If vampires existed in our modern age, it would be easy to imagine them in New Orleans, creeping from the shadows of the crypts in the St. Louis Cemetery or prowling for victims in the unlit alleys of the French Quarter. In the Crescent City, beauty and darkness go hand in hand and history steps forward to make itself known in the present day. Ancient legends of these immortal creatures made their way to America along with immigrants and adapted to their new land. One of New Orleans’s most enduring vampiric legends has its roots in old European folklore.
According to the stories, sometime in the early 1900s a mysterious man arrived in New Orleans under the name Jacque St. Germain. Handsome, elegant, wealthy, entertaining, extravagant, mysterious, and a bit curious, his reputation preceded him, and he was soon a hit in New Orleans society.
The Eccentric Jacque St. Germain
The eccentric Jacque St. Germain is said to have taken residence at the home located at 1039 Royal Street. St. Germain was apparently a cavalier and quite the lady’s man, frequently seen with a beautiful woman on his arm while strolling through the French Quarter, or clubbing in elegant locales late into the night. He delighted in throwing elaborate dinner parties for the city’s socialites. His parties were highly anticipated due to their lavish cuisine, fine wine, and entertainment. Most relished, however, was his own conversation. St. Germain fascinated his guests with stories of France, Italy, Africa, and even Egypt.
Visitors were delighted and amused by his eloquent grasp of the English language. They were a bit confused, however, when he spoke of events hundreds of years in the past in such precise detail as though he himself had participated. Many guests placed little value in the truth of his tales, simply embracing them for the entertainment value during their visits to his home.
Not long after his arrival to New Orleans, St. Germain claimed he was a direct descendant of the Comte de St. Germain , a close friend and servant to King Louis the XV in the 18th century. His claim aroused skepticism, but his resemblance to the Comte was uncanny. Eagle-eyed guests noted that portraits never depicted the Comte as older than forty, the same age that Jacque St. Germain had appeared since he’d arrived in New Orleans.
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