Louisiana is such an old part of America that it’s no wonder so many urban legends have been cooked up here. Its association with Cajun culture, and other isolated people living in the swamps has also been the host for many tales of ghosts and monsters. On top of that, its history with plantations and slavery of the Antebellum south have added its own ingredient to this recipe for urban legends, myths, and folklore. Here are 9 myths and urban legends in Louisiana that have stood the test of time. Some are true, some may be legend, but they’re all a bit of a mystery.
The legend of the Rougarou haunting the forests, bayous, and swamps of Southeast Louisiana is well known to all who visit. This werewolf-like creature roams the swamp at night with the body of a human and head of a wolf with blazing red eyes and sharp fangs. Some versions of this tale say the spell of the Rougarou lasts for 101 days after which the spell ensnares its next human victim!
Known as the Voodoo Queen, Marie LeVeau was born on Sept. 10, 1794 and died in 1881. She was born a free Creole in the French Quarter of New Orleans and was a dedicated practitioner of voodoo, a practice that she passed down to her daughter named Marie LeVeau II. Though even days after her death many say they could still see her roaming the streets, her grave today still resides in New Orleans at the St. Louis Cemetery. Locals say that if you place a rose on her grave at midnight on her birthday that you can levitate above the historic gravesite.
This popular music venue and bar in Baton Rouge has been claimed by many to be haunted. Patrons as well as past employees recall countless stories of strange happenings occurring all around the site, and paranormal experts are said to have done readings in the building. The history of the space certainly justifies the theory. During the historic 1927 Great Mississippi River Flood the building was used as a morgue. This flood is largely known as one of the worst in the history of the area in a time when transportation did not allow many to evacuate. About 250 people were known to have died and the ones around the Greater Baton Rouge area were kept at this Highland Road location until they could be identified and relocated.
On the Eastern side of New Orleans there is said to be a strange group of people who for many years lived secluded in the outer swamps and forests away from the city. Their seclusion caused them to eventually become deformed and many describe them as small dwarf-like creatures who lived at the end of a long, lonely road. However, when pets and people started disappearing from the area, the road become known as haunted. Some say the strange people hired a beast to protect them from the onlookers who started showing up at their home.
This myth originated in the swamps of Louisiana. Known as a ghostly light or flame, the Feu Follet entrances its visitors into following this light leading them deeper and deeper into the swamp. The subdued follow the light until they are hopelessly lost, never to leave the swamp again. Some say the ball of light is the spirit of a lost child who left its nursery and others relate it to the spirits of those who lost their lives to protect the buried treasures of such famous pirates as Jean Lafitte. Either way, if you for some reason find yourself in the Louisiana swamp at night…don’t follow the light.
This old plantation home located in St. Francisville, Louisiana passed between the hands of a few families between the span of 1796-1834. Throughout that time in America’s history, the families along with servants and slaves lived on the plantation for many years. Today, the Myrtles Plantation is known as one of the most haunted homes in America for a host of visiting stories, as well as the unique contents of a couple photographs. The first is the Legend of Chloe that started with a photo taken for insurance purposes in 1992. The image seems to feature a girl standing in between the Butler’s Pantry and the General Store, though you can clearly see the building through the apparition. The second was taken during a school field trip when a teacher and her student were taking a picture in the courtyard. If you look in the window behind them, a little girl. She has become known as the Ghost Girl of the plantation. Both pictures have been highly analyzed with no proof of tampering involved.
Lying between the East Pearl and West Pearl Rivers in southeast Louisiana, the Honey Island Swamp is a tract of bottomland that has caused many spooky stories due to a certain train wreck in the 20th century. Legend has it that back in the day a traveling circus was in the area. Their train crashed on the way to their next stop, causing them to lose a bunch of chimpanzees that interbred with the local alligator population. This led to the creation of the Honey Island Swamp monster that is supposed to be about seven feet tall with three-toed, webbed feet, and a weight close to 400 pounds. Its yellow reptilian eyes pierce through the night and its matted grey hair allows it to perfectly blend with its surrounding atmosphere. The first spotting of the monster was in 1963 by Harlan Ford who later returned to the area with a friend to get a cement casting of the creatures webbed, claw foot.
Wayne Toups is one of the beacons of Cajun culture. Being one of the top Cajun musicians of all time, this legendary performer has been dubbed Le Boss and it is no surprise that he has a myth of a tale to support this persona. During the height of his popularity at some point Wayne Toups went to jail. Though some still say he performed, as he did every year, at the International Rice Festival in Crowley. Getting let out of jail by local authorities to play the show, and then return with them back to jail to serve out his sentence. Thousands of people claimed to have attended the show, but being before the birth of camera phones, nobody took any pictures. Today the mystery continues.
In the 1950s and 60s, what is known now as the Ellerbe Road School in south Caddo Parish was a segregated school for black children. The building is now a bunch of crumbling ruins in an area that is not very populated, and it has generated several terrifying stories over its many long years. Some say that the spirits of some old students linger in the building due to a fire that killed them when the school was still around. Another story of devil worshipers using the old school as a site of worship does have some legitimacy. Pentagrams, as well as inverted pentagrams, can be seen painted inside and outside of the building, while a boar carcass was also found in front of the school one time. This was no pig roast but seemed to locals to be part of some strange ritual or sacrifice.
This mansion is known as one of the most haunted places in the historic French Quarter in New Orleans. The stories behind this house are gruesome, real, and somewhat disturbing. The tale originates in 1832, when Dr. Louis LaLaurie and his wife Delphine moved into the home. Known as a popular socialite in town, as well as a grand party thrower, Delphine hid some very dark secrets in this elaborate home during a time when slavery was prevalent in the south. The three-story mansion at 1140 Royal Street housed horrors and atrocities that only began to surface after police raided the home because a neighbor saw Delphine chase a little girl around her garden with a whip. She then chased the girl onto her roof where the girl jumped to her death. Laws were thankfully in place in New Orleans during that time to punish her. However, somehow through relatives, Delphine’s slaves were returned to her. Delphine used to chain up her cook to the stove all day, only to unchain her for bed, then would chain her back all day when she woke in the morning. It is said that a fire broke out in the home in 1834, supposedly by this cook who could no longer stand her fate. When firefighters entered the damaged home, the rumors only became more true though Madame LaLaurie had disappeared, never to be found again after an angry mob gathered outside her home. Gruesome tales have surfaced since this tragic event. The inhumane treatment is truly disgusting and makes the LaLaurie Mansion one of the most haunted, horrifying places in the French Quarter.