Famous New Orleans Haunts – The Lalaurie Mansion
It still stands today at 1140 Royal st. in New Orleans. The Lalaurie mansion was constructed in 1832 by Doctor Louis Lalaurie and his wife Delphine. Though the three story improvement is nothing spectacular from street view, the interior was designed to impress the most upper-crust of the elite that the Crescent city had to offer.
No expense was spared by the Lalaurie’s; skilled craftsmen labored mercilessly to hand carve faces and flora into the imported mahogany doors. The decor of the interior would be accented by only the finest of Oriental silks and the most sought after art in the area.
The Lalaurie’s decadent lifestyle soon accelerated them into the height of New Orleans’ social circles. Soon, the newest of the elite would begin hosting their own lavish dinner parties; only those within their newly found society would be found on the guest lists. Delighted by the Lalaurie’s elaborate events, their guests became quickly blinded by the fact that there were still slaves within the household. The upper-elite were a civilized brood, however, because of the Lalaurie’s new found status within their community, the slaves would be overlooked by them. Delphine’s new peers saw her as a beautiful and intelligent woman, but there had been rumors of some odd happenings amongst her slaves. There had been a previous occurrence where a young female slave had leaped from the roof to her death. The rumor was that the young girl had been brushing Ms. Lalaurie’s hair and hit a snag. A neighbor reported seeing Madame Lalaurie chasing the girl down the hall from his window. He reported that Delphine was swinging a whip after her.
The rumors would all come to an end suddenly, but the truth behind them would be difficult for the New Orleans socialites to bear.
On April 10th 1834 a fire broke out at the Lalaurie Mansion. The Fire Crews responded immediately as the Lalaurie’s were well known and respected members of the community. The flames were quickly doused and the home experienced only minimal damages. It was after the smoke cleared that the most gruesome of discoveries would rock New Orleans.
Members of the Fire Crew carefully made their way through the home, inspecting for any signs of damage that would render the structure unsound. All was well until the Crew reached the attic.
The walls were lined with slaves, chained in place. Some were alive, some had been dead for quite some time. Upon closer examination, the Crew was exposed to atrocities that no man should ever have to endure. Some of the slaves were found with their lips sewn shut, others were found hanging from their wrists with their own intestines tied neatly around their torso. Others had been experimented on by breaking and resetting bones in their legs and arms; they were said to resemble crabs. Some had odd limbs stitched onto their bodies, the spare limbs lay scattered about on the attic floor amongst them.
The slaves had endured the most evil of tortures at the hands of Madame Lalaurie. It was in fact rumored to be a slave that had started the fire in a failed suicide attempt; she was found permanently chained to the kitchen stove.
After having combed the house and grounds thoroughly for remains, with the addition to accounts of missing slaves, it is said that Delphine Lalaurie took somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 lives.
As you could imagine, there are likely many angry spirits that haunt the Lalaurie mansion. Many occurrences have been reported in both the house and about the grounds. Guests have reported being touched, seeing orbs and shadow people, hearing voices and screams. EVPs have been recorded on site along with cold spots and apparitions.