For many decades the city of New Orleans has embraced a reputation of refuge for the lost souls wandering the streets of the French Quarter. Here, we celebrate death in life with a “Second Line,” and befriend the many spirits who have not crossed over yet, living amongst them. It’s said that when some people die, they never crossover because they have unfinished business to tend to or even a burning love so deep they could never leave it behind. Sometimes that love is a home, right here in the heart of New Orleans.
…New Orleans was founded and a young French Canadian named Claude Trepagnier was awarded this piece of land for his assistance in the expedition. Trepagnier built a small cottage, which later became a prime piece of property, due to the fact of its proximity of the area that soon became known as Jackson Square during the layout of the Quarter in 1721. Some locals believe that this structure used to hold slaves when they came off the boats, before going up for auction. Although Muriel’s carriageway dates back to the late 1700’s, and some clairvoyants say that many troubled spirits reside here, this area was said to be where servants were housed in the evening.
…Jean Baptiste Destrehan, a man of great power and wealth considered to be the Royal Treasurer of French Louisiana Colonies, acquired the property. He immediately tore down the humble little cottage and built an elaborate home of grandeur for his family. After his death in 1765 the house was passed down to his son and then sold at an auction when the family money ran out. In 1776 Pierre Phillipe de Marigny purchased the grand residence and used it as one of his “city homes” when he came into town from his plantation on the outskirts of the town, known as the Fauberg Marigny area today.
On March 21, 1788
On March 21, 1788, the Great New Orleans Fire started on Good Friday and burned 856 of the 1,100 structures in the French Quarter, including the city’s main church, original Cabildo, the municipal building, the army barracks, armory, and jail. During the tragedy, a portion of Pierre Phillipe de Marigny’s mansion was burnt.
During the next decade, the city of New Orleans was in a rebuilding process, trying to recover from the fire that swept the French Quarter. The Spanish replaced what was left of the wooden buildings with thick brick walled structures that included courtyards, arcades, and wrought iron balconies. Among the new buildings in Jackson Square were the St. Louis Cathedral, the Cabildo, the Presbytere, and a piece of property Mr. Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan purchased from Marigny.
Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan built his dream home restoring it to the original grandeur, for his family and himself. Although Jourdan dearly adored his beautiful home, he was a man that could never quench his thirst for the thrill and excitement of gambling. In 1814 he wagered his beloved home in a poker game and crushingly lost the one thing he treasured most in life. The shock of the loss was so intense that before having to vacate the premises and hand over his beloved treasure, he tragically committed suicide on the second floor in the area that served as the slave quarters-the same area where Muriel’s Seance Lounges are situated today.
Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan is still with us today in spiritual form on the same piece of property that is now Muriel’s. His ghost doesn’t appear in human form, but instead as a glimmer of sparkly light wandering around the lounge. Our Seance Lounges on the second floor are named as such because it is believed that this is where Jourdan spends the majority of his time. Patrons and employees of Muriel’s have also witnessed objects being moved around throughout the restaurant. We believe Mr. Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan never left his true love and home in New Orleans, he continues to reside here to this day.
Although Jourdan is considered to be our main resident, he’s not the only spirit amongst us. We also have a slightly mischievous ghost in our Courtyard Bar that roams the property. Three times since March of 2001, glasses have flown from behind the bar 12 feet across to the brick wall and shattered. Perhaps some servants stayed behind to take care of him and go downstairs to throw glasses to release some angst. Other possibilities include previous patrons and owners of the property during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s; or that it’s Jourdan trying to get across to the other side or desperately trying to communicate with mortals he considers to be his family.
Many paranormal investigations have occurred over the years with several reports stating that they’ve seen unexplainable strange shadows while hearing unknown voices nearby. The most activity comes from the Seance Lounge, where very distinct knocks on the brick wall may interact as communication. Audio of a female’s voice has also been discovered when no female was present.
We firmly believe that our resident ghosts here at Muriel’s are harmless, and can sometimes be very entertaining. Those who have seen or felt a presence have never felt threatened and instead we’ve welcomed an old kindred spirit to dine, by always keeping a table reserved for Mr. Jourdan set with bread and wine.