When a place has been inhabited since 1840, there are sure to be a few stories infused into its walls. The Cornstalk Hotel in New Orleans certainly has a few. Here, at the most photographed hotel in one of the most picturesque cities in the country, my ghost story begins.
Let’s start with a stroll down Royal Street. It’s 1840, New Orleans is a bustling port city cradled in a crescent giving access to both the ocean and the great Mississippi. In a stylish home – not far from Jackson Square — a husband worries that his wife is suffering from a deep longing for her Iowa home.
In one of the most romantic acts, still able to be witnessed well over one-hundred years later, the man commissions an iron-work fence. Wait? What? Stick with me here. The man requests a grand gate made in the shape of the swaying stalks of corn that dominate the landscape of his beloved’s home. Rising above the sidewalk of Royal Street we can still see this love letter today.
When the rare opportunity for my husband and I to getaway -sans offspring — came up, I chose The Cornstalk Hotel for this story alone. Besides, staying in New Orleans should be an adventure in the extraordinary and staying somewhere this old and ornate is like time travel.
Our stay was lovely. Sitting on the balcony, I felt like a grand dame of New Orleans society, nodding at the endless gatherings of tourists that stopped to snap photos of the hotel. The proprietor joined us on the veranda as we listened to guides from the hourly ghost tours stop to regale their audiences with tales of the rooms we’d be spending our weekend in.
Perhaps that played into the bumps and knocks we’d hear all weekend. Maybe the flickering lights were just due to faulty bulbs. Buildings settle over time, door frames warp. Could it be that was the reason the door to our bathroom would slowly swing open hours after I know I closed it?
The Cornstalk Hotel – New Orleans, Louisianan
Address: 915 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Phone: (504) 523-1515
Price Point: $179 – $324 – depending on season and day of the week.
Note: As mentioned, this is an old house. Though it is also a quaint boutique hotel, it isn’t exactly what I’d personally consider luxury. That said, I’d gladly go back again. It really is a very unique place that is worth staying.
If you are planing to visit New Orleans with children, this may not be the hotel for you.