in 1858. It would not see another peak until 1878 when it claimed the lives of 4,000 people. All told, more than 20,000 people had died due to yellow fever.

The virus was carried by mosquitos and had already infected a good part of the immigrant population that had descended into New Orleans. It had gotten to the point where it was easy to contract the virus and eventually die from it. The cases year after year would spike in the summer months due to the mosquitos being out and about. It had gotten to the point where drivers of wagons known as “corpse wagons” were circling the neighborhoods calling anyone in the area to “bring out their dead”. It was said that the victims of the yellow fever were buried in mass graves. By the turn of the 20th century, scientists had a solution that put an end to the suffering. By 1905, the yellow fever epidemic was subdued.

It is unknown where exactly the mass grave is located, but it can probably be traced to somewhere in the French Quarter. Whether buildings were constructed over the graves is anyone’s guess. But the spirits of those who met their untimely deaths are said to still wander the streets of the French Quarter searching for answers as to why they have passed. But for now, they take up refuge in the homes, bars, and hotels that draw in many residents and tourists to the French Quarter day in and day out.


If you plan on visiting the French Quarter for some good old fashioned paranormal fun, then you may want to stay somewhere on the French Quarter. If you can swing the price tag, you can probably stay at the Omni Royal Orleans. Through many years of disaster and rebuilding, the hotel still stands. But the spirits that inhabit the hotel might still remain. And you may encounter one the minute you walk outside the door to your room. If you can’t find one in this hotel, they may be elsewhere in the French Quarter.