Here's my guide to the filming locations in New Orleans for the third season of American Horror Story's scare anthology, Coven. Witchiness is at its zenith in Coven.
The FX show travels back to sultry and spooky New Orleans in 1834. Coven's female cast is absolutely star studded with actresses Jessica Lange, Katherine Bates, Angela Bassett, and Emma Roberts.
With the usual AHS dose of lurid and shameless camp, Coven is creepy, occasionally hilarious, and reliably terrifying. It's an entertaining twist on classic horror, with iconic one-liners and Emmy award-winning performances. Coven is a delicious guilty pleasure.
American Horror Story Coven: Show Overview
American Horror Story is an award winning anthology series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. The show's themes are lurid, focused on the gritty underbelly of society.
AHS features recurring cast members, set in insane asylums or possessed by demons. You want to come back, season after season, to see what evil befalls them next.
the beautiful and iconic wrought iron LaBranche House on Royal Street in New Orleans
The third season, Coven, fully embraces American Horror Story's devotion to camp with witches, zombies, and gore. This season focuses on a tight-knit coven, and their all-powerful leader, grandiosely dubbed "The Supreme." The Supreme is Fiona Goode, played by the uber talented Jessica Lange.
The show focuses on four young witches in the coven: Nan, Queenie, Zoe, and Madison. Emma Roberts ably portrays the feisty Madison, a down on her luck movie star.
The witches are taught how to use their witching skills by Fiona's daughter and school headmistress Cordelia Foxx, who's a potions expert. They face off against the voodoo clan and their powerful queen, Marie Laveau. She's portrayed by Angela Bassett.
Taissa Farmiga, who plays Zoe in Coven
Oscar winning actress Kathy Bates makes her AHS debut as Madame Delphine Lalaurie. She was a horrific torturer of slaves in1800s New Orleans. After Delphine tortures her lover, the Voodoo Queen casts a revenge spell. Delphine is condemned to live forever buried in an unmarked grave.
Coven's young witches in training are always in danger. They face witch hunters and zombies, as well as backstabbing and treachery from those within their own coven.
The Supreme, Fiona, is plagued by a pesky cancer. A replacement Supreme is needed. Season 3 culminates in the "Test of the Seven Wonders," to decide who will be the new Supreme in Fiona's wake. Misty, Madison, Queenie, and Zoe participate in the test, with Cordelia and Myrtle Snow overseeing the procedures.
Some of the tests include telekinesis, mind control, and even traveling to one's own personal hell and back. Misty is trapped in hell and can't escape. Zoe dies during teleportation. Neither Queenie nor Madison can resurrect her. Enter the quiet and underestimated Cordelia. She handily resurrects Zoe, inheriting her mother's mantle.
image source: Michele K. Short/FX
When Did Everyone Become a Witch?
Coven is an incredibly popular show. Why is this?
There's a certain cultural fascination with witches, which no doubt accounts for Coven's TV success. I'm not talking about the "burning at the stakes" era of witches. I'm talking about today's witches.
The US witch population has risen astronomically. In a culture obsessed with spirituality and mysticism, more women than ever are identifying as witches.
What accounts for this new witch aesthetic? Why have all these witches come out of the proverbial broom closet? "Witch" is a squishy term, that encompasses all sorts of witchiness and bitchcraft.
The one defining element is that a witch is viewed as a powerful woman. In a world in chaos, where one might feel powerless, being a witch provides a measure of autonomy. So, the same way that women declared themselves "nasty," they now declare themselves "witches."
Coven taps into this longing for power and dominance. It casts witches as feminists and virtually eliminates men from the cast. In Coven, men are basically irrelevant or cast as villains. The women "don't need a man to protect" them from evil.
You can't watch Coven and not want to be a witch. Besides, who wouldn't want to a Jessica Lange type Supreme, uttering lines like "You were a sloppy little witch bitch." and "Don't make me drop a house on you." Power is intoxicating.
American Horror Story: Coven Filming Locations
In season 3, Coventravels back in time to sultry and spooky 1834 New Orleans. To capture the zeitgeist of Coven, the filming locations were carefully chosen. They feature some of new Orlean's most historic mansions, haunted places, and cultural hotspots.
Let's take a spellbinding tour of the Coven filming locations:
Buckner Mansion, which serves as
1. Buckner Mansion, Miss Robicheaux's Academy
Buckner Mansion is a luxurious New Orleans landmark, located in the Garden District. It was built in 1856 by cotton magnate Henry S. Buckner. It's around the corner from the famous Brevard mansion, formerly owned by Ann Rice, a horror novelist extraordinaire. Currently, the mansion is privately owned, with prominent "no loitering" signs on display.
In Coven, Buckner Mansion has the starring role and is used in many scenes. The mansion doubles as the fictitious Miss Robicheaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, a boarding school for young wayward witches.
