Due to its many ghost stories and magical folklore, New Orleans is one of the most sought-after occult destinations in the world. To make the most of your trip here, plan on staying for at least four or five days to enjoy everything New Orleans has to offer. 

The Mexican Witch celebrating The Black Brown Get Down with the Mardi Gras Indians
The Mexican Witch celebrating the Black and Brown Get Down with the Mardis Gras Indians © Valeria Ruelas / The Mexican Witch

Of course, some of the magick of New Orleans is appropriated and exaggerated in popular culture, so for this guide I am only featuring medium-verified places. Read on to find all the places you can spot ghosts, get real potions and learn from actual witches and Black voodoo practitioners. I've also thrown in my favorite spots for dining and entertainment.

But remember, in New Orleans most entertainment is free or has a very low cover charge. Make sure to bring plenty of cash to tip musicians, performers and the spiritual readers. 

Before doing anything else

Your starting point is Uxi Duxiin Mid City to purchase herbal potions and elixirs to enhance your spiritual trip. Look for the ones made from Kratom and Kava, known to produce euphoria, relaxation and of course enhance your visions and connection to the spiritual world.

The tomb of Maria Laveau in the St. Louis Cemetery #1 is a popular place to leave offerings and ask for a witch – but it isn't the only place around town to commune with famous spirits © Tacojim / Getty Images

Go ghost hunting

Hurricane Katrina Memorial: Head to Hurricane Katrina Memorial at 5056 Canal st. Where 83 people who died in the hurricane and remain unclaimed are honored. It is believed a lot of these souls never left New Orleans and still roam the city providing happiness and cheer. Praying at this memorial is a great way to connect to the beloved dead. It's common in spiritual practices to leave offerings, so in order to enter any cemetery respectfully, bring a small bottle of liquor, flowers, stuffed animals or cigarettes to leave on a grave. If you're lucky, this memorial is a place where it’s common to hear “ghost music” a manifestation of spirit that happens spontaneously. You may suddenly hear brass music, trumpets or even blasts of Lil Wayne here. 

 The Ghost of Marie Laveau: Laveau is arguably one of New Orleans most famous ghosts, she was a Black Creole woman whose legend is still spoken all over the world. She is known as the witch queen, and worshipped in spiritual communities for her miraculous powers of healing disease, and her spells that resulted in successful court cases. It is possible that Marie was buried in plot 347 in St. Louis Cemetery #1 – however this has been disputed. Marie’s ghost has been spotted all around the city however and she can be found in locations outside her supposed grave. It's worth exploring her father’s house on 1801 Dauphine and or heading to 1022 St Ann in the French Quarter where she lived for a while. She also roams Congo Square inside Louis Armstrong Park on Sundays during drum circles. 

The Ghost of Aleister Crowley: British occultist and lover of sex magick, Aleister Crowley is an icon in the occult community and he used to live in New Orleans at the Dragon’s Den where his ghost tends to hang out upstairs. The Dragon’s Den is now a popular nighttime venue. Their Saturday show “Talk Nerdy to Me” is a cosplay burlesque you don’t want to miss.

Brandan Odums or BMike stands in front of the Wall of Peace Mural which he paineted
Brandan "BMike" Odums is the artist and creative force behind B Studios © Erika Goldring / Getty Images

Peruse art 

The creative spirit in New Orleans literally flows through every nook and cranny. These visual artists have tapped into that flow using the city as a muse to create inspired works that celebrate life when it seems impossible to do and expose injustice in the most moving ways.

Terrance Osborne Gallery: Not only is Terrance Osborne a New Orleans treasure; he is a national treasure as well. New Orleans is undoubtedly Osborne's muse and his use of color and broad, expansive brush strokes are eye-popping.

Studio B: Located in the Bywater, this Black-owned warehouse gallery features mural-sized pieces by artist activist Brandan “B Mike” Oddums. Oddums creates art centered on Black activism and modern Black struggle with racism and police violence.

While there are many stores that claim to educate and sell you items for your practice, these are the ones that are medium-approved © M. Kaercher / Getty Images

Browse the best occcult stores 

New Orleans has amazing opportunities to add to your tool kit. From herbs and gris-gris to crystals and candles and beautiful tarot cards. 

Botanica Mi Angel de la Guarda: Located at # 2, 400 S Broad, Suite C this Honduran-owned botanica is the best bargain spot for glass candles. Head here for altar statues, and all things related to Central American and Mexican magick more commonly known as brujeria.

Haus Of Hoodoo and Apothecary: Dominican-born owner, Jessycka Winston is a Rootworker/Hoodoo practitioner, and Vodoun Priestess. The shop specializes in bruja-made products and loose herbs and also offers spiritual consultations in-store. Book in advance. The readings take 20-30 minutes.

The French Quarter Gem and Lapidary: While you're wandering around the French Quarter, be sure to stop in at The French Quarter Gem and Lapidary. Crystals start at $2 and the shop also stocks fine jewelry and animal bones.

You might be tempted by any number of "psychics" on the street. But why not take the time and book a reading with a true mystic © Judy Bellah / Getty Images

Get a reading or learn a bit of magic

With a glut of people trying to earn a dime off a tourist, it is challenging to know if the reading you're getting is genuine. These mediums offers some of the best spiritual services in town.

