I couldn’t figure out why the picture on the brochure advertising ghost tours of the Garden District in New Orleans looked familiar. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks–that’s my long-lost uncle Ernest Kruttschnitt’s house on the cover.
The home, which is currently used as a boarding house, and apparently is for sale for $960,000, does look a bit disheveled. The wood beams on the third floor could use some paint. Air conditioning units dangle at odd angles from the windows. The concrete walk is just this side of falling apart.
While the home at 1539 Fourth Street may be one of the worst-kept, what on earth could have happened there to earn it a spot on the tour? For that, we must ask tour guide, Karla Boullion, who leads tours of the haunted house of the infamous Garden District.
“It’s one of the first ghost stories I learned,” relates Boullion. “It’s about Ernest’s butler, not Ernest, who continued living in the house for at least two years after Ernest died in 1906.
“There were three things this butler liked, wine, women, and cigars, and guess which two nearly killed him? Wine and women, of course.
“One night after a long night of drinking, the butler fell asleep with a lit cigar. He woke up with his room ablaze. Thankfully, the fire department showed up in time to save the house.
“But the women who visit the room today say that his presence can still be felt. More than one woman has said that they’ve felt a spirit grope or fondle them. The butler’s spirit lives on to this day.”
If Ernest or his butler were still alive today, they would entertain some pretty famous company. Sandra Bullock bought the home around the block, where she may raise the son she adopted from New Orleans. John Goodman could come over for dinner; he lives two blocks away.