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The tales of haunted New Orleans bus stops, buggies, cabs and buses can take the average tourist on an unplanned adventure into the paranormal side of Haunted New Orleans!

by A. Pustanio photos by Hershel Meyers


New Orleans has some of the most colorful public transportation in all of America. From our striking antique trolley cars (STREETCARS AS LOCALS CALL THEM) , and the new cars now chugging along Canal Street, to the colorfully embossed artwork of the city buses, you know you're in New Orleans when you take a ride on one of these moving works of art.

But it was only a few decades ago when New Orleans couldn't boast too much about their buses being "works of art": the old silver monoliths were a hallmark of NOPSI (New Orleans Public Service, Inc.) in the "good old days." And with interesting destinations like CEMETARIES and END OF LINE displayed in their route boxes, sometimes there was a feeling that "this bus is going somewhere I don't want to go!"

Still, New Orleanians have fond memories of first bus rides and trolley rides. Yet there are some among us, locals and tourists alike, who insist that there are still "buses to nowhere" out there to this day!

Reports come in every now and then of amazing encounters with retired NOPSI buses, like Silver Stream trailers still lumbering the oak lined routes and pockmarked streets in the older areas of the city.

Most troubling, perhaps, are the reports of drivers who have experienced "near miss" encounters with these retired transportation giants of yesteryear. One local man in the Mid-City area was injured when his car crashed in the middle of the night at a major intersection along the traditional Mid-City bus routes. He had collided with a signal light transformer box; luckily no other vehicles were involved. When police arrived at the scene, the man insisted that at the point of hte accident a ghostly bus had come barreling along into the intersection, all its lights blazing and apparently empty. Most disturbing, there seemed to have been "NO ONE AT THE WHEEL!"

A witness who heard but did not see the accident reported to police that he heard the victim's car approaching at a normal pace and that this was suddenly overwhelmed by the sound of a bus engine, wide open, accelerating at a breakneck speed, apparently toward the intersection. The driver was given the usual sobriety tests but neither alcohol nor drugs were detected; the man had simply been on his way home from a late shift when he was overtaken by the phantom NOPSI bus.

Another report, entirely separate from the one reported above, was an emergency call regarding an apparent hit and run that was again heard, but not seen. A local resident, awakened by the sound of a car crash, went to his front window to see a car crashed at the nearby intersection. After summoning the authorities, the man put on his robe and went to the site of the accident to lend assistance only to be asked repeatedly by the injured driver, "Did you see that bus??"

This might seem completely impossible, but there are other reports from pedestrians in the same area of New Orleans, veterans of the public transportation system, who insist that there is such a thing as a phantom bus in the area. Two independent sources report that they inadvertantly almost got aboard!

The stories from both are similar: they each approached their regular bus stop in the early morning hours to see an old fashioned NOPSI bus idling at the stop, empty and unattended, all its lights on. One of the sources stated that it was a cold night and he thought that this might be a new all-night service and briefly considered running to board it. Something stopped him, however, and in a moment, to his complete amazement the bus, without a driver or any living person onboard, moved away from the stop and accelerated into the dim New Orleans dawn. The second source recounted an almost exact story with the singular exception that he never considered boarding the bus. "It just looked bad," he said. "It felt like it came from somewhere else, from hell, maybe -- but I never wanted to get on that thing!"

There are also stories of phantom buses appearing on city side streets that do not and never have had public bus service. Imagine the surprise of locals who come out for their morning paper to see and old NOPSI bus idling at the curb near their house, empty ... except perhaps for a phantom driver that no one sees. Imagine their amazement when the old bus pulls away of its own volition, still maintaining some tight schedule in the other world.


It's a truism in almost any major American city that those people who regularly use public transportation are some of the bravest souls among us. To some of us, comfortable in our cars, the idea of waiting for a bus is foreign, an unknown. Others among us, some locals and tourists, think that riding public transportation is an occasional sentimental or even romantic experience. To most, however, waiting on the caprice of public transport is a necessity.

For these people, waiting in the long sunlight of a summer evening might not be so bad, except for the occasional thunderstorm. But in the winter months, with its dusky gloaming shadows, or its starless dawn hours, the wait can be a little more unsettling.

