Nicknamed the Belle of New Orleans, Le Pavillon is located blocks away from the French Quarter and some of the most haunted locations in New Orleans.
Le Pavillon has 219 guest rooms dripping with luxury, inside and out. Much of its furniture is shipped from Paris, once in the Grand Hotel. Despite its lavish furnishings and ornate detailing, the hotel has only been around since the 1960s. The building has always been a hotel, first being constructed in 1907. The site itself has a very extensive and interesting past. Guests and employees claim that Le Pavillon’s past seeps directly into its present in the form of ghostly happenings.
History of Le Pavillon
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the land that houses Le Pavillon was called ‘dangerous’ and ‘completely unliveable.’ One author even remarked that the area –
‘was a place of foul deeds and midnight murders… the dismal willows could be heard uttering plaintive sounds with every gust of the wind…’
Once a noxious canal, the street is now bustling with activity, street cars darting to and fro and tourists checking out the sights.
It wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that the land started to develop. What was once an old streetcar depot became home to circuses and traveling shows. Then, once that building was destroyed, the National Theatre took its place in 1867.
The National Theatre embodied a culture of luxury and brought sophistication to the once-strange street. The theatre had four levels of seating and could hold 1,500 people at any given time — a marvel of its day.
The interior was tantalizing… glowing chandeliers and ethereal energy galore inside the theatre — a welcome change of pace from the carnies of years passed.
In New Orleans, many of these opulent venues were also filled with sin and temptation, and by the 1880s, the National Theatre was in shambles. The city fined the theatre on multiple occasions because of the lewd performances.
The National Theatre set out to change its ways when Philip Werlein, a German immigrant, bought up the property. In 1887, fate would have its way, and a fire consumed the theatre when a spark ignited in an upholstery business on the first floor. Perhaps it was decided that the theatre’s time was up.
The Hotel Denechaud
In 1889, the property was purchased by La Baronne Realty Company to build a beautiful hotel. It was not completed until 1907 and was named the Hotel Denechaud.
The hotel offered guests some of the most luxurious amenities, but soon, financial debts accrued and the hotel was too burdened to stay in operation — by 1910, the hotel was forced to close, and the keys were handed over to the owners of a new hotel.
The Hotel De Soto
The Hotel De Soto was established in 1913, and the estate was purchased for $600,400 — staggering, even by today’s standards. The hotel lasted the test of time, surviving the Great Depression and both world wars.
The hotel’s history is stunning, with New Orleans’ first radio station being operated out of the top floor and Louis Armstrong’s parents working shifts at the De Soto.
However, the past of the De Soto wasn’t all glimmery — it was soon brought to light that local prostitutes were using the hotel as a sort of ‘home base’ for their illicit activities.
This ended up just being a rumor, though — the De Soto’s manager argued that he ran a clean establishment and his threats were so vocal that the Times-Picayune paper released a statement saying that their observation of the hotel is that it warrants the assertion that it is an immaculate hotel.
The Hotel De Soto upheld its reputation, but by the 1960s, it had lost most of its allure. The once gorgeous hotel began to bend to the rumors and became seedy just as it changed hands again.
Le Pavillon History
Once under this new management, Le Pavillon began a vast restoration project. A mahogany bar from Chicago, marble baths that Napoleon himself used, and other luxurious decor were brought in.
The luxury is palpable! Source: Flickr
The hotel is well known for its hospitality and its strange nighttime happening — peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (you thought we were going to say ghosts, right?)
Le Pavillon offers guests nightly PB&J sandwiches — why you ask? We don’t have an answer for that, but who doesn’t want a free PB&J?
Other Nightly Happenings
With such a unique history, it’s time to introduce the hauntings. One may think there would be two or three ghosts floating about, but the number of reported hauntings is much more.
One hundred ghosts. That’s right; it’s been reported that just about 100 individual entities reside in the hotel.
The ninth floor is a hotbed of activity, with many locals and guests reporting that they believe a ‘portal’ exists at the hotel.
One guest told of a time they woke up in the middle of their slumber and saw a woman dressed in black sitting at the foot of the bed. She leaned in and ran her fingers through his hair; he described them as hard icicles.
Even more disturbing, she whispered softly:
‘you belong to me, I’ll never let you go.’
Needless to say, he checked out and never returned.
The ghostly apparition of a couple in 1920s garb is reported in the first-floor lobby. They wander the lobby holding hands, entering the elevator. The elevator itself never actually ascends — it opens right back up with no one inside.
The ghost of a young girl named Ava is said to hang around room 930 on the ninth floor. According to reports, sometime in the 19th century, Ava was rushing to the port to catch a departing ship when she was hit by a passing carriage and killed right outside of where Le Pavillon is today — this could explain why she never left; her tragic and sudden passing is trapping her there.
While 90 or so other ghosts have been encountered, there’s just too much to cover in one article! So, we’ll leave you with this. If you’re ever in New Orleans, perhaps on a ghost tour with us, consider staying at Le Pavillon — maybe you’ll meet one of the entities we didn’t introduce.
Now, here’s a question — is the free PB&J worth it?
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