The Ghost of Madame Mineurecanal
In and around the French Quarter of New Orleans it seems you can’t turn around without finding a place not haunted by a ghost. Some are famous and others aren’t as well known. But all have one thing in common…they suffered a tragedy. The Creole Lady of Faubourg Marigny, perhaps better known as Madame Mineurecanal, is one of those. She lived in the two and one-half story house at 2026 Royal Street in the Faubourg Marigny built in the 1830s.
Madame Mineurecanal’s life is shrouded in mystery as no one knows for certain who she was. Some believe she may have been the wife of a well known Creole French noble who was a politician, wealthy landowner and gambler by the name of Bernard de Marigny. However, she is never listed as such in any official documents, so she may have been his mistress as Marigny was also known as a womanizer. Additionally, he died in 1868 at the age of 83 and it’s said Madame was living in the house around the turn of the century.
Marigny was known as Johnny Crapaud when he was gambling. He is credited with bringing the game of “Hazard” to New Orleans, a dice game played in England and brought to the New World sometime in the 18th century. The game of Hazard eventually evolved into what is known today as “craps,” supposedly named in honor of Johnny Crapaud.
According to the legend, Madame Mineurecanal lived alone with a small white dog. No one knows the reason why, but one day she went to the attic and hung her dog from an overhead beam, then herself. Her passing went almost unnoticed since the only people she met were those she encountered while walking her beloved dog. And then she would only acknowledge any greetings with a customary nod of the head.
Bernard de Marigny
Forty years passed before she would make her foreboding presence in the old house known again. The new owners, identified only as Ramon and Teresa, had grown up in the house after their parents had bought the property. As a punishment for misbehaving they were often sent to sit at the bottom of the staircase. The two children became familiar with the ghostly, dark haired lady dressed in white carrying a small dog descending the staircase. They often described her to their parents as having a bloody neck and bulging eyes. But, the kid’s story was casually dismissed as the product of over active imaginations.
When young Teresa began calling the ghost "mini-canal,” She began appearing to everyone in the household. One night the father crawled into bed with who he thought was his wife. But his wife wasn’t in the habit of disappearing into thin air. Another time she was seen sadly staring down into the crib of their newborn child as if lamenting the fact she had no children. When Madame became aware she had been seen she vanished through a wall.
Most believe the spirit means no one any serious harm however, tragedy did strike when she made one fatal appearance. The mother was in her seventh month of pregnancy when she was making a phone call to her husband from a phone near the stairs to the attic. A strange sound caused her to turn around and look up the stairs. She saw a small white dog followed by a woman in period clothing descending the staircase. There was no one else in the house at the time and the attic door was locked. The sight terrified her to the point her heart stopped beating momentarily. Her baby was stillborn.
On yet another occasion, a visiting young cousin had a frightening experience with the ghost. He was a skeptic and didn’t believe the stories about the house being haunted. He good naturedly poked fun and scoffed at the ludicrous idea of there being any such spirit as a Madame “Mini-Canal.” He also taunted “mini-canal” by singing her name over and over again in a laughing manner.
Madame apparently didn’t find the young lad’s antics very funny. After going to bed one night the boy was awakened by a sharp slap. There was no one else in the room, yet he had been slapped as evidenced by a bright red hand mark on his face.
From then on Madame wasn't so friendly. For no apparent reason, an uncle suddenly began having suicidal thoughts. Fortunately, he never acted on them. Nonetheless, the family had the entrance to the attic boarded up.
It is said that Madame Mineurecanal still haunts the stairwell while others claim she is trapped in the now capped chimney. However, according to the present owner, the house is no longer haunted and he has had no encounters with any spectral beings. He says the previous owner was a Native American who performed traditional Indian rituals to exorcise the house.