The Sultan’s Palace is a little discussed New Orleans structure is today. Also known as the Gardette-LaPrete House, this home in the French Quarter was owned by the Le Prete family through the Nineteenth Century. Since this was merely a second home for the family, they did not use it often. A young man from Turkey approached them and requested to rent the house. He was wealthy and expected his brother, who was a Sultan, to be arriving soon. They needed enough room to accommodate his harem and guards.
The family consented and the young Turk began working on the house. Thick draperies were installed on all windows that not even light could penetrate. All doors were locked and remained closed at all times. Even the front gate was padlocked as to discourage any interference from neighbors.
Anytime a passer-by came by when the door was opening or closing, they could smell incense and hear strange music from inside. The front door was constantly guarded by huge men with Scimitars.
A large group of women lived inside and the rumor mill was always in great supply of verbal “grist” what residents believed was going on inside the house. Everything from orgies to bizarre rituals was gossiped about.
One day, the mysteries came to an end. A man was walking down the street and noticed the padlock on the front gate was missing. He approached it, aware that the guards may be lurking near-by. But, there were no guards either.
He walked through the gate and noticed the front door wasn’t locked as normal. There was also something seeping out from underneath the heavy wooden entrance. He crept closer and saw it was blood.
He went to the police and the authorities arrived at the house. Upon entering the home, it was clear that a massacre had occurred. This, perhaps, even more grisly than the horrors of the Lalaurie attic. The gruesome scene wasn’t limited to a room in the Sultan’s Palace. It was throughout the home. There were dismembered organs, gore, limbs, and butchery to the point that no one could see who was killed. The pieces were too small and too scattered to attempt to reassemble the residents.
They finally made it to the backyard and found a hand sticking up from a shallow grave. The young brother was seriously injured before being buried alive. He choked to death on the infamous New Orleans clay.
No one knows who was responsible for this massacre. The usual rumors came and went. The Catholic church got word of the activities within and raided. The two brothers fought over the riches. But, none of them held any credibility in the long run. Perhaps if theory is all to go on, the brothers stole their wealth from a Turkish Sultan in their country and fled for America. Maybe they believed they could hide in such a large country. Another legend also states a group of pirates had been watching the young man, waiting for the opportunity to strike.
Whatever the happened, the structure is supposed to be very active. People have reported smelling incense, hearing strange music, and seeing figures through the home and in the windows.
Today, many argue about the validity of the tale, or if there’s any truth to it at all, however history books from the Nineteenth Century mention the story. If it is a mere legend, it’s certainly a lingering part of the city’s history.