Within the French Quarter of New Orleans, a popular area known for its excellent times, but also its ghosts, a restaurant called Muriel’s sits. Ghost tours often can be found nearby, searching for one of the many spirits said to roam the building. Many tourists also save up their money for a chance to travel to New Orleans and dine at this restaurant. But in addition to its delicious food, there is also a particular spirit, a Mr. Jourdan, who still sits within its walls that people flock to see.
In 1718, New Orleans was founded. Claude Trepagnier, a French Canadian that assisted the expedition in establishing New Orleans, was given a piece of land in return for his help. On those grounds, which is where Muriel’s now sits, Trepagnier built a cottage. Nearly thirty years later, Jean Baptiste Destrehan came into ownership of the property, which at that time had grown significantly in value due to its prime location. He tore down Claude’s cottage and replaced it with a much more luxurious home for his family. They lived there happily for twenty years, before Destrehan’s death. After his passing, the house was given to his son, who sold it at an auction after going broke. Eleven years after that, in 1776, Phillipe de Marigny bought the house and used it when he traveled into the city from his plantation outside of town.
On March 21, 1788, the Great New Orleans Fire occurred, burning a majority of the buildings within the French Quarter of New Orleans. While Marigny’s mansion wasn’t destroyed, a portion of it was significantly damaged by the blaze. The city spent its next years rebuilding and recovering from the fire, and in that time, Pierre Jourdan bought the land from Marigny. Jourdan built a home on the property and loved the house dearly, but his gambling addiction would be the reason he would lose it. In 1814, Jourdan wagered his home in a game of poker and lost, sending him into a downward spiral and eventually to committing suicide before he could ever give the new owner the deed.
To this day, Jourdan still resides within Muriel’s, where he took his life, appearing to visitors and staff as a glimmer of light roaming the lounges on the second floor. People have witnessed objects moving by themselves, have heard voices and have seen apparitions in the structure. Paranormal investigations have taken place at Muriel’s, where investigators have claimed that they’ve also heard and seen strange occurrences, specifically from the lounges that Jourdan was, and still is, so fond of. The ghost of Jourdan has become such a normalcy, that the staff leaves a table with bread and wine set for his spirit at any time.
Muriel’s is one of many places in the French Quarter that has its share of ghost stories. With its broad history and multiple changes of ownership, it’s no mystery as to why. Throughout the country, people jump for the chance to dine at this eatery and have a chance to see the legendary ghost of Mr. Jourdan, a gambler that was down on his luck and lost everything before his untimely demise. Perhaps he has unfinished business on earth that has kept him clinging to what life he has left, or maybe he just can’t bring himself to leave the beautiful building he was always so fond of. The world may never know.