History of the Dauphine Orleans Hotel
The past blends seamlessly into the present at our historic New Orleans hotel, which boasts a history almost as old and rich as the Crescent City itself. Records of the Dauphine Orleans' site date from 1775, and several of the original structures have survived the test of time. One of our most notable jewels is what is now known as our Audubon Room where, from 1821-22, John James Audubon painted his famous "Birds of America" series. The restored cottage now serves as our hotel's breakfast room.
Fourteen spacious Hermann House Guest Rooms, some of them suites, located across the street from the hotel's main building, were originally built in 1834 to serve as the town home of a prosperous merchant, Samuel Hermann. The original building contract outlines Mr. Hermann's very detailed instructions right down to the size of the nails and the number of coats of paint he required. He also demanded that only the "best country brick, sand and cypress" be used in the building's construction.
In 1991, the cottages were renovated, revealing the original brick walls and wooden posts. The handmade nails are believed to have come from the Jean Lafitte Blacksmith Shop, though Jean Lafitte, the infamous pirate, is better known for his career as a buccaneer than for his blacksmithing skills.
Our French Quarter bar, May Baily's Place, was once one of the better known bordellos in New Orleans’ red-light district, known as Storyville, during the early nineteenth century. The Victorian style décor and portraits of Storyville madams by photographer E.J. Bellocq serve as vestiges of this unique era in New Orleans’ history.
Beautiful stone fireplaces and the original Pecky cypress and pine beams had also been covered over with sheetrock. Today they are an integral part of the suites' unique decor. The property's initial owners were among the first families of the city's Spanish and French settlements. Ownership of the site changed several times until 1966, when it was purchased to house the Dauphine Orleans Hotel, which opened in 1969.
A Haunted New Orleans Hotel
Ghost sightings and hauntings are nothing new to New Orleans and the French Quarter, an area known for historic sites and centuries-old buildings, some dating back to 1718 when the city was founded. What many people might not know is that some of the original residents and visitors of historic New Orleans never left town. After all, New Orleans is said to be one of the most haunted cities in America.
The hauntings at the Dauphine Orleans Hotel vary from Civil War soldiers to their well dressed “ladies-of-the-evening.” In the late 1890s and early 1900s, May Baily’s was one of the better known bordellos in the wildly infamous red-light district known as Storyville. Prostitution was legal in Storyville from 1897 to 1917. Today, May Baily’s Place serves as the hotel bar at the Dauphine Orleans Hotel, where guests and employees have reported hauntings and sightings.
Reports over the years indicate that there is perchance more than one ghost that lingers inside the bar. One spirit is believed to be that of a Creole soldier, perhaps a patron of the former bordello, who wanders through the courtyard wearing a military uniform.
Another entity is a female, who seems very whimsical and a bit disturbed. Select guests have reported catching a lightning-fast glimpse of her dancing across the courtyard. It’s believed that she might have been employed by the bordello and eventually became an alcoholic.
Parapsychologist Dr. Larry Montz, founder of the International Society For Paranormal Research, conducted an investigation at the Dauphine Orleans Hotel and reported several spirits, among them a soldier, general or other high ranking officer, wearing a dark uniform that could have been from the War of 1812 or Civil War. His name might be Eldridge. He walked with the investigative team by the pool area and back through to the cottages.