A unique blend of cultures and captivating stories characterize Cane River National Heritage Area. These stories can be folklore woven into actual events. The stories shared here include local folklore and stories based on actual facts and/or events.
Local Folklore in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana taken from the Northwestern State University of Louisiana
(NSU) Student Handbook 2005-2006
The Legend of the Ghost of Isabella (Folklore)
Isabella was a beautiful young French maiden that lived in the original Bullard mansion after the Bullards were gone. She had many suitors but favored the attention of a young man from the East who had come to Louisiana on business. The couple fell in love and planned to marry. However, not long before the wedding the young man was killed in a duel. It is told that the duel was over another woman.
Broken hearted Isabella became a nun and lost her beauty from pining away for her lost love. It was believed that she had gone mad because of her grief and on a stormy night Isabella committed suicide by plunging a dagger into her heart. Shortly after, she was found dead in her room and strangely there was a bloody handprint on the wall.
Isabella continued to haunt Bullard mansion until it was torn down and she moved to East Hall until it too was torn down in 1932. Isabella haunted East Hall and the residents of the hall reported accounts of encountering the ghost of Isabella. After Isabella left East Hall her spirit was believed to be in the Music Hall and remained there until 1946 when this building was torn down. The spirit of Isabella seemed to roam the campus from building to building for the next three years and she is reported to have stayed in East Varnado for a time. Finally the ghost of Isabella seemed to settle into Caldwell Hall as it was reported that a letter and drops of blood were found on the steps of the building. Newspaper articles give the date of Isabella’s move as January 15, 1949.
NSU students have a fondness for the ghost of Isabella and have on occasions assisted her and encouraged her to move to new locations on the school’s campus. One such group of male students in 1946 dressed in sheets and coaxed her from the “doomed building.” At other times, students gathered to assist Isabella as 750 did on Halloween night in October, 1982 after Caldwell Hall had burned determined to help the spirit make a smooth transition to her new home.
Isabella currently resides at the Old Women’s Gym which now houses the National Center for Preservation and Training and Technology (NCPTT).
Photo by NPS of Story Telling Event at Oakland Plantation Store - Cane River Creole National Historical Park