Haunted NOLA

Haunted NOLA: The Marigny’s Madame “Mini Canal,” and her loyal ghost terrier

Despite a blessing and exorcism, Madame Mineurecanal and terrier remained

Madame Mineurecanal was a solitary woman who lived alone with her beloved white terrier in the 1830s Creole-style townhouse at 2606 Royal Street early in the 20th century. She was well-known in her Faubourg Marigny neighborhood but while she always had a smile for her neighbors, she rarely stopped to talk when walking her little dog in the block.

The Haunted Heartbreak

Her despair became too much

What her neighbors didn’t know was the heartbreak she battled on a daily basis. Her son had suddenly disappeared from the house one day, never to return. Her husband allegedly died fighting in the Spanish-American War which took place in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Pacific from April to August of 1898. 

Coffins draped with American flags are ready for burial at Arlington National Cemetery during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Madame Mineurecanal’s husband is said to have been killed in the fighting. (Library of Congress)

One afternoon, her despair became too much to take. It is said Madame Mineurecanal came home after a walk, went up to the third-floor attic and strangled the little white dog. She then climbed on a chair and hung herself from a ceiling beam. 

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In the aftermath of the Second World War, the ghost of Madame Mineurecanal began to appear in the house which now inhabited by the many members of the Ruez family. The sound of wailing was heard along with the patter of footsteps, both human and canine. The ceiling beams were said to creak as if holding a profound, swaying weight. The spirit of the Madame herself, wearing a white dress, would be seen coming down the attic stairs with protruding eyes and a crooked neck. She could be spotted at various times all over the house, sometimes accompanied by her ghostly terrier, despite the loyalty-stretching circumstances of his demise.

The house at 2606 Royal Street where it is said Madame Mineurecanal and her terrier once lived. (Photo by Michael DeMocker)

The spectral visits soon took a dark turn; The Ruez grandmother awoke one night to the sound of a crying baby and when she went to investigate, saw the figure of a woman bending over the crib. Thinking the woman to be the baby’s mother, she was shocked when the figure disappeared into the wall of the nursery. A pregnant member of the family was so shocked by the appearance on the attic stairs of Madame Mineurecanal and her dog, she went into labor and miscarried. When a cousin of the Ruez children named Alfrien came for a visit, he scoffed at the notion of the ghost, running around the house singing “Mini Canal! Mini Canal!” That night, the household was awakened by the sound of Alfrien screaming. When the light in his room was turned on, it revealed the youngster had the red imprint of a hand on his cheek as if he’d been ghost-smacked. Years later, Teresa Ruez, one of the children who grew up in the house, said in an interview, “My Uncle Louis saw her and died right afterward in a car accident. He was quite young.” 

Ghostly fingerprints in a German prayer book at the Museo del Purgatorio in Rome. Madame Mineurecanal is said to have left a ghostly handprint on the face of a child who taunted her. (Photo by Michael DeMocker)

The Ruez family continued to suffer a string of mishaps, including family members suffering mental health issues as well as two sobering household accidents involving the children. Despite attempts at blessing and exorcism, the creepy ghost dubbed “Mini Canal” by the Ruez children continued to appear for years after.

The New Owner & The Ghosts

Strange goings-on continue on the second-floor

An attorney who purchased 2606 Royal Street decades later spoke in an interview about how the previous owner of the home, a Native American, had died for unknown reasons inside the home. His family is said to have performed rituals involving the burning of juniper and sage to chase any spirits lingering in the house up the chimney where they became trapped for eternity. The attorney said the house remained quiet during his time there, but that his new neighbors advised him to leave the chimney sealed.

A previous owner of 2606 Royal Street said the Native American family of a man who died at the house performed rituals involving the burning of juniper and sage to chase any spirits lingering in the house up the chimney where they became trapped for eternity. When the new owner moved in, his neighbors advised him to leave the chimney sealed. (Photo by Michael DeMocker)

But was Mini Canal really gone?

The current owner, who purchased the home about a decade ago, reports that strange goings-on continue on the second-floor landing where Mini Canal was frequently sighted: ‘The left window here won’t stay closed,’” she said in an interview a few years ago. “It has a latch, which I will shut, and then it just drifts open.”

She doesn’t believe, however, that Mini Canal is a malevolent spirit and that the gruesome tales were just the inevitable exaggerations for the sake of a good ghost story. One former resident told the new owner that she’d encountered the ghost many times when she had lived there: “She said she often heard footsteps, and she would see a face through the French windows, an ethereal, Creole-looking woman, just looking at her. They had a very peaceful coexistence.”

It is said the ghosts of Madame Mineurecanal and her terrier still appear on the streets of the Faubourg Marigny. (Photo Illustration by Michael DeMocker)

Whether “Mini Canal” is as active inside the house these days as she was in the mid-20th century, it is said her ghost continues to walk her eternally loyal terrier around the neighborhood, zones of cold air hanging in their wake, their padding footsteps echoing off the old bricks and brightly painted homes of the Faubourg Marigny.

Works Consulted

Dwyer, Jeff. Ghost Hunter’s Guide to New Orleans. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing, 2016

Peck, Renee. “Faubourg Marigny townhouse holds a family, two dogs – and a ghost.” Times-Picayune, October 30, 2010. https://www.nola.com/entertainment_life/home_garden/article_abe968e2-8c2c-518d-9d38-d397002ebb89.html Accessed June 2020

Stuart, Bonnye. Haunted New Orleans:  Southern Spirits, Garden District Ghosts, And Vampire Venues. Globe Pequot: Guilford, CT, 2012

Taylor, Troy. Haunted New Orleans: History & Hauntings of the Crescent City (Haunted America). Charleston, SC: History Press, 2010.