If you are lucky enough to travel to New Orleans, whether it’s to enjoy some outstanding ghost tours or merely to explore the historical city, there’s a chance you’ll hear the name Delphine LaLaurie or the LaLaurie Mansion. Born under the surname Macarty into a powerful and wealthy family on March 19th, 1787, LaLaurie would grow to become known as the “Cruel Mistress of the Haunted House.” Behind closed doors, in her mansion, unspeakable acts would be performed by LaLaurie to earn this infamous name.
LaLaurie’s childhood was not too significant. She had an older brother, Louis, and her Catholic family led an average life. It wasn’t until Delphine began marrying that specific mysterious events transpired. In 1800, when LaLaurie was just over thirteen years old, she married for the first time. With this husband, before his untimely and mysterious death in 1804, she had one child. Four years later, she married again, giving birth to four more children before once more, her husband passed away in 1816. Delphine’s third marriage, however, was the most controversial. She married a physician named Leonard Louis Nicolas LaLaurie, whom she had employed to take care of her second daughter that had suffered from deformities of the spine. Her daughter’s deformities would never be cured, but Louis and Delphine would wind up marrying and having a child, even though she was nearly twenty years older than him.
In 1831, Delphine purchased a property located at 1140 Royal Street, and Louis and herself live there for some years. However, they had many marital issues in their time living together. Arguments would often be heard from outside of the LaLaurie mansion, until the day Louis walked out on Delphine in 1834. According to legend, Louis’ leaving drove Delphine over the edge. As time went on, the talk of the town was that Delphine would harm her slaves frequently, something that was illegal and despised by the public. One day, in 1833, an investigation began when one of her slaves fell to her death in LaLaurie’s courtyard. This investigation led to all of Delphine’s slaves being released, but she would eventually purchase them all again, one at a time.
The rumors about LaLaurie’s violence would stay quiet for a period, but in 1834, when a fire destroyed a part of her home, the truth about Delphine would be revealed. In her attic, investigators discovered multiple starving and tortured slaves chained to the walls. They were taken away to receive medical treatment, food, and water, and the people of New Orleans were outraged over Delphine’s crimes. When the sheriff, who was supposed to arrest LaLaurie, never arrived at her home, a mob broke out and stripped the residence, which LaLaurie had fled, of its valuables. The gathering also destroyed much of its interior.
Delphine LaLaurie fled the United States, and nobody knows what exactly happened to her after fleeing the country. Some say she lived the rest of her days in Paris, and others say she returned to New Orleans under a fake name some years later. Her home now stands as a historical monument and is subject to many ghost tours in New Orleans. Moans can be heard from the attic, steps can be heard throughout the home, and people that stand near the house often feel a very negative feeling being near it.
When traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana, one landmark to seek out for those interested in the paranormal would be the LaLaurie mansion. Owned by a monstrous woman who had a thirst for violence, it is rife with ghosts and the supernatural. With countless torturings, deaths, and evil influences surrounding its past, it makes for a compelling paranormal experience.