714 Saint Peter Street

The following article is for entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as scholarly research or as a final authority on the topic.

It’s Freaky Friday, and there’s spooky stuff in the air. Let’s talk about The Old Coffee Pot Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana.  That place is haunted.

If you ever go to New Orleans, it’s worth a trip to 714 Saint Peter Street to eat at the Old Coffee Pot restaurant. It’s been nearly fifteen years since I’ve been in that city, but I still remember they had good food for a reasonable price.

As you enjoy your blackened chicken and dessert of bread pudding, here’s something for you to think about.

The History

In the 1850s, 714 Saint Peter Street held the offices of a dentist named Xavier Deschamps. The world of anesthetics was in its infancy, and Dr. Deschamps pioneered in the field. Hypnotism and its use in pain relief also interested Dr. Deschamps.  Sounds okay so far, right?

Anesthetics and hypnotism weren’t the only oddball practices that interested Dr. Deschamps.  He was also taken in by the mid-nineteenth century spiritualism craze. He participated in séances to contact the dead.  Deschamps believed spirits could tell him the location of lost fortune and untold riches.

Through his profession, Dr. Deschamps met many young women. His aggressive personality and his knowledge of drugs and hypnotism allowed him to gain a certain amount of control over them. Dr. Deschamps became convinced one of his patients possessed clairvoyant abilities.

He hypnotized his victim with the intent of finding hidden treasure. When she knew nothing, he lost his temper and beat her. This cycle of hypnotism and frustrated beatings went on for weeks. The poor girl finally died of an overdose of chloroform. Dr. Deschamps was promptly arrested, tried, and executed.

The Ghost Story

That was just the beginning. Later residents of 714 Saint Peter Street reported seeing Dr. Deschamps and his unfortunate victim in spirit form. Sometime in the late 1800s, a young man was frightened by apparitions while bathing.  He ran into Saint Peter Street and up Royal Street naked and soapy. The man refused to ever set foot in the his apartment again.  His friends had to retrieve his belongings.

The building at 714 Saint Peter Street eventually became a restaurant. On the website, Old Coffee Pot Restaurant says they were established in 1894.  It’s very possible they were the first (and last) restaurant in that location.

The restaurant’s employees have reported a feminine ghost. She is believed responsible for poltergeist activity such as moving pots and pans. Objects frequently disappear.

Even more spooky, this ghost has communicated vocally. She has called employees by name and touched them. Sometimes a shadow accompanies the voice and ghostly touches.

The last and final freak factor of The Old Coffee Pot is the black cat.  It seems to gain entrance no matter what employees do to keep it out.  Before anyone can catch it, the cat disappears. No amount of coaxing and bribing can bring it out again.  The same cat has been on the scene for over forty years.

My Ghost Story

I wouldn’t tell a story like this unless I had something to add to it.  Here it is:

In our younger years, my husband and I visited New Orleans as often as we could afford to go.  The last year we went, we did a lot of things we’d never done before.

One of the things we did was visit The Old Coffeepot Restaurant.  We’d heard about it on a ghost tour and had to check it out.  Our dinner was good…better than good, really.

At the end of the meal, I visited the restroom.  Inside that room, I had the oddest experience.  Something bore down on me, bullying me.  I couldn’t find my way out of the restroom.

Everything got blurry and foggy and confused.  I don’t know how long I bumped around in there.  My husband finally came to get me.  He said he could hear me shuffling around in there and rattling things.

The next day we visited the French Market.  There, I bought a book about New Orleans Ghosts.  When we got back to the hotel, I read aloud the chapter about 714 Saint Peter Street.  Until that day, I’d never heard about the black cat’s ghost.

When I read that part to my husband, he got very quiet.  Later in the evening, he told me he’d seen the black cat the night I had my encounter with whatever lives in that second floor restroom.  He said he didn’t think much about the cat, other than wondering how it had gotten inside.

Seeing a black cat is supposed to be bad luck.  Maybe that only counts for the live ones.  In the many years since that last visit to New Orleans, we’ve had the best luck imaginable.  Like that old commercial says, we’ve come a long way, baby.

So that’s my ghost story for this Friday.  Have any of you been to New Orleans?  Did you see a ghost?  What about ghosts in other old cities?

I’ll leave you with this.  It’s a video I found on You Tube.  In it, one of The Old Coffee Pot’s waitresses sings one of my favorite gospel standards:

  

Yeah, it’s blurry…but wow.

For a more modern take on the ghost story, check out Stacy Green’s Bugsy Siegel post on her Turning the Page blog.

 

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