Paranormal Society of New Orleans Goes Ghost Hunting the Jimani Sports Bar and Upstairs Lounge

by Nelda_Hoxie

The Paranormal Society of New Orleans set out to communicate with gay fire victims murdered in 1973, but found an older and darker spirit rooted in the city's past.

Neighbors, patrons and workers have always agreed that the Jimani Lounge is haunted. Numerous ghost hunters have conducted paranormal investigations there. It was even featured during the eighth season of Ghost Hunters. While the TAPS team agreed that paranormal activity was there, they never quite identified what it was. They did conclude, that whatever it was, it wasn’t a danger to people in the building.

That finding turned out not to be accurate. After the business manager had his back clawed by an apparition, the Jimani owners decided to bring in another team. It took a local group, the Paranormal Society of New Orleans to unravel layers of history to uncover the real story behind the hauntings and the scratches.

Jimani Lounge and Sports Bar

Site of the Arson Fire that Killed 28 Gay People in 16 Minutes
The Jimani Lounge on the edge of the French Quarter
The Jimani Lounge on the edge of the French Quarter
The Upstairs Lounge was on the Second Floor.

History of the 1973 Upstairs Lounge Arson Fire

All Ghost Stories About The Jimani Sports Bar Begin Here - That's About to Change

The Jimani Lounge sits on the edge of the French Quarter just a bock away from Canal Street at the corner of Chartres Street and Iberrville.

Today the Jimani Lounge owns all three floors. However, in 1973 a separate business, the Upstairs Lounge, was on the second floor. To get to the only entrance, it was necessary to walk up a rickety set of wooden stairs. On June 24, about 60 members of the Metropolitan Community Church were there to hang out and listen to music. The MCC was the first gay church in the United States. They were celebrating the conclusion of the Gay Pride Week celebration.

According to the Jimani Lounge website, on June 24, 1973 at about 8:00 pm the downstairs buzzer announced that someone’s cab had arrived, but no one had called a cab. When the patrons opened the door, they were engulfed in flames. Wood and iron bars blocked any escapes through the windows.

The fire was so ferocious that 28 people died on the scene in the 16-minute fire. A gay man named Rodger Dale Nunez who had been thrown out of the bar earlier that night was the suspect. He was arrested and held in a psychiatric hospital. After a successful escape, he was never detained again by the New Orleans police. He continued to hustle in the French Quarter, although witnesses claimed he confessed to setting the fire at least four times.

It is not surprising given the violent deaths of so many people that paranormal investigators would assume any haunting would be related to this event. New Orleans though has many secrets and it was up to the Paranormal Society of New Orleans to unearth older and even more mysterious events.

Members of the Paranormal Society of New Orleans

Raymond Krennerich, Chris Melancon, John Gaultieri and Liz Lesini
Raymond Krennerich, Chris Melancon, John Gaultieri and Liz Lesini
Source: PSNO Used with Permission

Meeting a Spirit Called Mary

When the Parnormal Society of New Orleans arrived and set up their equipment the first time. Chris Melancon, the founder of PSNO and that night's team leader had an immediate affinity for the location. What came through shocked even this seasoned paranormal investigator. A woman named Mary attempted to communicate with the group. It appeared that Mary took a liking to him. 

When she admitted that she was the entity that was scratching the business manager, Melancon asked her to stop. The business manager has not been harmed since that request. Mysteriously the video from the first investigation has been lost. 

Watch the Second Session of the Jimani Paranormal Investigation

Mary Communicates with the Paranormal Society of New Orleans.

Intelligent Interaction versus Random Energy Patterns

Watch the PSNO Team Get Mary to Answer Specific Questions

Spirit activity increased dramatically after the business manager began to uncover artifacts under the second-floor floorboards. These hint at a much earlier history for the Jimani Sports Bar than the 1973 murder of gay men. The New York Ledger newspaper dates back to 1883. 

Melacon has spent extensive time researching the artifacts and speaking with the ghost Mary. He believes "From all of our evidence and the historical artifacts that have been discovered in the attic my conclusion is that back in the 1800 when a fever broke out people were put in the attic to sweat it out and most died as a result from it."

Beginning at about 5 minutes into the paranormal investigation video, the team uses their equipment to identify that there is an increase in energy in the room. Melancom asks if it's the lady he spoke with last time. He further asks her to make the Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) Reader light move to yellow. Which it does. You can then hear Mary communicate with the team using a special voice box.


Artifacts Uncovered at the Jimani Bar

Haunting Activity Accelerated When These Were Found
1883 New York Ledger Newspaper
1883 New York Ledger Newspaper
Civil War Pistol
Civil War Pistol

Have Po'Boy at the Jimani Bar Located at 141 Chartres Street

Perhaps you'll hear Mary or see more spirit activity

When a Spirit Wants to Get Too Close

Was Mary Really Inside Melancon's Head?

For me the most fascinating event occurred when Melancon started to feel the name Mary coming inside his head. He is not a medium or empath, but Mary wanted to communicate with him. I asked him if he had any lingering effects from that unique experience. "As far as the experience from the connection I had with her. I slept for a long time after that night and became ill but I might have already been coming down with something. As of now I'm at that location weekly and I have a special comforting feeling every time I'm there."

Spirit activity does continue at the Jimani. Unlike other ghost hunters who have left the area, the Paranormal Society of New Orleans continues to work with the owners. No one else has been scratched or injured in any way. 

Chris Melancon

Founder of the PSNO
Adjusting Equipment Prior to an Investigation
Adjusting Equipment Prior to an Inves...
Source: PSNO Used with Permission

Ask the Paranormal Society of New Orleans Questions

This is your chance to talk to a Ghost Hunter.

Click Here to visit the PSNO facebook page. Leave your questions about what you saw in the paranormal investigation at the Jimani Bar or ask a question about ghosts or New Orleans hauntings. 

If you prefer, leave your comments here. I'll be glad to forward them to the PSNO.

Updated: 10/19/2014, Nelda_Hoxie
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frankbeswick on 03/20/2018

Stories like this make us ask questions about how well we understand the afterlife.

Tolovaj on 03/20/2018

New Orleans is definitely on my list. I would love to meet some ghost hunters!

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