Madame Lalaurie House

Jan 29th, 2014 | By | Category: Most Haunted Places

In the French Quarter in New Orléans stands the Madame Lalaurie house. Described as everything from a socialite to a serial killer, history accuses Madame Delphine Lalaurie of unthinkable atrocities and brutality. Since 1831 the home has seen a lot of transformation including being owned at one point by Nicolas Cage. It is the early history however makes it one the most haunted places in New Orléans.

In 1831, Dr. Louis Lalaurie and his wife, Delphine moved into the mansion at 1140 Royal Street in New Orléans. They were extremely wealthy and were famous for their social parties. Madame Lalaurie handled the family’s business affairs and became a very influential woman within the city.

People who meet Madame Lalaurie would describe her as a beautiful and intelligent woman. She was known to captivate your attention when talking with her and was very skilled in the art of socialization. That was the side seen by people from the outside looking in. History paints another side of Delphine Lalaurie, a dark side that described as brutal, calculating and maybe even insane.

Neighbors began to wonder about the high turnover of slaves at the Madame Lalaurie house and rumors began to spread. Then in 1833, a witness see’s Madame Lalaurie whipping a young child of a slave when the girl breaks away and runs out on the balcony with Delphine giving chase. The child slips and falls to her death and they secretly buried her at night in the rear of the courtyard in an old well.

New Orléans had a law prohibiting the cruel treatment of slaves and an investigation followed. They took away all the Lalaurie slaves and resold them at auction. Unfortunately for the slaves involved, Delphine convinced her relatives to buy the slaves and sell them back to the Madame Lalaurie house.

In 1834, the truth comes to light during one of the Lalaurie’s grand social event. A fire breaks out in the home and in true Madame Lalaurie form, she just moves the party to the street. As firefighters fight the fire, the horror within unveils. Rescuers find a slave chained to the kitchen stove, begging that they let her die. Some claim she started the fire to begin with. That was just the beginning.

After being refused the keys to the attic and after hearing people inside firefighters discover the indescribable. Slaves locked in cages made for dogs and chained to the wall. They found some tied to tables made into what looked like operating tables and body parts scattered about. From a 1834 article in The New Orléans Bee:

Seven slaves more or less horribly mutilated were seen suspended by the neck, with their limbs apparently stretched and torn from one extremity to the other. Language is powerless and inadequate to give a proper conception 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.

Madame Lalaurie Headstone

Moments before neighbors stormed and destroyed the home, Madame Lalaurie escaped in a carriage and was reported to have went to Paris. There are rumors she never left New Orléans but she dies in 1842 and is buried in an unknown location. In 1941 a man discovered a grave marker plate with Delphine Lalaurie’s name on it in St. Louis Cemetery #1, Alley 4. The marker however was not attached to a specific tomb, it is still a mystery of where Madame Lalaurie is buried.

Since that time the house has served as many things, apartment buildings, private residences, furniture store, bar and even a “conservatory of music and a fashionable dancing school”. All have reported paranormal activity within the house.

The Madame Lalaurie house stood vacant for years after she left, the house slowing decaying. Many though claim that the house was never truly vacant. Screams were heard coming from the empty house at night and apparitions of slaves walking around the yard and on the balcony. A man bought the house in 1837 but only lived in it 3 months he claimed he constantly heard groans, crying and strange noises. He tried leasing the rooms as well but no one would stay for any length of time and the house was again abandoned.

This is a story printed in The New Orléans States Item April 18, 1920:

Mrs. Palmen, who with her husband and daughter occupies the former dining room said: “About three years ago my daughter used to see a man on the balcony every night about twelve o’clock. One night she pretended she was asleep and when the man came said: ‘Come on I’m ready for you but there was no answer and when they went to chase the man, he vanished into thin air. It was no thief either, for why would a thief come every night, just at midnight.”

Over the years, many businesses have come and gone with not a lot of success. Each time paranormal activity was the reason given for the failures. Today the renovated Madame Lalaurie house are luxury apartments.

2 Comments to “Madame Lalaurie House”

  1. Magpie says:

    Nicholas Cage owned the house for a while