Because the interior has narrow rooms, sets for the Robicheaux interior were built on a soundstage. The theme is stark black and white. The school is shown as elegant, airy, and almost chilling. It's very anti-Hogwarts.
This is where Cordelia, Zoe, Madison, Queenie, and Nan live. They hide their powers from the world, while honing their magical skills. You'll see many exterior shots of this house, accompanied by the famous "Lala Song."
The property is surrounded by a massive black iron gate. Zoe is accidentally speared by it during the Test of the Seven Wonders (before she's brought back to life).
Where to find Buckner Mansion: 1410 Jackson Ave New Orleans
Lalaurie Mansion, in the French Quarter of NoLa
2. Lalaurie Mansion
Lalaurie Mansion is a grand old house in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It's particularly fitting as a Coven filming location because it's known as the "haunted house." It's a popular stop on New Orleans ghost tours.
Madame Delphine Lalaurie was very much a real person. She became infamous as the "Cruel Mistress of the Haunted House." After her third marriage, she moved into the manse in 1831. But she was difficult, and her third husband fled her dastardly clutches.
Most heinously, Madame Lalaurie tortured her slaves. When a fire broke out in 1834, the tortured slaves, held in chains, were revealed. Rumors circulated that her slaves were experimented on and mutilated.
Madame Lalaurie escaped in the fray, possibly fleeing to France. 200 years later, there are still reports of paranormal activity in the house -- mooing, phantom footsteps, negative energy.
Madame Lalaurie, played by Kathy Bates in Coven
Intrigued by its reputation, Actor Nicolas Cage purchased Lalaurie Mansion in 2009. Soon after, he was bankrupt and lost the house. His career tanked. New Orleanians whispered that the curse of the Lalaurie Mansion caused Cage's downward spiral.
American Horror Story's Coven succeeds in making a reputedly haunted house even more creepy and notorious. In Coven, we're shown grisly flashbacks of Delphine torturing her slaves and her own daughters.
Where to find Lalaurie Mansion : 1140 Royal Street in the French Quarter
3. Round Table Club, Tau Omega Alpha Fraternity
The Round Table Club isahandsome clubhouse on St. Charles Avenue, overlooking Audubon Park. This club was founded in 1898 by a group of professional and literary men, who subsequently purchased the house in 1919. To this day, the club hosts lectures and social gatherings.
In Coven, the Round Table Club doubles as the Tau Omega Alpha fraternity house. One of Coven's grisliest events occurs there. Madison brings Zoe to a frat party, where Madison is brutally gang-raped by frat boys. The frat boys escape the scene in a bus, deleting all evidence of the crime from their phones.
In a state of shock, a rageful Medusa-like Madison uses her witchy powers to flip the bus over, killing her rapists. Only Zoe's friend Kyle survives, after later being revived by Madison. He's brought to the academy, but is effectively a zombie.
Where to find the Round Table Club: 6330 Saint Charles Ave
4. Gallier House, the Exterior of Madame Lalaurie's Mansion
Gallier House was built in the1850s. It's one of the best preserved historic homes in New Orleans and listed as a National Historical Landmark. The house is operated as a museum alongside the Hermann-Grima House. You can visit it on a public tour.
In episode 2 of Coven, Fiona and Delphine sit outside the house, after Fiona releases her from her underground prison. Delphine discloses that the voodoo queen hung her family right above them and is disgusted at the historic landmark plaque on her house.
Where to find the Gallier House: 1132 Royal Street
Hermann-Grima House in New Orleans
5. Hermann-Grima House, the Interior of Madame Lalaurie's Mansion
The Hermann-Grima House is a meticulously restored French Quarter home built in 1831. It was an early example of American architecture in the French Quarter. Inside its Federalist facade is an extant open-hearth kitchen, slave quarters, horse stables, and a courtyard. It's owned and operated by The Woman’s Exchange.
In Coven, the house was used as the interior of Madame Lalaurie's mansion. Fiona takes her young witches there. They learn about Delphine's wicked history and see her chamber of horrors, where she tortured her slaves.
The final resting place of Madame Lalaurie is supposedly unknown. However, Nan senses where she's buried, showing Fiona. Fiona removes the undead Delphine from the dirt.
Where to find the Hermann-Grima House:820 St Louis Street
Maison Vitry in New Orleans
6. Maison Vitry
Dating from 1855, Maison Vitry is a Creole home in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. Inside, there are 14 foot ceilings, ironwork, and original moldings. If you want to relive Coven up close and personal, it's available for rent via Air Bnb.
In Coven, the elegantly decaying mansion appears as Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau’s Cornrow City Salon. The hair salon is her "cover" for her real mission in life: revenge through black magic.
