BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Pink flamingos probably come to mind when you think of Spanish Town in Baton Rouge, but the city's oldest neighborhood has a darker side too.
Folks have been walking into Spanish Town Market for over 100 years. Formerly called Capitol Grocery, the store is the hub of historic Spanish Town. Owner Taylor Blanche grew up in the neighborhood and says some residents apparently never leave.
"Maybe it's the age of this place. I've had moments where I didn't feel alone," he said. "I've heard a number of times where employees were in the back and they were like, 'I swear I heard someone playing the piano,' and they came back up to the front and there was no one here."
Martie Jumel calls the Rodriguez House her home. Built in 1825, it's full of history and at least two alleged ghosts.
"We heard 'clunk, clunk, clunk' across the ceiling, and I looked up and I said, 'What is that?' I mean it was definitely footsteps right to the end of the room where the door would be, then all of a sudden, they started down the stairs and we ran from the living room and there was nothing there," Jumel recalled.
She says a female ghost seems to especially like her granddaughter. "[My granddaughter] was stretched across the bed up there playing a GameBoy, and a hand came and wiped her hair back out of her eyes, kinda' freaked her out," she said. "The other thing she would do… in the middle of the night, I woke up and it felt like someone sat on the bed, and after a few minutes they got up. Didn't ever see her, but you could feel the pressure of someone sitting on that bed."
A few blocks down North Street sits The Williams House. It too has a storied past, with some residents who can't seem to let go. "Well the story goes that there's child spirits in the house," said resident, Ashley Messina.
The Williams children are said to be attracted to all the animals that live in the house. Messina says they're playful spirits known to cause mischief, especially in the kitchen. "One of the stranger pranks that they play is making my microwave randomly come on in the middle of the night," she said.
But not all the haunts in Spanish Town are as innocent, like the true story of LSU professor Oscar Turner. In 9125, he lived in a house on Fifth Street across from LSU's original downtown campus. Turner was found in his LSU office one night with ten hatchet wounds to the head. His grisly killing remains unsolved, and some say his business on earth is unfinished.
"A lot of people get really caught up in the other realm and the ghost things, but I really don't," said Jumel.
Whether you believe in ghosts or flamingos, Spanish Town is very much alive and full of characters who don't mind the ghost next door.
"If they want to live and share my house, and they're not hurting me, they don't bother me," she added. "I mean, they're already dead, how bad can they really hurt ya?"