THE LEGEND OF ISABELLA
Isabella was a young French maiden, renowned for her beauty, who once lived in the original Bullard mansion after the Bullards were gone. The young lady had many suitors but preferred the company of a young man from the East, sent to Louisiana on business. They fell in love and were to be married. Shortly before the wedding date arrived the young man was killed in a duel. Legend has it that the duel concerned a dispute over another woman.
Isabella, overcome by grief became a nun and the French maiden’s beauty wasted away through constant mourning of her intended. Everyone believed she had gone mad from grief and mourning. One stormy night she ended her mourning by plunging a dagger into her heart. Soon after, she was found dead in her room, with a bloody handprint on the wall.
Her spirit roamed Bullard mansion until it was torn down. Since then she has roamed various buildings on campus. She lived in East Hall until it was torn down in 1932. This was evident by the eyewitness accounts of girls who lived in East. From East Hall, Isabella’s spirit moved to the Music Hall and resided there until 1946 then this building was also torn down. Just before the Music Hall was dismantled, a group of young men, dressed in sheets, coaxed Isabella from the doomed building.
From there she wandered aimlessly around campus from building to building (including East Varnado) for almost three years, until, becoming weary, she chose Caldwell Hall as her new residence. Speculation has it that Caldwell was chosen because of its close proximity to the original Bullard dwelling. According to newspaper articles the official date of the move was January 15, 1949. Reportedly a letter from the ghost was found on the steps of Caldwell along with a few drops of blood.
Isabella’s present residence is the Old Women’s Gym (presently the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training) located on College Avenue beside Varnado Hall. When Caldwell Hall burned in October 1982, a group of 750 students gathered and performed a ceremony on Halloween night that aided Isabella in her transition to her present location.
© 2014 Traditions of Northwestern State University of Louisiana