Infamous for its dark and haunted history, the Lalurie Mansion is one of the most visited building in the French Quarter in spite of the fact that it is not opened to the public.
This grand residence, now shrouded in a dark lore, once belonged to Madame Delphine LaLaurie, a socialite whose name became synonymous with horror and cruelty in the early 19th century.
As one of the most haunted locations in a city known for its spectral history, the LaLaurie Mansion captivates both the curious and the brave. This article takes a deeper look into the atrocities of Madame LaLaurie and the story behind the LaLaurie Mansion.
Madame Delphine LaLaurie
Born into a wealthy and well-established Creole family in New Orleans., Marie Delphine Macarty, was a wealthy and prominent socialite in the city during the early 19th century.
She first married Don Ramón de Lopez y Angulo, a high-ranking Spanish royal officer, in 1800. After his death, she married Jean Blanque, a prominent banker, merchant, and lawyer. Following Blanque’s death, Delphine married her third husband, Dr. Leonard Louis Nicolas LaLaurie, in 1825.
Now known as Madame LaLaurie, she emerged as a prominent figure in New Orleans’ high society, known for her wealth, social standing, and a series of marriages to affluent men.
Together with Dr. LaLaurie and two of her daughters, Madame LaLaurie moved into the Royal Street mansion in the French Quarter. The mansion was a symbol of their wealth and status, and she became known for hosting lavish parties there.
Revelation of Atrocities
The darker side of Madame LaLaurie emerged on April 10, 1834, when a fire broke out in the mansion. Rescuers responding to the fire discovered enslaved people in the attic who had been horribly mistreated and tortured.
This discovery revealed a gruesome contrast to Madame LaLaurie’s public persona as a high-society figure. Reports described appalling conditions and brutalized individuals, leading to public outrage.
As the extent of her atrocities was made known to the public, an angry mob descended on the mansion, seeking answers and justice.
Madame LaLaurie reportedly fled New Orleans, with accounts suggesting she escaped to Paris. It was also rumored that she was discovered while fleeing away and was beaten to death. Details about her life, including the circumstances of her death, remain ambiguous and are a subject of speculation.
The LaLaurie Mansion
Madame LaLaurie’s legacy is that of a brutal slave owner whose actions left an indelible mark on the history of New Orleans. Her story has been retold in various forms, often with added sensationalism.
The LaLaurie Mansion, associated with her darkest deeds, has become a symbol of the city’s haunted past and a subject of fascination in popular culture. Perhaps most notably, the mansion and a fictionalized version of Madame LaLaurie were featured in the television series “American Horror Story: Coven.”
However, it should be known that the current LaLaurie Mansion we see today is not the original building occupied by the LaLaurie family. The house, which was already damaged during the fire in 1834, was completely destroyed by the mob in a subsequent fire.
The place was left in ruins till 1838 when the site was taken over and restored by New Orleanian Pierre Trastour. For over a century after its restoration, the place served as a public high school, an apartment, a furniture store, and a luxury apartment building.
At three stories high, the LaLaurie Mansion was once known to be the highest building in Jackson Square and the French Quarters.
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Hauntings at the Mansion
The atrocities committed by Delphine LaLaurie in the mansion have made it the subject of numerous ghost stories and paranormal claims.
There have been reports of apparitions within the mansion, including the sightings of enslaved people who suffered under Madame LaLaurie’s cruelty. Visitors and passersby have described seeing faces peering out from the windows, hearing cries and moans, and even feeling a sense of unease when visiting the property.
Some visitors have reported feeling sudden temperature drops and feeling unexplained touches in areas of the mansion.
Visiting LaLaurie Mansion
The true extent of Delphine LaLaurie’s crimes and the motivations behind them are subjects still discussed and debated. The history of what have happened inside the LaLaurie Mansion continues to captivate and horrify those who delve into the city’s storied past.
Today, the mansion, located at 1140 Royal Street, is a popular attraction in the French Quarter despite the fact that it is privately owned and not open to the public. Many French Quarter tours also make a pitstop at the building to remind visitors of the atrocities committed within its walls.