Dark lady Nola: Book a reading with Matt the owner of Dark Lady Nola. This is one of the best places to get a psychic reading and Matt will give you an excellent look into your future and spiritual life. 

Priestess Kalinda Laveaux: Remember Marie Laveau? Well, her descendant are alive and well in the city and Prisestess Kalinda Marie Laveaux is available for readings. The New Orleans Voodoo Queen also offers specialized tours on the Voodoo and Afro-Creole culture in New Orleans.  

Crescent City Conjure: Located in the Marigny, the Crescent City Conjure is the place to go for African ancestral magick known as “hoodoo.” This shop offers handcrafted tools to use in your craft, classes and courses to deepen your practice and spiritual services. 

Elizabeth's is a popular local hangout serving up the best breakfast © Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

Eat your fill

You won't go hungry in New Orleans, that's for sure. But for a taste that honors the city's past and the influence of its many cultures head to any of these spots to sate your hunger as well as your curiosity.

Commander’s Palace: The turtle soup at Commander's Place is cooked for THREE days – you really must try it. But the tableside souffle is also a must. The restaurant is conveniently located in front of the Lafayette Cemetary. 

Superior Sea Food: Head to Superior Sea Food for happy hour from 4-6:30 where you can snag the raw oysters for 50 cents/piece daily.

Espíritu Mezclaría y Cocina: From pozole, to tortas and a carefully curated Mezcal selection, Espíritu also offers adventurous eaters chapulines (fried grasshoppers) for their guacamole.  

Surrey's Cafe and Juice Bar: Thank goodness Surrey’s Cafe and Juice Bar serve breakfast all day (from 8am - 3pm) because the banana's foster French toast is a must try on your visit to NOLA.  

Elizabeth's NOLA: Another place to score a perfect breakfast, Elizabeth’s NOLA serves up oysters eggs Benedict and biscuits with sausage gravy that give a whole new meaning to from-scratch cooking. 

Morrow's: Looking to try the city's best barbecue shrimp? Want to support Black-owned businesses? Check out Morrow’s for Cajun/Korean fusion you didn't even know you needed. 

The French Market: Try the exquisite 12-hour smoked gator on a stick. The French Market is a bustling jungle full of food trucks and curios, so you'll need to keep your eye out to snag that gator, but you'll be so grateful you did. 

Loretta's Authentic Pralines: Loretta was the first Black woman to own and operate a praline store 35 years ago and she continues to thrive. Loretta's Authentic Pralines is famous for the praline beignet (a fusion of two popular New Orleans desserts) and the lump crab meat beignet is pretty amazing as well.

The Green Fairy is a potion brewed from wormwood an herb used to connect to the spirit world, perfect for a night out in New Orleans © Beba73 / Getty Images

Try absinthe before a night of entertainment

Everyone knows that New Orleans is a party city, but its also filled with interesting creators of cocktails, performers and fabulous dancers. Check out these Mexican Witch-approved places for after-hours fun. 

Pirates Alley Café: Serving up "The Green Fairy" with style, Pirates Alley Café is a great place to sample absinthe. This creativity-inducing spirit is served traditionally, diluted with water from a fountain onto a sugar cube. Absinthe is a liquor that contains wormwood – a witches’ herb often used to connect to the spirit world and believed to make visions more vivid. To enhance its spiritual effects on you, stare at the glass while it’s being poured. The cafe is located next to the St Louis Cathedral where many tour guides tell the stories of pirates, priests and prostitutes who have been roaming this alley for centuries.

Monkey Board: For awesome views of the skyline and the Mercedes Superdome, have a drink at the Monkey Board rooftop bar. 

Oz: The very popular gay dance club, Oz features a weekly Drag Show hosted by Apostrophe – The Clown Witch of New Orleans . Show starts at 9 pm every Friday and is great for dancing.

Chris Owens: Every Friday night Chris Owens (No website - located at 500 Bourbon St) hosts the city's hottest Latino dance party

Santos Bar: For the heavy metal and rock enthusiast Santos Bar is a rumored-to-be-very-haunted venue that has seen it all (orphans, mafia, goth-queens) and welcomes all head-bangers and dance enthusiasts.

Hotel Le Pavillon is the ultimate haunted hotel. With so many ghosts in residence, it will be a wonder if you don't see one © ablokhin / Getty Images

Where to Stay

While there are so many places to book in New Orleans for occult-seekers, these are our favorites for pampering, as well as paranormal experiences.

The Suites at Belladonna: First one of New Orleans' best luxury day spas, the Suites at Belladonna are an addition to the experience. With a hot tub and steam rooms in the tea garden and a full menu of spa options, you may not leave the hotel while you're visiting.  

Hotel Le Pavillon: Not for the faint of heart, Hotel Le Pavillon is perfect for the paranormal enthusiast and thrill seeker who wants to stay in a haunted room. It is also the standard of New Orleans luxury. 

Valeria Ruelas, better known as The Mexican Witch is a resident of New Orleans, a spiritual medium and witch. Readings available on her website.  Follow her on Instagram @themexicanwitch

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