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LaLaurie - a Socialite, a Doctor & a Mansion

Updated on August 12, 2014

A grisly tale of wealth, slavery and unfathomable cruelty

Located at 1140 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA, the LaLaurie Mansion has been considered the most haunted and the most frightening location in the French Quarter for more than 175 years. It was there that during one of many lavish parties, a fire broke out and subsequently revealed that behind its stately facade, the LaLaurie Mansion was truly a house of horrors.

More than a ghost story, the LaLaurie account is part crime story, part supernatural thriller as well as a historical reflection of 19th century New Orleans and its wealthy elite, its citizens and its slaves.

Read on to learn more about the gruesome tale of the wealthy, prominent socialite who hid her dark side behind the doors of an impressive mansion, elegant social affairs, refined manners and a delicate, beautiful visage. Keep reading and you may just learn what happened to the famous Madame LaLaurie after she narrowly escaped an angry mob that chased her horse drawn carriage into the night.

The Socialite

Delphine LaLaurie was born Marie Delphine Macarty in New Orleans, Louisiana. A privileged child of a wealthy and respected Creole family, Delphine was one of five children of Louis Barthelemy Chevalier de Maccarthy, whose name was later simplified to Macarty and Marie Jeanne Lovable. Even as a little girl, Delphine was known for her exceptional beauty.

Delphine married three times over the course of her life to well-known men in the area. Her first marriage was to Don Ramon de Lopez y Angulo on June 11, 1800. Her first husband died on March 26, 1804, at Havana, Cuba, and she married in 1808 to Jean Blanque, who died in 1816. Madame Lopez-Blanque on June 12, 1825, became the wife of Dr. Leonard Louis Lalaurie.

There was never a hint of scandal about her until she and Dr. Lalaurie moved to the house on Royal street.

Mad Madame LaLaurie

Two history buffs, Victoria Cosner Love and Lorelei Shannon, retell the story of Madame LaLaurie based upon extensive research into historical archives that produced news clippings and hand written documents. Their story promises a richer tale that includes: pirates, nobility, royalty, politicians, duels, slave revolts and more.

Mad Madame LaLaurie: New Orleans' Most Famous Murderess Revealed (True Crime)
Mad Madame LaLaurie: New Orleans' Most Famous Murderess Revealed (True Crime)

Kudos for the research that went into this interesting little gem. If you are interested in the mysterious LaLaurie mansion and the people who lived there, this is a nice read.


The Doctor

Little is known about Delphine's third husband, Dr. Leonard Louis Nicolas Lalaurie. The doctor was born in France where he attended medical school before moving to New Orleans. He was often described as "nondescript" or "retiring."

However, there was a hidden dark, even violent side to his personality. By some accounts, Delphine filled charges against him during their marriage, claiming abuse. And, while it is Delphine's name that is forever linked to the atrocities found in the mansion after the fire, who could imagine that he was unaware of these activities?

Also, there is mention that he was quite a bit younger than his society belle wife; however, the only record I could find indicated that he was one year older than she.

They married on June 25, 1825.

The LaLaurie Tale - Three Tellings of the LaLaurie Tale

Haunted New Orleans TV - Parts 1 & 2

The story of the fire, horrors discovered much later during building renovations and the ghostly hauntings still happening today, presented by Haunted History Tour guides: Midian Von Thorne and Andrew Ward.

Scary For Kids This is a narrated presentation.

"The Amateur's Guide to LaLaurie Mansion"

This video features Zach Bales, author of "The Amateur's Guide to Ghost Hunting," retelling the hair-raising legend of New Orleans, Louisiana's infamous haunt, the LaLaurie Mansion.

Who Done It? - She did it. He did it. They both did it.

Who performed the horrific experiments and acts of cruelty on the slaves?

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What Say You? - Is the LaLaurie Story Fact, Fiction or Something in Between?

Actual Story in The Bee - April 11, 1834
Actual Story in The Bee - April 11, 1834

The newspaper article pictured above is the actual account of the events of April 10, 1834. It was published in The Bee on April 11, 1834. This article is from the archives of the Jefferson Parish Library and can be found by clicking on the article.

Is the LaLaurie Story Fact, Fiction or Something in Between?

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    • llfincannon profile image

      Laura Fincannon 4 years ago from New Orleans and South Florida

      @MissMalaprop: Our city is so rich in history and tradition. Living here, it is easy to pass it by because we are always surrounded by it.

    • llfincannon profile image

      Laura Fincannon 4 years ago from New Orleans and South Florida

      @siobhanryan: ...and it's but one of the many stories of New Orleans. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Real Scary

    • profile image

      MissMalaprop 5 years ago

      I have a bunch of friends who work as tourguides for some of the haunted history tour companies in the French Quarter, and I've been on one of the tours before too. You could totally pass up the house though, and never realize what happened there, other than the plaque out front to let you know. Nice lens!