Ghost Story

My mom is from New Orleans, she grew up in a big Catholic family, one of 7 kids. Which I suppose isn’t THAT big because my grandfather was one of 16 kids. Three died in childhood, which honestly, for back then (late 1800s to early 1900s)? I think that having 13 kids survive to adulthood was considered better-than-average odds. Also, can we take a moment to appreciate what an unbelievable badass my great-grandmother must have been to survive SIXTEEN pregnancies?? Just two nearly killed me.

Anyway, there’s this house my mom grew up in, and she and her siblings all talk about it fondly. When I was a kid and we’d visit my grandparents and other relatives in New Orleans, we drove past their old house many times. At some point, and I’m guessing it must have been in the 1980s (because my grandmother died in 1994), the old family home went up for sale, and they were having an open house. My grandmother wanted to go see their old house, so two of my mom’s siblings took her to visit it.

When they got there, the current owners of the house were also there. My aunt and uncle explained how this was their old house, and they were just visiting because they were curious to see it after so many years. The current owners asked if when they lived there, they’d ever experienced anything supernatural or seen a ghost. My aunt and uncle reacted as if these people were bonkers, and they were basically like, “uh… no???” Meanwhile, my very quiet and soft-spoken grandmother said, “Well, what does the ghost look like?”

The owners said they sometimes saw an old man in the kitchen, he wore glasses and was usually drinking coffee or looking over some papers. My grandmother said, “Oh, that’s Judge [French name*]. He was the original owner of the house.”

(* I’m not typing out this man’s actual name because it’s somewhat unusual and I don’t want to potentially upset any of his family members who might come across this.)

My aunt and uncle stared at my grandmother, both of them stunned. They asked my grandmother why she never told anyone about this ghost?? She said, “Because you all would have been scared to death and none of you would have been able to sleep again! Besides, he was harmless, I only ever saw him in the kitchen.”

Flash-forward about 40 years, give or take, and my aunt and uncle just told the rest of their siblings about this ghost a few months ago when they had a family reunion in New Orleans. The other 5 siblings (including my mom) are reeling because they had no idea they grew up in a haunted house.

After doing some research, one of my uncles found out that my grandparents bought the house from this judge’s widow. They also found his obituary, which indicates that he died in his chambers at work, not in the house that my mom grew up in. But I guess your ghost can hang out at home instead of at work? I’m not sure of the rules there.

But guess what? The obituary included a photo.

So that’s the ghost that lived in my mom’s childhood home. The home that she only found out was haunted when she was 75 years old. My mom said she has never really believed in ghosts, but if her devoutly Catholic mother just quietly accepted his presence, “then I guess I believe in ghosts now.”

And to be honest, just based on the photo alone, the guy looks pretty ghost-y.

How bananas is that?