Buckner Mansion in New Orleans

The imposing mansion’s vibrant white facade peaks through manicured foliage. Its haunting aura shrouds the centuries-old Grecian charm of its distinct architecture as ghosts of the past gaze out through floor-to-ceiling windows. 


Built in the mid-19th century, Buckner Mansion has been a fixture of New Orleans for over 150 years. It first served as a private residence to a slave owner and then later as a renowned educational institution. Today, it is a private residence, though the mortal inhabitants are merely guests of the ethereal figures that never left the lavished abode.


The Buckner Mansion is a visually beautiful piece of Louisiana’s history, though its stature is primarily due to one petty man’s vengeance. Within its walls lies an extravagant space that, unfortunately, many will never see. However, even those who have never set foot in New Orleans may immediately recognize the ornate white pillars or the stand-out lanterns adorning the main gate.


Ghosts aren’t the only thing drawing curious travelers to the mammoth abode, as many journey from all around to catch a glimpse of the infamous Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies.

Why is The Buckner Mansion Famous?

Though the mansion’s extensive history and spectral residents will fascinate many, the Buckner Mansion earned its global fame in 2013 when it served as the exterior for a school for witches in American Horror Story: Coven. Come for the photos of a notable structure that now exists in the annals of horror television, stay for the stories of the devoted slave who never left her quarters, and be sure to book your New Orleans ghost tour for a deeper exploration into The Big Easy’s haunted history.

From a Feud Came a Mansion

Just blocks from the Mississippi River sits a five-story Antebellum mansion recognizable by its rouches of classic Grecian adornments. Stanton Hall takes up one entire block in Natchez, Mississippi, and is a visual treasure for locals. If not for the work of architect Thomas Rose and the financial backing of Fredrick Stanton, this massive structure wouldn’t exist. As it turns out, neither would New Orleans’ historical Buckner Mansion. 


When Henry Sullivan Buckner set out to construct his residence in New Orleans’ Garden District, he turned to Stanton’s mansion for inspiration. Not because he admired the cotton broker but because he wished to outshine him in every way. At one time, the two worked together as business partners, but Buckner Mansion was just one sign that their business relationship had ended. Whatever dissolved their partnership is unknown, but it was enough to anger Buckner into wanting to upstage Stanton.

Not only was the 20,000-square-foot mansion partly a product of anger, but it was also funded by money earned on the backs of slaves. Still, the Buckners lived in the 23-room New Orleans mansion, seemingly comfortably and without tragedy. When Henry and his wife, Catherine, passed away, their daughter, Laura, took ownership and kept it in the family until 1923. After the Buckners were ready to move on, George Soule purchased the property and transformed it into the Soule Business College.

Dearly Devoted... and Departed

Even after the Civil War, some slaves stayed with the families they worked for, unsure of where to go or how to make a life for themselves. Miss Josephine once served the Buckners, but when offered freedom, she stayed by their side as a midwife and governess. She was so connected to the Buckners that, when she died, she refused to leave the familiarity of the mansion altogether.


As the former mansion welcomed students as part of Soule’s programs, Miss Josephine was there with them, sometimes even cleaning the space as if Henry would soon come home. From the sound of a floor being swept to the flickering of lights, it’s believed Miss Josephine is quite an active spirit. The house is also said to occasionally smell like lemons, a favorite of the liberated woman. 

After many years as the business school, with Miss Josephine keeping the space tidied, Buckner Mansion was again sold, this time by a private resident. While the public didn’t have access to the mansion to visit Miss Josephine, the building became known around the world when it popped up in a season of American Horror Story as the exterior of a core location.

American Horror Story Comes to Buckner Mansion

Miss Josephine’s spirit may ground the home in the reality it resides in, but FX Network and showrunner Ryan Murphy elevated it to a fantastical plane by renting it out for exterior shots in the third season of American Horror Story, Coven. Though the show’s interior shots of Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies was a sound stage, any exterior shots are of Buckner’s former home. 


The grandiose mansion is unmistakable throughout the season and is a fitting space for a school of witches. What was once merely a fascinating stop for locals was elevated to stardom in 2013. Now, it attracts American Horror Story fans looking to grab a snapshot of the recognizable front entrance through its iron gates.


One question about the mansion’s fame needs to be asked: How does Miss Josephine feel about being in the limelight?

Haunted New Orleans

Bucker Mansion has the distinction of being a fascinating spot for two types of crowds. The first is those who would participate in a New Orleans ghost tour to hear how Miss Josephine’s apparition has been spotted throughout the home. The other is the crowd who are simply there for the fanfare and to see where their favorite witches mastered their craft. In one stop, you can try your luck at spotting the spectral figure while recalling “The Seven Wonders.”


New Orleans is a treasure trove of haunted locations, some of which you’ll see first-hand when you book your New Orleans ghost tour. Others, you’ll learn all about by checking more of our blog and following us on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.