Add to this the possibility that you might be waiting at one of New Orleans' many haunted bus stops and the recipe for terror is almost complete. An encounter with the paranormal is a very real possibility...

There are many bus stops around the old city lines that have their random hauntings. The ghost of an elderly lady is seen at the northboung Canal Street stop, near the intersection with Broad Street. No matter what the weather, the lady appears in a ratty tweed coat wearing a silk scarf on her head, leaning on a cane and carrying a paper shopping bag. When the bus pulls up and the riders go to get on, suddenly the old lady is nowhere to be seen. One man reported that he even stepped aside to allow the old lady, whom he thought was behind him, to board. To his puzzlement the lady was nowhere to be seen.

Another stop in the Uptown area is haunted by a ghostly couple. Dressed in their Sunday best, as if boarding the bus for church or a day spent shopping on Canal Street, they are seen silently standing and waiting. When the bus arrives they, too, disappear without a trace.

But perhaps the most unsettling experience is at an infamous bus stop in the Lakeview area of New Orleans. The stop and the area were made infamous many years ago when a college student, waiting one evening at the stop for her regular ride home, was attacked and dragged away from the stop. In the shadow of nearby bushes she was raped and strangled to death. Her body was not found until the next morning. A man approaching the bus stop saw a purse and a bag of spilled oranges laying near the bushes; when he moved closer he saw a clutched hand among the branches. Immediately, the police were called.

The crime made headlines in the city and for many months there was a sharp decline in the amount of riders on all New Orleans bus routes. Eventually, as with all horrific crimes, the memory was all that remained. Or was it ..... ?

To this day there are reports from hapless riders at this bus stop who recount being shocked by a sudden piercing scream and the sounds of heavy breathing and struggling when no one is nearby. Women waiting at this stop either alone or in groups of twos or threes report an overwhelming sense of sadness, as if the stain of the horrible crime still permeates the environment. It is no surprise that young women are most affected, but there are reports from men who have experienced such a sense of anger and malice at this stop that they have stated they are perfectly willing to walk to the next stop, nearly a mile down the road, to wait for the same bus.

Some who have encountered the paranormal at this infamous stop have taken to carrying oranges with them. It seems that if an orange is left, as if in offering to the spirit, the atmosphere is immediately less charged and the feeling of melancholy dissipates.

An interesting footnote to this story is the report from several drivers along this route who have spotted a lone young woman waiting at the stop as they are approaching it; however, when the bus draws near and the driver opens the doors, there is no one at the stop ....


New Orleans' famous streetcars are not immune to haunting. Several reports have come to us from streetcar conductors concerning ghostly passengers who never reach their stop. Conductors on the Uptown line have told of seeing the apparently solid form of a young female college student riding silent and alone in the middle of the car. Often it seems that the young woman has debarked at one of the many Uptown stops, when suddenly, she is seen in the same seat again, further down the line.

One interesting haunt occurs on the Carrolton Avenue run, and this time its a ghostly tourist couple! They are seen, as vivid as any living passenger, heads together looking at guidebooks and maps, when suddenly, according to one conductor, they disappear into thin air! Could it be that the couple had such a good time visiting Haunted New Orleans that the memory truly lingers???

Taxis have their share of bad press in every city across America. New Orleans is blessed with a platoon of knowledgeable and friendly taxi drivers who are ever ready to assist locals as well as tourists as they navigate this great old city. But a sad fact of life for the city cabbie of America is the possibility that the next fare is the last, and that crime has just gotten into the back seat.

Perhaps this is the basis of the most reported taxi cab haunting ... The old, maroon, late-model Lincoln town car with the noxiously green TAXI light on top is reported to wait, idling near the corner of Exchange Alley and Decatur Street, for unsuspecting fares. Reports have come to Haunted New Orleans Tours that passengers who take this cab might never be seen again. The driver is seen only as a shadow against the darkness of the French Quarter dusk; the engine idles lowly. Perhaps it is the unknown driver, or maybe the pearl blackness of the tinted cab windows, but this taxi reportedly gets few fares. Whether its passengers reach the destination intended, or one that has been pre-determined for them in some far reaches of the unseen world, no one has yet been able to report. But if you're in the Quarter late one night, and the only taxi you see idling nearby sounds like this one, you might want to choose walking instead ...


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