LaLaurie Slave Murders in New Orleans

Delphine and Louis LaLaurie

One of the prominent figures in the story of the LaLaurie slave murder case of 1834 is Delphine LaLaurie. Delphine LaLaurie was born Marie Delphine McCarty around 1775 in the town of New Orleans, Louisianna. She was the daughter of Barthelmy Louis Macarty and Vevue Lecomte, long time citizens of the city. Her parents were murdered, however, during the slave uprising in Port au Prince, Haiti.

Delphine's cousin, Augustin de McCarty was elected Mayor of New Orleans in 1815 and was in office until 1820. Delphine's connections within the city elevated her in social circles, and she played the part by throwing elaborate parties at her home at 1140 Royal Street.

Delphine was married twice before she married Dr. Louis LaLaurie. Her first marriage to Don Ramon de Lopez y Angulo in 1800 ended when he died in 1804 in Havannah, Cuba. Her second husband, Jean Blanque, died in 1816. Delphine married Louis on June 25, 1825. The couple purchased the property on Royal Street in 1831 and didn't move into the house until its completion in the spring of 1832.

Delphine had a daughter by her first marriage, Marie Delphine Borja Lopez y Angula de Candelaria. She had four more children by her second husband: Marie Louise Pauline, Louise Marie Laure, Marie Louise Jeanne, and Jean Pierre Paulin Blanque.

Louis LaLaurie came to New Orleans from France to set up his practice. There is nothing in his past that points to an interest in the kind of cruelty that supposedly was enacted on the slaves owned by the LaLaurie family.

The LaLaurie House

Circa 1906
Circa 1906

Story in "The Bee" Newspaper

The source of this story is largely from the April 11, 1834 newspaper account in the The Bee. (See link to this actual article below). In the reporter's account is the following information:

"...the doors were pried open for the purpose of liberating them. Predisposed to taking this liberty, (If liberty it can be detailed) several gentlemen impelled by their feelings demanded the keys which were refused them in a gross and insulting manner. Upon entering one of the apartments the most apalling spectacle met their eyes. Several slaves more or less horribly mutilated, were seen suspended from the neck, with their limbs apparently stretched and torn from one extremity to the other. Language is powerless and inadequate to give a proper recollection of the horror which a scene like this must have inspired. We shall not attempt it, but leave it rather to the reader's imagination to picture what it was!

The slaves were the property of the demon in the shape of a woman whom we mentioned in the beginning of this article. They had been confined by her for several months in the situation from which they had thus been rescued and had merely been kept in existenceto prolong their sufferings and to make them taste all that the most refined cruelty could inflict. But why dwell upon the particulars! We feel confident that the community share with us our indignation, and that vengeance will fall, heavily full upon the guilty culprit. Without being superstitious, we cannot but regard the manner in which these atrocities have been brought to light as an especial interposition of heaven.

Since the above was in type, the populace have retired to the house of this woman and have demolished and destroyed everything upon which they could lay their hand. At the time of editing this story, the mob remained unbridled and threatens the total demolition of the entire edifice."

Truth or Myth?

The newspaper article obviously leaves a lot to the imagination. The stories that exist describe the discovery of 12 victims to this crime. The victims, other than those described in the above article, have been described as a woman kept in a cage who had her limbs broken and set at strange angles, resembling a crab. Another is described as having a crude sex change operation. Yet another is described as having had her limbs removed and strange circular pieces of skin removed from her back so as to resemble a caterpillar. Some of the dead bodies were described as having had their faces mutilated so they resembled gargoyles. Supposedly, there were also buckets of body parts around the room as well.

People question why no one heard anything coming from the building where the victims were discovered. Reports detail the building as an outbuilding, not the main house, where the cooking was done (two slaves were found chained to the stove). This isn't improbable since "summer kitchens" were common place then, and still today, so the house wouldn't become hot while food was being cooked.

Another story is that of the 75 additional skeletons being found beneath the floorboards of the third story somewhere around 1969-1970 during house renovations. I personally have been unable to find any record of this, but if someone can provide me with a link to a verifiable news source, such as a newspaper or television station, I'll gladly add it to this article.

After the Crime

No one seems to really know what happened to the LaLaurie's after they fled the fire and angry mob in a horse drawn carriage. Some people believe that she fled to the north of the city, while others believe she sought passage to France.

It is possible that she did indeed go to France. In 1941, a copper epitaph plate was found in the No. 4 Alley of the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 that had the following inscripition:

"Madame Lalaurie, nee Marie Delphine Macarty, decedee a Paris, le' 7 decembre, 1842, a l'age de 6--" (part of the plate is missing).

This plate infers that she died in Paris on December 7, 1842. She apparently was interred in the New Orleans cemetery without detection, though which grave is hers, no one knows.

Who Committed the Crime?

Who do you think committed the atrocities of this crime?

  • Delphine LaLaurie
  • Louis LaLaurie
  • The couple did it together
  • Neither - the story is a result of yellow journalism
See results without voting

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Comments 8 comments

Jack 3 years ago

whereas she had to be crazy to assist with the crimes, being a doctor... as Jack the ripper was, that's where he was able to sever limbs and cut the slaves without them dying. Think about it, would an average person be able to cut off someones legs and arms without killing them? They did it together.


Amethystraven profile image

Amethystraven 4 years ago from California

It's hard to say if these atrocities were committed. People can write anything and get others to believe it. I'd say if there is truth to it, the truth would be available in police archives or at a city hall. If there is no written proof, it's possible it was covered up because of embarrassment or shame and an ugly truth to human nature. People don't like to think other people are capable of doing these things to others. Mutilation and torture are popular in film. Millions paid to see Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of 1000 Corpses, and The Hills Have Eyes. When there could be a true account of these atrocities happening to real people, no one wants to believe it could actually factually happen. Since I wasn't there to see it, I don't know if it happened. I do know some people are mentally and physically capable of mutilating and torturing others.


Mike 4 years ago

Weird.


Jeffrey Holmes 5 years ago

It's BS. It never happened. A book has recently come out, properly researched, called Mad-Madame-Lalaurie. The little girl never fell to her death, she never killed any slaves, she did not 'flee' from an angry mob. No bones were ever found under the floorboards, She returned to New Orleans and lived in the marigny until the mid 1850s


samantha 5 years ago

i think they did it together cause i saw the house and theres no way the guy did not here the screams of those poor people.go to the new orleans ghost and voodoo tour to learn more.bring the family too


Yonnie 6 years ago

WOW I'M VERY SCARED OF GHOSTS, BUT IT'S COOL TO FIND OUT THAT THERE A LOST DUCTHMAN IN NEW ORLEANS.........I THINK.......BYE HAVE A WONDERFUL SUMMER


fierycj profile image

fierycj 7 years ago from The Fiery Heart of Africa

Mysterious stuff. I've seen this stuff briefly featured in some movie. Its intriguing. Thanks for the share.


The Lost Dutchman profile image

The Lost Dutchman 7 years ago from Flanders (Belgium)

Wow! Great hub!

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