1240 BURGUNDY STREET
One of the French Quarter's most imposing buildings has always been a part of the city's legends and mysteries. According to the stories, it was once the scene of a brutal rapes and violent bloodshed.... tragedies that still linger behind as a haunting.
The home was constructed in 1836 by a wealthy Creole man named Jean Baptist La Prete and it was a luxurious mansion that was rivaled by few other houses in the French Quarter. It was the center of Creole culture in the French Quarter of the middle 1800's, but unfortunately, the wealth and power of many of these families started to decline in the second half of the century. La Prete was one of these who lost much of their fortune and found that he was forced to rent out his wonderful home.
His tenant was a mysterious Turk who claimed to be a deposed Sultan of some distant land. The Turk brought with him a fortune in gold and established a line of credit at all of the banks. He used his wealth to transform the Creole house into an eastern pleasure palace. The doors and windows were covered and blocked, heavy incense filled the air and men patrolled the grounds with curved daggers in their belts. The iron gates around the property were chained and locked and the house became a virtual fortress.
A harem was moved into the house, consisting of women of all ages and sizes and even young Arab boys were used to fulfill the Turk's less seemly desires. But one night everything was destroyed....
One morning, neighbors passing by the house noticed that trickles of blood were running out from under the iron gates. The authorities were summoned but could raise no one, so they forced open the doors and went inside. At some point in the night, a massacre had taken place. Blood splattered the floors and walls... headless bodies and amputated limbs were scattered about... and all of them had been butchered by sword or axe. The bodies and limbs were scattered about in such a way that no one could learn which bodies belonged to what person.
And the horror didn't stop with murder... the beautiful harem girls, the Arab boys, and even the guards, were raped and subjected to vile sexual assaults. The scandal was so horrendous that the details of that night have still not been chronicled completely to this day!
The Turk's mutilated body was found in the garden, where he had been buried alive.
The identity of the murderers and rapists has never been discovered. Some say they were the members of some pirate's crew who had business with the mysterious sultan and some say the crimes were the work of the Turk's own family, seeking revenge for the theft of the family wealth.
But I don't imagine we will ever really know.....
What we do know is that the La Prete house is a very haunted one... and remains so until this day.
Residents of the house have seen figures wearing strange oriental clothing and have heard the sound of footsteps in the hallways and screams echoing inside of the rooms.... as if the terrible events of yesterday are still taking place there!
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COPYRIGHT 2000 BY TROY TAYLOR. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.