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Womens History Month: The Casket Girls

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The history of Louisiana is full of ghost stories and haunted locations. One of the most famous is the story of the New Orleans women. In the 1700s, the French territories in Louisiana had a shortage of women.

To solve this problem, the French arranged for the transport of appropriate women to be sent over to be married off to local men. However, when some of these women arrived in New Orleans, they were not what they seemed.

Some say that these women were actually ghosts, sent to haunt the city. Others say that they were vampires who came to cast spells on the unsuspecting people of New Orleans. Whatever the truth may be, the stories of several women of New Orleans have led to become part of the city’s legend, and have made it one of the most haunted places in America.

The Arrival

In 1728, a New Orleans post was bustling with activity when mysterious, new visitors arrived. A group of women, clutching their coffin-shaped chests holding their belongings, had stepped on solid ground for the first time in six months. They were eager to face the new world ahead of them. Upon their arrival, however, it did not take long for rumors to spread.

Their abnormally pale skin quickly became the talk of the town. They were so pale, in fact, that their skin quickly burned and blistered within minutes of being under the hot, sub-tropical sun.

Each girl was handpicked by the Bishop of Quebec based on their age and background. Their job? To marry one of the French colonists inhabiting the newly developed Louisiana colony.

Unfortunately, their arranged marriages did not go as expected. The Casket Girls were placed under the protection of the Ursuline nuns until they were brought to their next home. The majority were placed into unwanted marriages and those left unwed were forced to find other ways to survive. After hearing of their mistreatment, the French King demanded they return home.

The Myth Begins

The Sisters of the Ursuline Convent had once placed the girls’ casket-shaped chest that held their belongings on the third-floor of the Convent. Up until the king’s order, the third floor had remained untouched with the windows and doors sealed shut. When the nuns finally returned to collect the young girls’ items, they finally discovered that the infamous chests were empty. To no avail, the nuns were unable to find any clue of the girls’ once-there belongings.

The nuns began to fear that these girls were not who or what they claimed to be. To ensure the convents and others’ safety, the Ursuline nuns spared no expense to guarantee that nothing ever left that third-floor space. This included bolting shut any entrance and having any nails used in this process blessed by the Pope himself.

The rumors that once followed the Casket Girls only grew stronger, but this time one more word was added: vampires.

The Truth

Unfortunately, while the tales of the undead can be fun and interesting, there is no proof that these girls were vampires. Contrary to popular belief, their trunks were not big enough to fit a body. In fact, they were pretty small and not even in the shape of a casket.

Like many fascinating women throughout history, the Casket Girls made their mark on history. It is believed that these young women left a lasting footprint on the original colony of Louisiana. The Casket Girls ushered in the era of colonialism, reshaping the “New World”.

New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours
New Orleans is a city steeped in history and mystery, and there is no better way to explore it than on a walking tour. Ghost tours are especially popular, as they offer a unique opportunity to learn about the city’s dark past. Many of the buildings in New Orleans are said to be haunted, and the ghost stories that surround them are truly fascinating.

On a New Orleans walking tour, you will have the chance to hear these stories firsthand and see the city’s history come alive. You will also get to explore some of the most iconic neighborhoods in New Orleans, such as the French Quarter and Garden District. So if you’re looking for an unconventional way to experience the city, be sure to book a New Orleans Ghost Tour.

New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours
French Quarter Tour  |  Garden District Tour  New Orleans Ghost Tour  |  New Orleans Cocktail Tour

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