Have you ever wanted to visit a haunted house? Your dream might come true when you visit the Madame LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans, Louisiana. You have probably heard stories about the famous mansion. Were slaves tortured at the hands of Madame Delphine LaLaurie? Is it actually haunted? If you’re interested in visiting the historic home, we have all of the information here before you schedule your visit.
But first, who’s Madame Delphine LaLaurie?
Known as a New Orleans Creole socialite, Madame Delphine LaLaurie, born as Marie Delphine Mccarty on March 19, 1787, was a well-known socialite in the early 1800s. She hosted lavish parties with high-class civilians. She always presented a polite character, but there was another layer to her—a layer no one expected.
Many could say LaLaurie suffered from her own failures. On June 11, 1800, she married Don Ramon de Lopez y Angullo, a high-ranked Spanish officer. Four years into their marriage, the couple traveled to Spain, where Ramon died in Havana, Cuba en route to Madrid. During the trip, LaLaurie gave birth to their daughter, Marie Borja Delphine Lopez y Angulla de la Candelaria. The single mother didn’t stay long in Spain, quickly returning to New Orleans with her young daughter.
LaLaurie remarried in June 1808 to Jean Blanque, a man who held many wealthy professions, including a banker, merchant, lawyer, and legislator. They had four children: Marie Louise Pauline, Louise Marie Laure, Marie Louise Jeanne, and Jeanne Pierre Paulin Blanque. But unfortunately, Blanque passed away in 1816, bringing more tragedy to LaLaurie and her large family.
But it would be LaLaurie’s third and final marriage to Leonard Louis Nicolas LaLaurie, in 1825, that caused the most controversy. The French transplant was a talented physician, though to many historians he is considered more as a chiropractor. LaLaurie met her husband when her daughter had deformities along her spine and was subsequently ill. Her future husband was hired to cure the child, using multiple medical equipment that, to many, seemed torturous. LaLaurie’s daughter wasn’t cured, but the single woman was still enamored with the physician. LaLaurie soon became pregnant with his child, so the only possible solution was to marry.
Purchasing the historic house
LaLaurie’s life had seemed normal until 1831 when she purchased the property of her famous mansion at 1140 Royal Street in New Orleans. She purchased the home in hopes of having a happy marriage with her husband, but that didn’t happen. Neighbors overheard frequent arguments. Louis finally packed his bags and moved out of the mansion in 1833, but this heartbreak would only bring more havoc to LaLaurie.
LaLaurie became depressed after losing her husband, while many neighbors reported she had “gone mad.” Rumors spread that she started harming her slaves. In 1833, a young slave, Leia, fell to her death in the courtyard. An investigation was held by the city’s council and all of the slaves were set free. To them, this seemed like the end of their long struggle, but LaLaurie secretly re-purchased them one by one. This was only the beginning of the horrors inside the LaLaurie Mansion.
To many, it was a blessing when her appalling sadism was discovered after a fire broke out in her residence. There were stories to be told, and luckily, there were plenty of slaves and witnesses to share the gruesome facts.
More about the 12-year-old slave
This death shouldn’t have happened. Leia, a 12-year-old slave, was busy preparing LaLaurie for an extravagant party. She was brushing the older woman’s hair when she accidentally caught a tangled hair. This happens to everyone, right? Well, apparently it shouldn’t have happened to the Madame of the house.
LaLaurie grabbed Leia, who was now frightened of the woman standing before her. The young slave fled from the room, climbed to the roof of the mansion, but she, unfortunately, lost her balance and fell to her death. Was a tangled strand of hair worth losing a life?
Skeletons in the attic, not closet
LaLaurie lived a double life that her neighbors didn’t know about. When the mansion caught on fire, rumors claim firefighters vomited from an unusual stench in the attic. They discovered several decayed dead bodies. That would explain the horrific smell, but that wasn’t all they found.
There was also evidence of multiple human experiments, including a woman who resembled a caterpillar because LaLaurie had amputated her extremities and attached them to other parts of the helpless woman’s body. Another woman resembled a crab because her limbs had been mutilated and added to other parts of her body. This would have been a horrific scene to witness, and the firefighters must have had the same question historians still have today: What was the point of the human experiments? What was LaLaurie trying to accomplish?
So, what happened to Madame LaLaurie?
You would think LaLaurie would have been punished for her cruel acts, but that’s not what happened. Due to her wealth and a close connection to society, LaLaurie didn’t receive any deprivation for her vicious acts, except paying a small fine. LaLaurie, along with her husband, paid the state of Louisiana only $300 for their acts of brutality and disgust towards their slaves, but if you ask anyone, that wasn’t nearly enough for the years of torment suffered inside the mansion.
Afterward, LaLaurie rightfully lost the ownership of her slaves. She was exiled to Paris, France, where she lived until her death on December 7, 1849. Since her death, however, the LaLaurie Mansion has become a popular tourist attraction, where people have reported paranormal activity. While you can’t go inside the mansion, you can visit the property, which is enough for historians and adventure-seekers. Are you ready to plan your next vacation?