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America, Illustrated:…

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In a City Known as a Holiday Destination Ghostly Residents of the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans abound Year Round

Media Contact:

Char Thian

In a City Known as a Holiday Destination Ghostly Residents of the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans abound Year Round

NEW ORLEANS, La. - October 18, 2011 - It seems only natural that New Orleans would be a Halloween destination.  On any given day or night, visitors and locals can enjoy haunted history, voodoo and cemetery tours of this nearly 300 year old city.  Nearly 100,000 people attend the annual Voodoo Music Experience which takes place over Halloween weekend. Costuming is optional but encouraged throughout the ghoulish weekend, much like Mardi Gras. And if you are seeking a ghostly experience, you may find it at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, where our ghostly residents abound year round. 

The hotel originally opened on October 6, 2000 and is housed within a historic landmark, the Maison Blanche building.  The Maison Blanche department store occupied the first three floors of the building while the upper floors functioned as commercial office space.  Paranormal experts have claimed that the building is haunted by ghosts tied to the various properties that occupied the 900 block of Canal Street over the last one hundred and ninety-five (195) years.  When revitalizing the building to become the city's premier luxury hotel, the developers did not create a 13th floor and eliminated room number 666, but it didn't stop some friendly ghosts from making the hotel their permanent home. 

History of the 900 block of Canal Street:
1816: Christ Church Cathedral
1887: Mercier Mercantile Building
1872: Varieties Theatre
1881: Grand Opera House (replaced the Varieties Theatre)
1909: Maison Blanche (replaced Mercier Mercantile Building and the Grand Opera House)
1990: Maison Blanche Closes
2000: The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans Opens

Claudette Breve, Senior Concierge:
The intrigue of our resident spirits seems to be an ongoing mystery.  Over the years I have encountered the same tale from different guests and fellow employees.  I am not the type to embrace such sightings but I was very curious about the gentleman who resides on our Club Level.  The silhouette is that of a taller gentleman wearing what appears to be a black suit and top hat very much like the attire that was worn in the late 1800's.  He usually appears between 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. and contains himself to what is now the office area of the Club Level.  What makes it interesting is that the 900 block of Canal Street housed the Grand Opera House, a collection of Greek temple-like structures.  The three original carnival organizations held their balls in the opera house.  With all that in mind, was our guest a patron or a carnival krewe member attending a ball? 

We also have two mischievous spirits, both of whom reside on the 6th floor.  On more than one occasion, I have been told that the two children love to play all night jumping and bouncing on the bed.  Every guest that has encountered the ghostly children mentions the bed moving and lots of laughter. The main complaint from guests on the sixth floor over the years is lack of sleep.  A few guests have opted to move to a different room on a different floor.  Who can blame them? 

Daisye Suduran, Spa Director:
A little girl ghost enjoys the ladies relaxation area and likes to let us know when she is around.  I turned off everything in the lounge and was departing for the day.  When I passed back through, all of the lights were on again.  I was the only person in the spa, so I can only suspect that it is our little playful little girl ghost.  Other childish but ghostly happenings include flickering lights, the movement of spa oils along with the opening and closing of doors. This happens a lot when our therapists perform the Marie Laveau Voodoo Love Bath and Massage service.  When the spa first opened, massage therapists used to dust the rooms with white sage to ward off the spirits.  Now, they just allow them to join us in our day-to-day activities. 

Eddie Varner, Massage Therapist:
It was late one evening and I was the only person in our 22,000 square foot spa. I was doing a final walk through and stepped into room fifteen (15). I heard someone whisper my name, so I stepped into the hallway.  No one was there. As I walked backed into the room, my feet were thrown out from under me and I landed on the ground. Goose bumps covered my entire body and I could not wait to close up and go home.  Recently, I was conducting a couple's massage in room sixteen (16) when the other therapist's stool began to roll around the table. It was all we could do not to run out and leave our guest on the table but we knew that the little girl ghost meant no ill will. 

Who is this little girl with the penchant for practical jokes?  We may never know who our ghostly inhabitants are, but we are glad that they've chosen to reside peacefully amongst us. After all, playful hi-jinx never hurt anyone.  New Orleans is a Halloween destination, so bring your costume or buy one here, but come to New Orleans for All Hallows' Eve!

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., of Chevy Chase, Md., currently operates 75 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. More than 30 hotel and residential projects are under development around the globe. For more information, or reservations, contact a travel professional, call toll free in the U.S. 1-800-241-3333, or visit the company web site at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR).  The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans is located at 921 Canal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70112. 

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