Did you think New Orleans was only the home of vampires? Think again!

Cajun legends cite stories of werewolves that haunt the dreary New Orleans Louisiana swamps. These werewolves are known to natives as the “swamp ape” because of their tendencies to stay in the swamp-filled lowlands. Others call them the “rougarou” (or, other spellings you might see include “Rugaru”, “Roux-Ga-Roux”, or “Rugaroo”). Some historians say that the word “rougarou” actually originated from the French word “Loup Garou” (which means werewolf), and indeed in Louisiana the two terms can sometimes be used interchangeably. It is also worth noting that the Rugaru is sometimes associated with Native American legends, although whether or not the association is a true one or simply a loose connection is debatable.

The rougarou are slightly different from the “traditional” more common form of werewolf, and even different from the traditional Loup Garou. Rougarou are said to have the head of a wolf, and the body of a human.

In addition, the stories and legends surrounding the rougarou vary, but many seem to cite that the creature is “cursed” to be human during the day, and the “rougarou” at night. During the night when it is in it’s dangerous form, it sucks the blood from humans to quench its craving for humans, (similar to vampires). In addition, it is said that the “curse” of the rougarou is spread by its bite which infects the victim with the werewolf virus.

Another common legend related to this creature says that the rougarou hunts Catholics that break the rules and observances of Lent, the time of fasting and repentance prior to Easter.