As the story goes;
The land was purchased in 1831, by Marie Delphine Macarty, after her third marriage to a much younger physician, Dr. Leonard Louis Nicolas LaLaurie in 1825. In 1832 Delphine, built a three-story mansion at 1140 Royal Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. Equipped with all the modern conveniences, afforded in the era, including attached slave quarters. The acquisition of land and building process was accomplished by Ms. LaLaurie, on her own, in her own name with very little assistance from her husband, which in itself, was unheard of in the era.
The couple took possession of the property along with two daughters, products of Ms. LaLaurie's previous marriages. Afterward, Madame LaLaurie set about immersing and maintaining a position for her family into the elite of New Orleans high society.
Around this time, rumors were circulating regarding the unholy appearance of Madame’s slaves. The terms “haggard and wretched” were bandied about regarding their appearance by visitors to the residence. Of course, Delphine’s public appearances belied any misgivings as she was always polite and seemingly, genuinely concerned regarding the health and welfare of the slaves in her charge.
1. The chasing of a twelve-year-old slave girl with a bullwhip after she snagged the mistresses’ hair while combing. Leading the child to jump to her death from the mansion roof in an effort to escape her impending punishment. No arrest or charges filed.
2. The cook was chained to the kitchen stove,
3. The cook’s daughters received severe physical punishment when caught feeding or aiding slaves.
LaLaurie Mansion Fire
In April 1834 there was a fire at the Royal Street residence that started in the kitchen. Upon entering the area responders found the seventy-year-old cook chained at the ankle to the stove. She admitted setting the fire in a failed attempt at suicide fearing an expected punishment from her mistress. A punishment she stated that would take place in the uppermost room of the house. A room that folks went into but never came out.
Bystanders, entered the property to ensure all the inhabitants had been evacuated, but the owners refused to give them access to the keys. The door was broken down by the responders and they were horrified by what was discovered;
1. Up to seven slaves stark naked, chained to walls and mutilated
2. Some slaves suspended by the neck with collar chains.
3. Limbs of slaves torn from the owner's body.
4. All slaves were emaciated.
6. Bodies flayed with whips wounds left untended and open.
7. Some slaves bound and locked in spiked iron collars in an effort to keep their heads erect at all times.
8. Slaves with eyes gouged out, fingernails pulled from the root.
9. Many had festering holes in their buttocks where fleshed had been dug / stripped.
10. Disemboweled slaves with their intestines tied around their naked waists.
11. Later; interred, mutilated bodies of slaves were found during an excavation of the grounds and a condemned well. Including that of twelve-year-old Lei who jumped to her death in fear of her mistress.
Life After LaLaurie
The remaining bystanders were calling for the heads of the LaLauries. Both escaped the crowd and justice (of course). Madame LaLaurie fled to France where it is rumored she died in 1842 or 1849 in Paris. It is said that Dr. LaLaurie’s whereabouts are unknown. Neither has been seen since the day of the fire.
Haunting / Retelling
Since the early 1960s, there have been sightings of spirits, sounds of children’s laughter from the grounds where mutilated bodies were unearthed, a female entity who has no shyness about making an appearance at any given time in this house that evil built. So busy are these entities most owners stayed no longer than three years. Between 1900 and 1920 more bodies of slaves were found on the grounds due to disturbance by workers and contractors on behalf of new residents in remodeling efforts.
The most famous buyer of the infamous property was the actor, Nicolas Cage, for a purchase price of $3.45 million. In 2009 the home went into foreclosure and was purchased for $2.3 million by a corporation.
Stories, Folklore, and Poems have been created around the grim history of LaLaurie Mansion;
1. Poet Jennifer Reeser has written a poem in Terza Rima titled "The Lalaurie Horror”.
2. Delphine LaLaurie is a character in the board game Evil Baby Orphanage.
3. Kathy Bates portrays a heavily fictionalized Delphine LaLaurie in the 2013 third season of the American anthology horror television series American Horror Story.
“You know, other people have beachfront property; I have ghost front property – that’s what I always say. I have not experienced anything, but I like a bit of mystery, and the house has such a mystery to it. Some of the stories about it are pretty horrific,’’ Nicolas Cage said in an interview with the New York Daily News.