Lalaurie Mansion

lalaurie mansion / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Lalaurie House claims to be one the most haunted sites in New Orleans, a big claim for a city full of ghosts. Madame Delphine Macarty Lalaurie built the mansion in 1832 as a playground for herself and the social elite of New Orleans. She filled it full of the most expensive and elegant furnishings and purchased a magnitude of slaves to care for the house. She seemed to need them, because her slaves kept disappearing. Locals didn't question their disappearances, figuring they had either escaped or been sold.

No one thought anything about it all until a girl named Lia escaped in 1833. She ran to the roof of the mansion and screamed for help. Madame Lalaurie appeared and beat Lia severely with a whip. Lia's only escape was to jump from the roof, but she did not survive the fall. Local police were called and found Lia's body hidden in a well. Lalaurie was "punished" for the murder with a severe fine and ordered to sell the rest of her slaves at public auction. Lalaurie complied, but her friends secretly purchased the slaves and returned them to her secretly.

The extent of Lalaurie's cruelty and madness became evident a year later. On April 10, 1834, the fire brigade arrived to find the mansion ablaze. Inside, they found an elderly cook chained to the kitchen floor who confessed to lighting the fire. It was the only way she could escape the abusive hands of Madame Lalaurie. Firefighters were directed to go to the attic. Inside was a torture chamber. Naked victims were shackled to barbaric devices. A number of long-dead slaves lay on the floor and other victims were weeping in agony. One woman had her mouth sewn shut. Another had a hole drilled in his head and his brains "stirred." Other victims were missing fingernails, eyes, ears and other body parts.

Although Lalaurie's slaves found their freedom that night, few survived to enjoy it. No one knows how many slaves were killed by Lalaurie and she was never made to answer for her crimes. She fled to Paris and is reported to have died in France a few years later. Some claim that she returned to New Orleans and lived under the name "Widow Blanque," but this has never been proven. A tombstone that bears her name is reported to be located in St. Louis Cemetery No.1, indicating that she died in 1842, but it is possible that her remains were returned to St. Louis after her death.

The Lalaurie Mansion has been refurbished several times since that horrible night in April. It has been a school for girls, a barbershop and an apartment building. Each time, the residents claimed the house's horrible history gave them no peace. Some of the ghostly phenomenon that occurs here includes:

Summary of the Haunting

Ghost Tours

Videos about Lalaurie Mansion Ghosts

For More Information

LaLaurie House is a private resident at 1140 Royal Street in New Orleans, Lousiana. In 2007, the house was purchased by actor Nicholas Cage. More recently, the house was sold in a foreclosure auction to a Birmingham Alabama-based Regions Bank.