Wednesday, October 26, 2011

♫...Way down yonder in New Orleans...♫


&


The LeBeau Plantation 

Yes, you read that right...the LeBeau Plantation...no relation. 
Last Saturday, on my birthday, I was rolling down the Mississippi River on Steamboat Natchez, while sipping a Whiskey Sour...when suddenly, the guide (over the intercom) pointed out the top of the LeBeau Plantation...

The top of the house is barely visible

The fact that it had the name LeBeau attached to it peaked my interest, and that night when I got back to the hotel, I decided to do a little research on the house.
The house sits along the Mississippi River at the end of LeBeau street and is located on the Domino Sugar Refinery's property.  Before Katrina hit, the building was actually being restored, however, since the hurricane, it seems plans have been put on the back-burner. 

The LeBeau Plantation, once the largest plantation south of New Orleans, was built in 1854 by Francois Barthelemy LeBeau. The house, once the largest plantation south of New Orleans, has served as a hotel, a brick factory and an illegal casino over the years.
The Greek Revival-style house was built using brick-between-posts construction. It has 16 rooms, an attic and an octagonal cupola but only one interior stairway.
“When New Orleans officials told Francois LeBeau he was going to be taxed on the number of interior stairwells in the house, he tore the inner ones out and built them on the outside,” Bulot said.
Gun turrets built into closets are a testament to the structure’s days as the Jai Alai Casino in the early 1900s.
A 1986 fire destroyed much of the interior and most of the roof. The house has been uninhabited since then.
In 2003, the Meraux Foundation, which owns the property, hired architects to shore up and waterproof the structure, which was in danger of collapse.  (Source)
It's a historic, abandoned house, just outside of New Orleans...so, of course, it's haunted. People have reported seeing strange lights coming from the cupola atop the house.

The Lebeau plantation house had been infamous for being the most haunted house in that area, every old-timer and kid alike knew the stories well. About 150 years ago, the Lebeau plantation had been the sight of cruel mistreatment of slaves by the Lebeaus. They would beat their slaves, sometimes to death, and then order the other slaves to bury the dead off in the fields beside the house. This murderous behavior continued until it seems that the spirits of the dead began to haunt the Lebeau family and one by one drove them all to insanity. Eventually, each of the Lebeaus committed suicide in turn (at least two of them were hangings on the 2nd floor).

Many more stories surrounding the Lebeau plantation house continued over the next century and a half. Among the most recent of them, was the story of the house having been rented in the 1970s, where a little girl was thrown from the fourth floor cupola window (evidently not thrown by a person). Needless to say, the house was never again rented after that. (Source)
However you look at it, one thing is undeniable...this house has quite a history.

More Info:
A detailed account of late night Ghost Hunting at the house.
A beautiful photo at DeviantArt
Gorgeous Photoset on Flickr
More in depth photos.
and this...





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