Can you tell which house is haunted?
While Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop seems the obvious pick of haunted buildings on the corner of Bourbon Street and St. Phillip Street, when asked, most people on my tours point to the boarded up brick building directly across the street.
It happens frequently enough to warrant a little indulgent digging to see if there is, in fact, a connection between the two properties.
The oldest record of this property dates to 1817 when it was sold upon the death of its owner: Jacques Enoul Livaudais Sr. The year is significant. It’s just 2 years after the famous Battle of New Orleans. Just 2 years after the wanted Lafitte pirates surprisingly came to the aid of the Americans- then quickly left town, leaving behind their “blacksmith shop” across the street.
Jacques Enoul Livaudais Sr may have actually had a connection to the Lafittes.
The first Livaudais to arrive in New Orleans came from Saint Malo, the walled port on the northwest coast of France. Jacques Esnould de Livaudis arrived in New Orleans with his uncle. Lavigne-Voisin.
Saint Malo at the time was an active port and, like all proper port cities, it was teeming with pirates. One of whom was said to be Livaudais’s uncle, Lavigne Voisin. The founder of New Orleans, Bienville, referred to Lavigne-Voisin as a “famous corsair”.
Is it possible that the Lafitte brothers hung out at this house- swapping pirate stories and tricks of the trade? Is it possible the Lafitte brothers stashed away some of their goodies in the walls of this old home?
*Despite this connection to a well known pirate, the Livaudais family did much to help the port succeed, both in maintaining its use and settling the land.
Historic New Orleans Collection Collins C Diboll Collection, Creole Families by Grace King, Fleur de Lys and Calumet by Andre Penicaut, Wikitree, “Archival Evaluation of Floodwall Alignments” by Sally K Reeves, 1982.