Maison Vitry makes many appearances in the show. Fiona visits Marie Laveau, wondering about Marie's secret to immortality. Marie immediately identifies her as a witch. The two discuss the feud between their kind. The voodoo queen reminds Fiona that the Salem witches got their power from the "voodoo slave girl," Tituba, before unceremoniously kicking her out.
Cordelia also goes to Laveau's salon in secret. She seeks help from the voodoo queen with her fertility problem. Laveau turns her down flat, refusing to perform the voodoo ritual based on the longstanding feud between witches and voodoo practitioners.
Where to find Maison Vitry: 501 Frenchmen Street
Popp Fountain in New Orleans
6. Popp Fountain
Built in 1937, Popp Fountain is a massive fountain in City Park. The fountain features underwater lighting and a 30 foot spray of water from a cast bronze sculpture of dolphins. Recently renovated, it's often the site of cocktails parties and receptions.
Historically, Popp Fountain was a meeting place for witches. In the 20th century "white witch" Marie Oneida founded a coven, which was recognized as a church. Legend holds that she performed magical ceremonies at Popp Fountain, including "fountain of youth" tricks like extending peoples' lives.
In Coven, Popp's Fountain is mentioned at the end of the first episode, "Bitchcraft." Fiona describes it as “a kind of holy place for our order" as she leads her coven through the French Quarter.
Address: 1 Palm Drive New Orleans
Hotel St. Marie in the French Quarter
7. Vacherie Restaurant
Vacherie Restaurant is in the Hotel St. Marie, at the corner of Toulouse and Dauphine Streets. It serves up authentic cajun cuisine in the French Quarter. Here's where you get your fried green tomato and shrimp remoulade poboy.
Fiona and the witches walk by this restaurant on their iconic stroll.
Address: 827 Toulouse Street
Cure cocktail bar
8. Cure Bar
Cure is a hipster bar on Feret Street. It's one of New Orleans hottest bars, known for its innovative artisanal cocktails.
Cure is Fiona's favorite watering hole. She's seen sipping cocktails there in the beginning of Episodes 4 and 5. It's the right part of the city for Fiona's character, kind of hip and savvy.
Address: 4905 Freret St. Uptown
Royal Street in New Orleans
9. Royal Street
Royal Street is a posh and famous street in New Orleans. Royal Street runs parallel to Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. It's classic New Orleans -- wrought iron balconies, colorful brick or stucco exteriors, and arched windows. It's a great place to stroll and window shop.
In Episode 2, Madame Lalaurie runs away from the coven. Fiona finds her sitting on the sidewalk. They walk down the street in a closing scene.
Lafayette Cemetery in New Orleans
10. Lafayette Cemetery
New Orlean's Lafayette Cemetery is the site of a jazz funeral in Episode 10 of Coven. Madison shows off her powers to Misty. She revivifies a man, hits Misty with a brick, and leaves Misty in the vacated coffin. Madison then dances through the cemetery with Misty's Stevie Nicks shawl.
We see the cemetery again in the next episode during Nan’s funeral.
Address: 1427 Washington Ave
Chubbie's Fried Chicken fast food restaurant
11. Chubbie's Fried Chicken
Chubbie's Fried Chicken was Queenie's place of employment before the academy. In a fit of pique, Queenie used magic to hurt a rude customer. In the Go To Hell episode, this is where Queenie is transported during the Test of the Seven Wonders. It's her own personal hell.
Atchafalaya Restaurant in New Orleans
12. Atchafalaya Restaurant
This restaurant serves up creative new Orleans food. If you want to leave the crowded French Quarter, this cottage-y restaurant is in the residential Irish Channel neighborhood and a bit of a hidden gem.
Fiona and Madison have cocktails there, boozing it up and playing pool. Later, back at the academy, Fiona tells Madison she'll be the next Supreme. Fiona hands her a knife, asking her to kill her, since cancer inevitably will. When Madison refuses, Fiona turns the knife on her, saying "This coven doesn't need a new Supreme, it needs a new rug."
Address: 901 Louisiana Ave
13. The Victorian Lounge at the Columns Hotel
This bar is known for its Queen Anne design, mahogany ceilings, and classic cocktails. 15 foot high ceilings give it a feeling of grandeur. This is where Fiona meets the Axeman in Episode 6, The Axeman Cometh.
The Axeman was based on a real serial killer. Active in New Orleans from 1918-19, he attacked his victims with an axe. He was taken down by the Coven's witches of the previous century, but his spirit lingered. When he attempts to murder Cordelia, incantations release him from his spirit and give him a physical presence.
The Axeman appears in the show as an undead homicidal ghost obsessed with Fiona. Ravaged by cancer, Fiona wants to have "just one more great love affair." The axe man it is. In the final episode, as punishment for plotting to kill the next Supreme, Fiona is condemned to live with the Axeman in his farmhouse heaven for all eternity.
Address: 3811 St Charles Ave
If you'd like to visit the filming locations for AHS's Coven, pin it for later.