The couple is either playing a spooky season prank on us, or they’re just tired of the ghosts.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z have done an amazing job of keeping their mystique alive as a celebrity couple. The massively beloved stars rarely give interviews, choose their public appearances carefully and very much curate what we, the lowly rest of the world, are allowed to consume of them. It’s truly a masterclass in fame in an age where privacy is an illusion, and celebs often get caught up in the easy thrills of social media. Even when the couple does advertising, they manage to take the cheap #spon aura out of it, only partnering with high tier designers who provide elusive props for them to work with like the Tiffany diamond and a never-before-seen Banksy painting. Even when they court controversy, like with the 2016 infidelity scandal, they turn lemons into Lemonade (the Grammy award-winning concept album and correlating film). So we can’t help but be massively curious when it comes to light that they are selling a New Orleans mansion that they may never have even set foot in, and that it has an incredibly mysterious legacy.
The Carters bought the home in 2015 for an unknown amount, but comps at the time valued what is known as Casa de Castille at around $2.6 million, a steal in the market of celebrity homes (the couple’s Bel Air mansion alone is worth $88 million). Built in 1925, the 13,200 square-foot, Spanish-style building located in New Orleans’ iconic Garden District originally served as a house of worship for a Westminster Presbyterian congregation. According to 1527 Harmony Street’s slightly batty and lengthy Zillow listing, at some point between being a church and becoming a home in 2000, it also served as a ballet school. I’m not a haunted house expert, but from watching horror movies alone, I feel confident in the assumption that old churches and old ballet schools have pretty decent haunting potential — 7 out of 10 would spook.
The confusing Zillow page does not help in making the house feel like it’s not sitting on a foundation of mystery. As the Houston Chron points out, the Zillow listing directs readers to a website for the property multiple times that does not exist, and the phone number listed is actually for a Mississippi-based immigration attorney. The rambling description of the seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom house with 26-foot ceilings certainly doesn’t give the impression of a professionally-listed property; it reads more like the ghosts who live there are trying to sell it. Google street view images of the property are eerily blurred — again, no expert, but HUGE sign of a haunting. The only searchable images of the house are from before Jay-Z and Beyoncé bought it in 2015; that isn’t too suspicious, since it would be odd for such a famous couple to do something as pedestrian as have one of their houses photographed for a real estate listing.
What is odd though is that the house caught fire in July in a potential case of arson that has not been solved. The blaze was so large it reportedly took two hours and 22 firefighters to put it out. Neighbors who wished to remain anonymous told Nola.com that “people are known to use an unlocked gate to come onto and leave the property.” The New Orleans Parish Police Department confirmed via spokesperson as well that they had received reports of a suspicious person near the home before the fire broke out. At the time of the fire, neither Beyoncé nor Jay-Z would confirm that they owned the property, but it is definitely deeded to Sugarcane Park LLC, a corporation set up by Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment company and managed by her mother, Tina Knowles. So it’s unclear as well what the couple’s use for or relationship with the house was. It could have been a Schitt’s Creek kind of purchase, but make it fashion/a haunted mansion? Maybe it’s the vacation home they bought to offer to family they don’t care for when they ask for a perk? Maybe it was a potential creative set that was never used? Maybe they just wanted to have the option to go stay with ghosts? Celebrities love options. Ghosts love celebrities.
Adding to the weirdness, in just one week of being listed as for sale by owner, the property has increased in price by nearly a million dollars, going from $3.5 million up to $4.45 million. That’s a big jump for a property that is fire damaged, although the Zillow listing does promise to paint the house any color of the buyers choosing before close. The Zillow page makes a lot of promises though, like that the house has “the largest green roof in the city,” and that a prior unnamed Grammy-winning tenet once said of the property, “The acoustics and vibes are great. I did my best writing ever, while watching the sunset from the rooftop garden!" Did Beyoncé say that? Did Jay-Z say that? I feel like they very much do not use earnest exclamation points. Is there a Grammy award-winning ghost living there? Anything is possible...including getting to take ownership of this spooky addendum to the Carter’s infamous legend, as long as you have the guts and the cash.