It should come as no surprise that Louisiana probably has more urban legends than any other state in the United States. The terrain of Louisiana is full of dense, dark bayous that are capable of holding innumerable secrets. The mixture of Creole and voodoo influences on Louisiana culture have given this state and its people an entirely unique character. Truly, if magic exists in any state in the U.S., it’s Louisiana. In fact, if you’re lucky enough to visit the famous city of New Orleans, one of the main activities that’s recommended is to go on a ghost tour.
However, there aren’t any tour guides out there who will tell you about The Grunch, the Louisiana legend that’s the subject of this article. And, if you’re wondering whether or not I misspelled “The Grinch” (the fuzzy, green, curmudgeonly character from the iconic Dr. Seuss Christmas story), the answer is no. We’re talking about something entirely different and more sinister in this case. The Grunch is a deadly beast (often compared to a Chupacabra) in some versions of the story. However, in other versions, the term refers to a group of half-humans living outside New Orleans who have resorted to cannibalism as a result of a deal they made with the Devil.
If that description sounded a bit outrageous to you, just wait. The legend of The Grunch gets even more awful and absurd. Plus, there are so many variations on this story that it’ll make your head spin. But, in this article, I’m going to attempt to pin down the Louisiana legend of The Grunch in all of its forms. So, if you’re headed to New Orleans, keep an eye out when you’re in the bayou.
Whether the dangerous beasts known as The Grunch are Chupacabra-like devil dogs or cannibalistic half-humans, they get their name from the road where they’re seen most often: Grunch Road. However, if you do a quick Google search for a “Grunch Road” in New Orleans,, you won’t find any results.
It’s believed that there was once a real Grunch Road somewhere in the city of New Orleans, and that it was made of shells from the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico and dirt. However, there’s been some dispute about where this legendary road was located. Plus, many believe that it has since been paved over and renamed.
Some believe that the original Grunch Road is now known as Gannon Road, which is located in the Little Woods neighborhood of New Orleans. Today, this area is fairly urban and is hardly a good hiding place for mysterious creatures. However, Gannon Road isn’t far from the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, a giant natural area that could easily conceal some vicious beasts.
The Grunch as a Chupacabra
In some variations of the legend, The Grunch is incredibly similar to the North American version of the Chupacabra, which is typically described as being a dog-like creature with certain reptilian features. This monster is said to have glowing red eyes that can be seen from far away at night. It’s known to suck the blood of animals through a single hole, implying that the beast has a round mouth with a circular set of teeth.
Due to New Orleans’s proximity to Mexico, it’s possible that the legend of The Grunch is simply a variation of the Chupacabra legend known by a different name. However, unlike a traditional Chupacabra, The Grunch is said to have human capabilities, such as opening doors or using tools. Some say the beast is even able to pass through walls.
On top of that, The Grunch is said to have a strong stench to it (which is a trait commonly associated with Bigfoot). Some have even said that it has wings like a bat and can fly around, making this creature even more terrifying.
While there isn’t much information out there on where The Grunch came from, some have suggested that the beast is actually the child of Marie Laveau, the famous New Orleans herbalist of the 1800s often referred to as the “Voodoo Queen”. As the story goes, Laveau began looking after a deformed child that became known as the “Devil Baby” (some believe that the Devil Baby was Laveau’s own child while others say she simply took care of it).
In an attempt to stop the baby from reproducing, she cut off the Devil Baby’s testicles. Then, quite surprisingly, the two testicles turned into a male and female Grunch, both of which attacked Laveau and nearly killed her. These two creatures then escaped into the woods near Grunch Road. Even until today, anyone who is bitten by one of these creatures will turn into a Grunch themselves.
The Grunch as a Cannibalistic Tribe
There is an entirely different version of the legend of The Grunch that says that this term refers to a group of deformed humans that were relegated to live in the woods because they were thought to be the creations of the devil. Trigger warning: this version of the legend is very offensive. However, in the interest of accurately reporting this legend, I’m going to recount it as it’s been passed down through generations.
According to this version of the story, “The Grunch” refers to a group of people that are the descendants of albinos and people with dwarfism. In early New Orleans society, these people were considered to be cursed by the Devil because of their uncommon appearances. Sadly, they were forced to live in the woods on the fringes of the city.
As the story goes, these banished people lived in the woods for many generations and a great deal of inbreeding occurred. As a result, these people eventually went mad and developed a taste for blood. They began hunting farm animals as well as humans in the area around Grunch Road.
In some variations of the story, this group of people actually did sell their souls to the Devil in exchange for protection. However, in order to hold up their end of the deal, they also had to sacrifice animals. So, they would steal animals from nearby farms and sacrifice them. In some versions of the story, they also sacrificed humans.
Again, this story is very offensive to both people with albinism and people with dwarfism. There’s no evidence to suggest that any of the events in this story ever occurred or ever could occur.
The Grunch Sightings
According to many versions of this legend, The Grunch will often leave an injured animal on the side of the road and wait for people to come along and try to help it. Then, when the passerby isn’t expecting, they’ll kidnap them, kill them, and drink their blood.
Sightings of The Grunch date back as far as the 1800s. However, there was a resurgence in sightings just after Hurricane Katrina. Some attribute this to the fact that Hurricane Katrina displaced The Grunch from their homes, forcing them out into the open.
There’s also the fact that many animals were injured during the hurricane. Thus, it would have been far more likely to see an injured animal on the side of the road in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Many people may have mistakenly attributed these injured animals to The Grunch rather than to the hurricane.
Still, New Orleans is a place where anything seems possible. There are miles and miles of uninhabited bayou and there have been practitioners of voodoo magic living there for centuries. Who knows? Maybe there was and still is a vicious creature lurking in some part of the city.