Why do all the Balcony Poles in the French Quarter have Spikes at the Top?
The French Quarter is known for having some of the most beautiful architecture in all of America. Many of the buildings date back centuries and are full of an incredibly rich (and sometimes spooky) history. As you're walking through the French Quarter, you will likely notice that all of the balcony poles have spikes at the top. You might write these spikes off as Gothic styling, but there's actually a lot more to it than that.
The idea for these spikes was similar to the concept of barbed wire - it was supposed to deter people from climbing over. In particular, these spikes were intended to deter the boyfriends of young girls who lived on the second floors of these homes from coming over in the middle of the night, a la Romeo and Juliet. If someone started climbing the pole, they'd be in for a very nasty surprise before they ever made it to the top.
These spikes played a part in a notorious gruesome death that still haunts New Orleans today. In the late 19th century, a family was living on 823 Orleans Street. The young daughter declined to go out to dinner with her family, feigning sickness, but was really planning to meet up with a secret admirer. However, her father came back unexpectedly to grab his wallet. When he heard a noise upstairs, he worried about thieves, and ran up there carrying a gun.
When he and the boy caught eyes, the boy knew he immediately had to escape, and he ran and climbed over the railing, where he was hanging. The father fired his gun into the air, not planning to cause the boy any harm, just to scare him off. However, the noise was so startling that he fell onto the Romeo Spikes, which lead to some very gruesome injuries and eventually his death.
The boy now haunts the home, and visitors have heard screams when passing under the balcony. Some have even claimed to notice blood dripping from the spikes. Visit the French Quarter to see the haunted Romeo Spikes for yourself.