The New Orleans Restaurant Where The Deceased Owner Has A Standing Reservation

Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan loved his New Orleans home so much he couldn't bear to leave it — even after he died. Whether it was because of its proximity to the best food in New Orleans or just because he liked the grounds, we're not entirely sure. However, for whatever reason, Jourdan's life and death have created a legend likely far beyond that of his wildest dreams.

According to New Orleans Ghosts, Jourdan was one in a string of owners who laid claim to a parcel in what is now the city's French Quarter. The original owner, Claude Trepagnier, received the property in 1718 as a land grant from the city's founder, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. Trepagnier had a small cottage at the site, which historians believe may have been a transit point for slaves being held for auction. Jean-Baptiste Destrehan, a wealthy landowner, acquired the site in the mid-1700s, razed the cottage, and built an extravagant manor house.

The next owner, plantation magnate Pierre Phillipe de Marigny, used the home as his city residence until it was partially destroyed during the Great Fire of 1788. According to Ghost City Tours, Jourdan subsequently acquired the damaged home and rebuilt it to his specifications, ultimately turning it into a family residence he adored — until 1814 when he made a decision that forever changed the idyllic life he treasured. A gambling man, Jourdan bet his house in a card game and lost. We can only imagine the devastation he felt knowing he so recklessly lost the home he and his family loved. 

Unable to face the prospect of moving out, Jourdan died by suicide in a second-floor parlor. Tragic? Yes. But, according to legend, he may have found the one loophole that let him stay in the house forever.

Guess who's coming to dinner

After his death, Jourdan's beloved home passed through several residential owners (via Louisiana Spirits) until around 1900 when Peter Lipari flipped it for commercial use (via New Orleans Ghosts), paving the way for a string of business ventures, including a restaurant, before it opened as Muriel's in 2001. We haven't turned up any reports of hauntings prior to 2001, but we do know the current owners called in paranormal researchers, including Louisiana Spirits, to investigate reports of unusual occurrences like glasses unexpectedly taking flight from the bar and a deliberately moving sparkle of light or orb (via The Haunted Places).

In 2008, New Orleans Magazine accompanied Louisiana Spirits on a ghost-hunting excursion at Muriel's. The writer reported several potential encounters with Jourdan's spirit, including deliberate knocking in response to specific questions. Was Jourdan knocking to confirm he's still in residence or was he begging for a taste of the absolute best beignets in New Orleans? We're not entirely sure, but we do know staff and patrons that report similar experiences never mention feeling threatened. Most people say the encounters are like welcoming "an old kindred spirit to dine."

And that's exactly what management did when they decided to set a designated table, complete with fresh bread and wine, for Jourdan every evening. They only forgot once. According to The Haunted Places, Jourdan expressed his displeasure at the oversight with a loud thump, the sound of a chair hitting a brick wall adjacent to his table.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).