Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Devil Lived In New Orleans

It is not surprising to think of the devil living in New Orleans.  The city is not known for being pure of heart.  It seems an apt setting for the demon to live among us.   The devil made no secret of his address while living in New Orleans.  He lived at 1319 St Charles Avenue in the 1820's.  According to legend,  the mansion at this address went up overnight, as if by magic.  One day there was nothing there and the next there was an ornate mansion.  The mansion is said to have been built so quickly that it made little sense inside.  Every room is on a different floor and stairs go off in all directions.  

The devil built this house for his mistress, Madeline Freneau, whom he kept in lavish luxury.  Sadly, Ms. Freneau was not a very smart young woman and her fate was sealed by her utter stupidity.  The devil was a busy demon and Ms. Freneau found herself lonely and bored.   She took another lover, Alcide Cancienne.  Ms. Freneau wasn't smart enough to consider the diabolical nature of her first lover nor to even bother to trying to keep her affair that secret.  Alcide dined openly with Ms. Frenau in the beautiful dining room and when a strange man in a cape asked him if he knew Ms Freneau, Alcide told the stranger he was Ms. Freneau's lover.   That night at dinner,  Alcide told his lovely mistress that the devil had told him he could have Ms. Freneau and 1000 dollars if they would take the name Mr. and Mrs. L.   Ms. Freneau was delighted and told Alcide they should be together forever.  Alcide laughed at the beautiful young woman and told her he was bored with her and wouldn't keep her even for 1000 dollars.  Madeline was furious and lept across the table and killed Alcide.  The devil came in laughing.  He delighted in the horrific scene and promptly ate both Alcide and Madeline.

For many years after this,  the house on St. Charles Avenue sat empty, but eventually a few intrepid families dared to occupy the mansion.  The reports of the haunting there were terrifying.  Apparently, the fateful dinner would replay over and over again in front of residents in phantom form and both Alcide and Madeline's ghosts haunted the house.   Some say that the image of the devil himself was imbedded on the outside of the house and that blood would drip from his open mouth.  The house on St. Charles Avenue was demolished years ago, but it is still unsettling to think that the devil lived in New Orleans.

I found this wonderful ghost story in Haunted America, a collection of American ghost stories.  I have been unable to find any other sources for this story, but I'm still looking because this is a fabulous piece of folklore.  I also have to wonder if the lovely hotel that now sits at this address wouldn't have a few lingering affects if this story were true. 

14 comments:

Adsila said...

Humm, I wonder if the hotel would be haunted as well. Another great story and urban legend.

Autumnforest said...

Only the South can offer such an awesome story. I'll be curious to hear if you find anything more on it.

Slowdeath77 said...

hmmm I wonder if Fulci heard this story and got inspiration for his movie The Beyond. I believe the Seven doors hotel in the Beyond is located in New Orleans not sure of its fictional address in the movie though.

Lewis Powell IV said...

I looked at the address on Google Street View and it appears there's a Wendy's there now.

Is this the Haunted America by Beth Scott and Michael Norman? Their Haunted Heartland is a great read if you don't know it. Some amazing stories!

Thanks for the marvelous post!

Jeffery said...

Have a look at "The Devils Elixir" by Ernst Theodor Amadaeus Hoffman. There was also a Phillip Frenau who wrote some deliciously disturbing Dark poetry and stories in the mid to late 19th century...Your story rings a bell and may be from Weird tales in the late 60's or early 70's. Given the blend of cultures in New Orleans it's a perfectly decadent story!...Cheers!

Courtney Mroch said...

Most awesome post! Love this info and stories you dig up.

Jessica Penot said...

Adsila... urban legends are wonderful and this definately has that feel.

Autumn Forest... The South's ghost stories are always unique.

SlowDeath77... I hadn't event thought of the similarities until you brought it up. Now I want to see The Beyond again.

Lewis... Yes! It is Haunted America by Michael Norma and Beth Scott. It is one of my favorite books. I'll have to look at their Haunted Heartland.

Jeffrey... I will look for the Devil's Elixir. That sounds interesting.

Courtney... Thanks!

Justine's Halloween said...

Woah. That's a creepy story that's unlike any others I've heard! I've heard a lot of ghost stories involving a man killing the woman who cheated on him, but I've never heard of The Devil doing the killing. Let alone eating people! Maybe a murder did occur there and the story got exaggerated over the years? I wonder if there's a photo of the old house online somewhere.

Justine's Halloween said...

Get this! I just googled the address you listed and a beautiful hotel sits there. Here's a link to the hotel's web site:

http://www.maisonstcharles.com/

Jessica Penot said...

Justine.. That sounds like what happened There were some murders and they seemed diabolical so over time the story grew to include the devil himself. I'm glad you got the hotel at tha location too Another reader found a Wendy's and I thought maybe I missed something

Scared said...

I love those old ghost stories when they get a little crazy with age. It makes me think that there was a time when it was plausible to include the Devil in your ghost story, whereas today, it would not be. I wonder if things like shadow people and BEKs are analogous.

Justine's Halloween said...

Haha! That would be one scary Wendy's. :)

Emily Ann Gunther said...

I am currently working at this hotel, and have not seen or heard anything yet... Three of our 7 buildings were built in 1862 and the location opened as a hotel during the 1984 World Fair. I have also lived in New Orleans my entire life and just found out about this story today. I will be doing lots of research! This should be fun and interesting!

Jessica Penot said...

Emily.... Let me know what you find!