In 2003, I was the assistant front desk manager for the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in New Orleans. The hotel sits smack dab in the middle of the debauchery which has made the French Quarter famous. It’s like the song says – If you got the money, honey; I got your disease. However, under the glow of the neon lights there is something much older, more genteel and a little disarming in the history of this picturesque area.
The Bourbon Orleans Hotel is over 200 years old and was originally slated to become the premier host of quadroon balls for the city. For those not familiar with the term, a quadroon ball was a ball wherein wealthy plantation owners were introduced to the “other” refined daughters of wealthy plantation owners — those daughters of African and European ancestry. The intent was to forge a “second marriage” of sorts.
But this was not to be. The Civil War and an outbreak of Yellow Fever intervened. In the end, the Bourbon Orleans hosted Death as its chief guest. And became one of the most haunted places in the United States.
As an employee of the Bourbon Orleans, you often heard the stories — the child kicking a ball down the hallway, the angry man dressed in Civil War garb yelling through your bathroom mirror, a nun staring at you from her spot at the foot of your bed. You get used to them and dismiss them as fanciful stories from those who have enjoyed themselves much too much on Bourbon Street.
But from the point of view of a completely sober woman who was eight months pregnant at the time, I will tell you my story.
I entered the small catering kitchen specifically designed for service to the Bourbon Orleans’ Ballroom. As a manager, it was my duty to check that everything was in its proper place and that the doors that should be locked were locked and those that shouldn’t be locked weren’t.
The kitchen was immaculate as usual and I began my climb to employee entrance of the Grand Ballroom. It was a slow process because as I said I was eight months pregnant at the time and it was close to midnight by the end of my shift. Upon reaching the first landing, I heard music and thought that the cleaning crew had not finished.
Crap! That’s another thirty minutes I’ll have to wait around.
I hitched up my skirt and continued the climb up the next set of steps. The music was louder and it began to register that I was hearing classical music. Definitely not the rap music that should have been blaring.
By the time I reached the second landing, my steps slowed to a stop and my breath caught in my chest. Not only could I hear the music, but there was the unmistakable sound of laughter and chatter filtering around me, more than could be produced by a crew of nine.
It had to be a joke.
The crew was playing a joke on me.
I placed my hand firmly on the door knob. The music and the laughter were so loud that it thundered in my ears and I pushed opened the door to the ballroom … to find complete darkness and silence.
I let the door swing shut on its hinges and hurried down the two flights of stairs. The music started up again as did the laughter and the chatter and the distinct clink of glasses. I could hear everybody in that dark, empty room above me.
I found the onsite security officer in his office. Upon his walk through, he found nothing to be out of order in his search of the ballroom.
The next morning I was in the office of my general manager with the witness of my HR representative letting them both know that I would no longer be checking the interior of the Bourbon Orleans without an escort.
My husband will tell you that I was tired and pregnant. But I will tell you that I heard the sounds from a gala in that dark, empty ballroom…perhaps two hundred years later.
You can read more about the haunted history at the hotels website: http://bourbonorleans4-px.trvlclick.com/a-haunted-new-orleans-hotel
Vallory Vance is the pen name of this new author, currently residing in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex who also works as a Human Resources professional. After her family consisting of a husband of almost twenty years, three kids and two dogs have filled her evenings with laughter, she sits down to her laptop to write tales of the first moments of falling in love when nothing else seems to matter.
As a fortieth birthday present to herself, she decided to share her stories. Vallory Vance writes contemporary romances that range from sweet to spicy.
Music for Her Soul Summary
Lena Spencer is a practical woman whose world is carefully ordered by schedules and timelines and she doesn’t like surprises. So when she receives a call from a beautiful model detailing an affair with her boyfriend, her world is thrown into chaos. With the help of her boisterous sister and niece, Lena manages to pick up the pieces and resume her role as a single working mom with the added bonus of a few slinky dresses to show off the figure she’d always hidden. Feeling sexy and confident, she is almost prepared for Ethan’s return from a European tour. Almost.
Musician, Ethan Holden, realized too late that he’d miscalculated the level of Lena’s fury. A ten month tour through Europe and a crazed fan had proven too much for the both of them. Returning to his hometown, he is determined to win her back despite her resistance. But can he give up the music he loves if that’s the only thing she wants?