Book Online or Call 504.777.7769


5 stars on

We Spent The Night at the Haunted Hotel Villa Convento. Here’s What We Found.

See our Tour Guides Having Fun on a Ghost Hunt at Hotel Villa Convento.

If you’re familiar with the eerily sad melody “House of The Rising Sun,” which describes a New Orleans house that ruins lives with its sinfulness, you may have wondered if it is (or was) a real place in the city. Many have asked the same question, and as New Orleans locals and historical ghost tour guides, we think it just might be this extremely haunted hotel. 

Currently operated by a family as a charming guest house, the site that is now Hotel Villa Convento has two centuries of history, with rumors swirling in its past, and spirits stirring in its present. We have investigated this mysterious location, and here we present its story.

The History of A Rumored House of Ill Repute

Rumored to be the House of the Rising Sun, and the place Jimmy Buffet lost his virginity, the Hotel Villa Convento is one of New Orleans’s haunted hotels. Naturally, we stayed the night to test it out and we found evidence that it is as haunted as they say, but to fully appreciate our findings, here is some background on the location.

Hotel Villa Convento stands in the most famous part of New Orleans, the French Quarter, and has had several identities throughout its life. It started out as a plot of land owned by the Ursuline Nuns, who sold it to a man named Jean Baptiste Poeyfarre. In the 1830s, Poeyfarre had a building constructed on the land. Throughout the 1830s the building and land changed hands several times, eventually being owned by the Taromina family, who lived there from 1902 through 1946. 

Despite a family living in the building, the location that is now the Hotel Villa Convento developed a notorious reputation in the early twentieth century as a supposed brothel, catering to all manner of folk arriving by land or by sea. The song “House of the Rising Sun” implies that the New Orleans house described was indeed a house of ill repute, as well as a location of drinking, gambling, and more. Could these be the same location? More importantly for our purposes, could there still be ghosts of these wild times lingering at the site of their former lives?

The rumored history of Hotel Villa Convento as a place for drinking and gambling, represented by a hand of cards during a card game

After 1946, the building and land again went through a string of owners, eventually becoming a rooming house with studio apartments, mostly rented by students. During this era is when Jimmy Buffet lived on the property, in apartment 305. It is also where Eric Burdon of the Animals rewrote a 14th-century Celtic folk song to create the band’s version of “House of The Rising Sun.”

Finally, in the 1970s, the identity of the property changed again, into a hotel, which was eventually named “Hotel Villa Convento.” Since the 1980s, the Campo family has owned Hotel Villa Convento, maintaining its historical charm, as well as its apartment numbers, and providing comfortable accommodations for their guests. With a location convenient to the tourist attractions of the French Quarter, nowadays the hotel makes a nice place to stay for a family vacation.

Nonetheless, do ghosts of the property’s past still haunt the premises? We have heard the stories, so we went to see for ourselves. What we found made it hard to sleep that night.

What We Found at Hotel Villa Convento

 Knowing the history of the site, we were prepared to find the ghosts of everyone from friendly family members to bar patrons, from rowdy sailors to ladies of the evening, and even their madam. Bracing ourselves for another encounter with the supernatural, we prepared to stay the night at the hotel and record the above video to document our experiences. 

Two of our experts, mother and daughter, Monique and Aurora, braved the Hotel Villa Convento’s most haunted room, Room 209, where it was rumored that signs of haunting included flickering lights, objects moving on their own, and an unknown man’s voice. When they arrived at the hotel, a woman was complaining to the front desk about flickering lights and a growling noise in the elevator. The front desk associate confirmed they’ve had reports of mysterious occurrences.

As experienced ghost hunters, Monique and Aurora came prepared. To measure activity they brought tools including an EMF Detector, to look for electromagnetic fields that tend to be correlated with reports of ghosts, and a spirit box to facilitate communication with any ghosts that may be present via electronic voice phenomena. Using these tools, among others, they encountered highly persuasive evidence of ghosts. This evidence included a voice that seemed to belong to a gentleman who is known to have died in the bathroom of Room 209, impacts on their electronics, unexplained music, and a shampoo bottle getting moved from the edge of the bathtub to the floor.  

The conclusion from these findings is obvious: the rumors are true. Whether or not Hotel Villa Contento ever was the House of the Rising Sun, it currently is definitely a haunted hotel. Our personal experiences, through the lens of our professional expertise, strongly demonstrate that the hotel continues to attract supernatural phenomena. In one of the most haunted cities in the world, it only makes sense that a location with such a long and colorful history would have its own ghosts among its guests.

Search for Ghosts at Hotel Villa Convento and Other New Orleans Locations with Unique NOLA Tours

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend the night in a haunted hotel to learn the spookiest secrets of our city! Unique NOLA Tours’ our expert tour guides have done the work for you, learning the history and rumors that make this city so captivating. Our walking tours visit the Hotel Villa Convento, as well as many other locations of ghost sightings in New Orleans, and we love to share what we know about them. 

After all, if you want to find ghosts, New Orleans is a great place to look. It is a city full of frightening stories, both confirmed and suspected. For instance, did you know that one of the nation’s first serial killers owned a mansion in New Orleans? Wondering what happened at the famously haunted Andrew Jackson Hotel? You can learn about all this and more with Unique NOLA Tours.

Our one-mile guided walking tours can bring you right to the scene of events of truly unnerving history and mysterious happenings. Book your tour with Unique NOLA Tours today!