Tag Archives: Jean Lafitte

Saints and Sinners

The city of New Orleans is known for its “Saints and Sinners” but why is that?  A lot of history actually plays into where that phrase originated.  You’ll see it in the street names, intersecting each other, one direction named after the saints:  St. Ann, St. Charles, St. Philip, and the other direction named for King Louis XIV’s illegitimate children (sinners): Dumaine, Toulouse.

St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, French Quarter, New Orleans

The main reason the Big Easy, the Crescent City, NOLA is known as the town of Saints and Sinners is because only two key buildings survived the Great New Orleans Fire of 1788:  St. Louis Cathedral and Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (AKA: Speakeasy).  So there you have it, the saints and the sinners.

The Church has been rebuilt several times surviving fires and hurricanes.  And Lafitte’s, now known as the Blacksmith Bar, remains one of the oldest surviving buildings of New Orleans.  And, it’s on the ghost tour…

So who was Jean Lafitte?  Simply put, he was a pirate.  A quick-witted businessman, he set up “shop”  as a ruse to throw off the government and law officials who he had common run ins with.  Little is known as fact about Lafitte, a journal supposedly surfaced which described him as a Robin Hood of sorts, except instead of giving his treasures to the poor, he kept them for himself.  It is believed by New Orleans locals that the Blacksmith Bar is haunted by several ghosts, victims of Lafitte’s rage.

     And rage he did.  Four men were brought in for questioning by Lafitte’s thugs as payback for their loud mouths.  When all four refused to talk further, they were tortured one by one.

The thing about the blacksmith shop is that the fireplace inside isn’t big enough, nor does it have a proper chimney to filter out the smoke.  If the building were to actually be used as a blacksmith shop, the smithy would pass out from the heat that the building contained.

The story says that the four men were forced to watch as one by one their heads were placed in the opening of the fireplaces, scorching their flesh until their eyes burst out and they died.  Imagine being the fourth guy…

Locals believe the tales because several people, natives and tourists alike, have mailed in photographs that depict ghostly images around the fireplace.  I don’t think I caught anything, but I’m wondering if that’s cause we’re going digital now.  Does it make it trickier for ghosts to transcend this new technology?

     The other ghost story that occurs here happened years later.  I can’t recall exactly how it happened, whether it was a bar robbery or just a wrong place wrong time, but a man coming out of the restroom was stabbed and killed just outside the door.  Customers at the bar have reported hearing moaning sounds coming from the restroom and again photos have shown strange figures in this corner.

Blacksmith Bar, back right, the intersection before it

I always say you know it’s legit when the animals are spooked.  I think if an animal perceives some kind of danger or bad energy, you know something’s going on.  The intersection outside of Lafitte’s Blacksmith Bar has had the most accidents from horse drawn carriages.  There are several tour companies that offer carriage rides around the French Quarter, and apparently, those horses have taken out more street signs than anything.  The driver will stop at the bar to allow guests time inside trying to capture any ghoulies or ghosties on film, and it’s happened several times where nothing is seemingly around the carriage, but the horses get so spooked, they’ll bolt up onto the sidewalk taking out the street sign in the process more than once.  That, to me, is the freakiest part of this story.

What do you think?  Ghosts?  Historical energy emissions?  A Ruse?  What ghostly places have you visited?

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