Haunting of Ursuline Convent – New Orleans, Louisiana

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 19 January 2024
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Introduction of Ursuline Convent

The Ursuline Convent, a ghostly watchtower in the center of New Orleans, Louisiana, lies tucked away inside the shaded embrace of the moss-draped oaks. A timeless building enveloped in history, its old hallways resonating with echoes of long-forgotten mysteries. Founded in 1727, this hallowed enclave is home to centuries’ worth of mysterious stories that drift through the humid air like ghosts from the past.

Ursuline Convent Marker
Ursuline Convent Marker

History of Ursuline Convent

Founded in 1727, the Ursuline Convent in New Orleans, Louisiana, stands as the oldest continuously operating Catholic girls’ school in the United States. Completed in 1752, it holds the distinction of being the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley, representing a significant example of the French Colonial Period in the US.

Despite these efforts, the Ursuline Convent faced adversity in the form of devastating fires in 1788 and 1794. The fires prompted reconstruction, casting doubt on its claim as the “oldest building” due to these necessary rebuilds. Notably, the fires were not the cause of any fatalities within the convent.

One of the most intriguing chapters in the Ursuline Convent’s history is its connection to the infamous “Casket Girls.” In the 1700s, a group of young French women, referred to as the Casket Girls, arrived in New Orleans with mysterious casket-shaped boxes. Over a 3-month journey, locals speculated on supernatural transformations, with whispers of vampiric tales shrouding the enigmatic history of these mysterious young women.

Ursuline Convent Marker
Historic Ursuline Convent – Credit nypl

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Curse of Casket Girls

Amidst the 1700s, New Orleans was plagued by disease and war, earning the ominous moniker “City of the Dead” due to the ravaging yellow fever. Yet, amid the chaos, a spectral legend emerged—enter the mysterious “casket girls.”

Sent by the King of France to marry and populate the colony, around 50 women embarked on a perilous journey. Dubbed filles à la cassette, their single luggage became the source of an eerie nickname—the “casket girls.” Locked beneath the ship’s deck to safeguard their purity, they endured a grueling three-month voyage, succumbing to scurvy and Vitamin C deficiency.

Arriving pallid and weakened, locals, already steeped in superstition, mistook their ailment for vampirism. Mortality rates soared, and suspicion fell on the casket girls. When their suitcases were found mysteriously empty, rumors of a nefarious connection between the women and vampires spread like wildfire. The city, gripped by fear, believed that these empty cases concealed the source of an otherworldly curse.

As the city nursed the women back to health, the legend endured. The harsh environment they endured became the backdrop to accusations of vampirism. Though healed, a spectral air still lingers around the Ursuline Convent, a testament to the enduring mystery and haunting legacy of the casket girls.

The curse of these women, accused of vampirism and weathering the unforgiving journey, still weaves its spectral tendrils through the heart of New Orleans. The Ursuline Convent, once witness to the arrival of the enigmatic casket girls, carries their ghostly tale—a testament to the enduring echoes of an unsettling chapter in the city’s history.

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Popular Culture and Media Coverage of Ursuline Convent

The Ursuline Convent, well-known for its historical significance and eerie aura, has been the focus of numerous television shows and films devoted to the study of the paranormal. It was particularly important in the captivating series “Ephemeral Whispers: Unveiling Shadows,” in which the detectives explored the eerie stories and horrific experiences that are inherent to this historic monastery.

Within the pages of literary works such as “The Old Ursuline Convent 1734-1972” by unknown author and “Haunted New Orleans: Southern Spirits, Garden District Ghosts, And Vampire Venues” by Bonnye Stuart, the Ursuline Convent has woven its spectral tapestry. These literary treasures unravel the enigmatic stories surrounding the sacred enclave, presenting readers with spellbinding accounts of its paranormal past.

The Ursuline Convent continues to draw in visitors who are interested in history as well as those who are paranormal investigators. Its ethereal presence in media and popular culture keeps calling people who yearn for an immersive experience with a mysterious past. This revered site exudes a seductive aura that beckons anybody brave enough to delve into the enthralling and eerie stories that reverberate within its weathered walls.

How can I visit Ursuline Convent ?

With the help of our knowledgeable tour guide, take a captivating stroll around New Orleans’ charming streets. Explore the mystery of the French Quarter while your informed guide tells you stories about voodoo practitioners, ghosts, vampires, and magic that have left a lasting impression on the city’s colorful past. Meeting with our knowledgeable local guide at the start of your journey will enable you to explore the dark past that resides in the city’s shadows. Get ready to discover famous sites, such as the Old Ursuline Convent, where the mysteries within its ancient walls and the unsettling legacy of the Casket Girls come to life.

As you wander through venerable neighborhoods, your guide will paint vivid stories of witches, ghosts, vampires, and Voodoo practitioners who have shaped the cultural tapestry of New Orleans. The tour showcases iconic landmarks, including the Old Ursuline Convent, where the eerie legacy of the Casket Girls and the mysteries within its timeworn walls come to life. Experience the spine-chilling atmosphere outside the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, Muriel’s Restaurant, and the rumored abode of the vampire Jacques Saint Germain, each site teeming with historical and supernatural significance.


The Ursuline Convent invites inquisitive minds to explore the mysteries that lurk beneath its sacred halls as nightfall draws near and the shadows of the gnarled oaks cast a shadow over the historic courtyard. The faint murmurs of long-lost souls, who supposedly still patrol the cloistered hallways in perpetual vigil, blend with the echoing echoes of the past. One can almost feel the centuries weighing down on them in the haunting embrace of the Ursuline Convent, the curtain between the living and the dead getting thinner. The attraction of this ethereal haven endures as the flickering candlelight creates dancing shadows on the weathered walls, a monument to the enduring mystery that characterizes the very spirit of this enchanted.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is Ursuline Convent located?

A: The Ursuline Convent stands in the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Q: What is the legend of the Casket Girls?

A: The Casket Girls, arriving in the 1700s, were French brides sent to New Orleans. Legend has it that their empty suitcases were believed to harbor a curse, stirring rumors of vampirism and eerie occurrences.

Q: How did the harsh environment impact the Casket Girls?

A: The women endured a perilous three-month journey, arriving in New Orleans weakened and afflicted. Mistaken for vampires, their spectral legacy persists, woven into the haunting air of the Ursuline Convent.

Q: Is the Ursuline Convent haunted?

A: Many claim the Ursuline Convent is haunted by the spirits of the past. The Casket Girls’ tragic tale and the centuries-old history contribute to an eerie ambiance that lingers within its walls.

Q: What happened during the fires in 1788 and 1794?

A: Devastating fires led to the reconstruction of the Ursuline Convent, challenging its claim as the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley. However, the fires were not the cause of the mysterious deaths associated with the Casket Girls.

Q: Are there tours available to explore the Ursuline Convent?

A: Yes, guided tours offer a journey through centuries of history, unraveling tales of the Ursuline Sisters, the Casket Girls, and the eerie events that have shaped the haunting legacy of this historic landmark.

Q: How does the Ursuline Convent maintain its historical status?

A: Renovations began in 1976 to preserve the Ursuline Convent as a National Historical Landmark, granted in 1960. The ongoing efforts aim to protect the architectural and spectral richness of this iconic piece of history.

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