Update August, 2014: Apparently there was a significant fire on the grounds recently, affecting the guest house (see comments below). I'm glad this story has earned good search engine rankings, but it wasn't originally intended to a complete guide or resource for this fascinating property. I welcome the comments and also invite folks to contact me with additional information and links, which I may add here as a resource for everyone interested in the ongoing history of the place. - Mark Gilmore
My soon-to-be brother in law took us out on his boat to cruise the Jordan River near where it empties into Bay Saint Louis, about 30 minutes east of New Orleans. We caught sight of a stately old house that backed up to the river. Chris told us it had been abandoned since Hurricane Katrina and was the home of a family associated with the Coca-Cola company. As we got closer we could tell the property was defunct but the house reasonably intact. Later, with a little help from Google Maps we were able to figure out how to drive up to a side entrance of the property.
With a little trepidation Heather and I hopped over the gate and set out on a quarter mile hike through overgrown fields up to the old homestead. Except for a puddle or two the path was clear. A theme was emerging: everything about this place looks more forbidding than it actually is. As the pictures show, there's waste and decay visible everywhere. The structure of the house seemed surprisingly sound, though. With all of the doors and most windows gone there was plenty of light inside. The place would be plenty scary at night, but by day it seemed almost welcoming. Not surprisingly we weren't the first folks here to feel welcome – everything seemed well-picked over in the way of furnishings, souvenirs and whatnot. As we poked around the ground floor, Heather asked if planned to go upstairs. We agreed we'd evaluate that one step at a time. Surprisingly, though the stair rails were all gone, the steps all felt sound and we felt safe and comfortable everywhere we explored.
I'm not sure when the house was built but I'm guessing it was sometime around the turn of the century. From what we could tell it looked like it had been updated in the 1980s with somewhat tacky additions: A dorm fridge in a bathroom, a huge wall-mounted TV that reminded us that wall-mounted TVs weren't cool before the flatscreen came along, and some questionable wallpaper choices.
Like I said nothing was really as forbidding as it seemed at first look. Of course, everything looks way more, ahem, everything in black and white, so these photos had to get that treatment. I might say calling this place a ghost house would be milking or pushing things save for one thing: Looking for information about it online can be downright elusive. After Googling various terms I was originally able to find some photos and references, but when I sat down to write this post all of them seemed to have disappeared from the internet. Of course that just means that I've forgotten the combination of search terms that originally made Google give up some facts, but it's fun to think that hide-and-seek has a more supernatural cause.