A Vampire in New Orleans? The Mysterious Case of Jacque and the Comte de St. Germain
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 Enigmatic Comte Saint Germaine. Source: Palabras en Libertad
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.
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Ursulines Ave & Royal St., New Orleans. ( The PJV )
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. Rumors started to spread in jest that Jacque St. Germain may in fact be the very celebrated Comte St. Germain himself, somehow rendered immortal and ageless. Jacque seemed to enjoy the mystery he had created around his persona, and neither confirmed nor denied it.
An image said to represent the Comte de St. Germain. ( The PJV )
Although St. Germain’s catered parties were highly celebrated, the host was said to have relished in his guest’s satisfaction of the offered feasts without partaking himself, often standing apart from the table drinking from a lavish chalice, presumably filled with wine. During dinner he offered fantastical recollections of his adventures for his guests’ enjoyment. The very strange habit of not partaking in meals at his own soirees, coupled with his remarkable resemblance to the Comte St. Germain, had some in the city suggesting in good fun that perhaps the mysterious man was in fact a vampire.
A Sinister Turn of Events
These rumors took a sinister turn several months after St. Germain’s arrival to New Orleans, when the police were called to St. Germain’s home to investigate the circumstances leading to a woman who had seemingly fallen from his gallery, a full story above.
His guest, a woman who was rumored to have been a prostitute, had in fact leapt from his balcony, rather than fallen, as bystanders had originally surmised. While she survived the fall, she was terrified. People on the street surrounded her and tended to her needs while help was rounded. Hysterical, the woman ranted that she had jumped to escape St. Germain, who had bitten her neck. She screamed and sobbed out her story, claiming she was only able to escape when her assailant was briefly distracted by a rather loud knocking on his door.
Representation of a vampire who has bitten someone. ( CC0)
The woman was taken to the hospital as soon as possible, and the police, suspecting that she had become delusional, told the very well-known, affluent, and respected St. Germain not to bother coming in for questioning at this late hour, but rather to please visit the police station in the morning to go over the accounts of the evening. The police were confident that there was a reasonable explanation for what had transpired.