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Madam Lalaurie's Mansion –
Haunted Place: Madam Lalaurie's
(Warning - This story isn't for the
sensitive, but must be told. The actions of one woman put a stop to
a horrid situation. One person can make a difference.)
1140 Royal Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
The outside of this three-story, 40 room
mansion is very plain, except for the delicate lace ironwork
around the second floor balcony, and the first-floor arched windows.
The inside of the mansion was excessively and lavishly decorated
with only the best of the very best. The portico near the entrance had marble floors and gold
gilded mirrors. The mahogany doors of the parlors and dining rooms
had hand-carved panels of flowers and cherubs' faces. Crystal
chandeliers lit the rooms with hundreds of candles.
Tall stone fireplaces were in every
room. Satin and velvet hung from the walls, and guests ate off of
the finest china.
Louis and Delphine Lalaurie bought this
huge, elegant 40 room mansion from Mr. Soniatdu Fossat, on August
13, 1831. High society of New Orleans were happy to have such a
grand place to hold their gala balls and social events. While
Delphine Lalaurie was a marvelous hostess, and knew how to
entertain, she also was proven to be an evil, cruel, sadistic
psychopath when it came to the treatment of her slaves. She had to
flee New Orleans in 1834 when fire fighters discovered how she had
tortured, maimed, and killed many of her slaves in slow and
agonizing ways in the garret
apartment, the attic and other places throughout the mansion,
thoroughly enjoying the sadistic cruelty of her actions.
Thanks to the brave actions of the house
cook, who started a fire in the kitchen while she was chained to
the kitchen floor, all this barbarity was stopped. Firefighters
rescued some of the victims who were still alive in the torture
chambers, which in turn brought to light Delphine Lalaurie's
secret, sick passion. The cook was the one who pleaded with the
firemen to go to the garret apartment to see for themselves how
Lalaurie had cut off her victims' body parts, cut open other areas
of human bodies and pulled things out, removed smaller parts,
sewing eyes and mouths shut, etc. Years later, when workmen were
remodeling the interior, they found the skeletons of other
victims dumped in holes under sections of the mansion's floor, so
she wouldn't have to answer for their demise.
The mansion was sold in 1837, but people
didn't stay there long because of all the ghostly hauntings. An
eccentric, Jules Vignie, wasn't bothered by it at all and lived
there in the 1880s and 90s. Around the turn-of-the-century, the
mansion was turned into apartments for Italian immigrants. The
owners had a hard time keeping renters. Finally, in the 20th
century, the mansion was renovated to its former splendor and is a
favorite place for touring visitors.
Throughout the years, many incidents have
* Tortured screams and groans have been
heard from the attic.
* A servant sleeping in the barn awoke to
find a pale, black-haired woman choking him. A black apparition
took the woman's hands off his throat, and they both vanished, to
the astonishment and relief of the servant.
* A large black man wrapped in chains on
the main stairs confronted an Italian tenant, but disappeared on
the last step.
* Sounds of an invisible chain
dragged down the staircase have been reported.
* Shrouded figures have been seen flailing at the living with
* Terribly maimed, translucent
apparitions have haunted the living, showing them the scars of
their torturous ordeals.
* A young Italian mother found the apparition of a wealthy white
woman – later identified as Delphine Lalaurie herself – bending over her sleeping baby.
* Throughout the years neighbors have reported the mansion's windows opening and closing
by themselves, and the front door opening by itself.
* Some passing by at night
have seen the reenactment of the young slave girl jumping off the
roof to her death to escape the crazed mistress and her merciless
whip. The girl had escaped from her chains and run onto the roof,
with Lalaurie not far behind. The slave girl's dying screams are chilling to
all who hear them now, as they must have been to the neighbor who saw
the original incident in 1833 and reported it to police. This
event was the first of many that began to show outsiders what was going on in
* The heart-breaking cries of
a little slave girl have been heard near the cherub fountain in the