Spirits on Bourbon is known for its World Famous Resurrection drink, great food, Dueling Pianos and a notorious barber chair which has become a must-do for anyone visting the French Quarter! It’s also known as a great place to watch sports. With a beautiful courtyard in the rear, one can host a party, get away talk or have your own private crawfish boil! In fact, you may have seen the Spirits Courtyard many times on television without even knowing it! Spirits has been feature numerous times on television on networks such as E, Esquire, Spike, and VH1 not to mention several local and National news spots!
Turtle Bay on Decatur Street is known for its great pizza and quaint atmosphere! In fact, PMQ magazine named Turtle Bay and Brad Bohannan as the king of New Orleans Pizza . Turtle Bay is visited nightly by the haunted history tour which highlights it’s interesting and checkered past! Touted as one of the Quarters best local hangouts, it’s probably most popular for its full late-night menu! So come on down to Turtle Bay which USA today voted best late night eats in New Orleans and grab a Beer and Pizza and see if you can have your own Turtle Bay ghost Story!
Both locations are owned by Chateau resident, Brad Bohannan, who is a true entrepreneur! He is a self employed Restaurateur, owner of a music publishing company, real estate developer and motivational speaker!
I’m tying my shoe in the kitchen of the Turtle Bay bar and restaurant on Decatur Street when I’m suddenly aware that I may be about to die in a horrible and grisly manner. It’s a sunny late-summer afternoon, and I’ve stopped by to try and snap some digital pictures of the three knives that allegedly were thrown at Turtle Bay’s cook, Chisesi Simpson, by a cranky ghost or a sneaky, malevolent, unseen force. Simpson leads me back into the kitchen where the first two knives are lying on the stainless steel countop.
“I don’t know where that other one’s at,” says Simpson. “Oh, there it is.” He strides down the length of the small, airy courtyard kitchen, toward the capped sewer drain where the ghost, which the bar has named “Boudreaux,” lives. It’s then that I notice that the lace of my left Converse All-Star has come undone. As I bend down to tie it, Simpson says, “Man, Boudreaux was pissed after you were here yesterday. He was really acting up, throwing stuff around. He threw this pan here all the way out there.”
I look up briefly to see the cook holding up a steel pan and gesturing with it to a spot at least 10 feet away. I flash on how this would all play out in a predictable horror movie. Nosy reporter girl angers ghost … returns to bar on innocent errand … knife mysteriously missing. While everyone in the theater is silently yelling Get out of there! Don’t tie your shoe! Run, girl! the cook is possessed and murders me while the audience grumbles how they saw it coming a mile away.
I straighten up quickly and realize Simpson is standing over me, brandishing a large knife. “Found it,” he says.
The Turtle Bay ghost is only the most recent bar haunting investigated by Kalila Katherina Smith, a tour guide for the Haunted History Tours who both founded the New Orleans Paranormal and Occult Research Society and is the Louisiana state head of the National Ghost Research Society. Her book New Orleans Ghosts and Vampires notes several haunted bars in the French Quarter including Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, Cosimo’s, Yo Mama’s and O’Flaherty’s. She believes that the violent atmosphere of the locales, many of which have been saloons of one kind or another over hundreds of years, predisposes them to the kind of tragic or gruesome on-premises deaths that cause spirits to linger. The 1100 block of Decatur Street where Turtle Bay is located is a particularly fertile area for haunting. Most of that land once belonged to the Ursulines Convent on Chartres Street and served as a potter’s field for yellow fever victims in the 18th century.
“There are probably more haunted bars in the French Quarter than we could ever put on a tour,” she says. “We pick the ones with the most activity and that are the best documented historically. But you’ve got death on top of death on top of death, from yellow fever, fires, hurricanes, violence — a high concentration of death in such a small area. Plus voodoo activity calling up spirits. And people who are drinking are more open to spirits, more open to those experiences.”
Smith recently participated in an investigation of the Turtle Bay ghost in conjunction with the Sci-Fi Channel show Ghost Hunters. She still isn’t ready to explain the ghost’s behavior, although she’s clearly intrigued. “It’s been turning equipment on and off in the middle of the night, throwing hot water,” she says. “And it’s usually pretty rare for a ghost to attack.”