Reliable information about Delphine LaLaurie is not so easy to find as she is one of the most mysterious figures in history. It is known that Delphine LaLaurie was born around 1775. Her family belonged to the upper strata of New Orleans society, so from childhood she was used to a luxurious life 0f balls and receptions. Delphine’s parents died during the slave uprising in Haiti, which, perhaps, caused her hatred of black slaves.
Madame Delphine LaLaurie - a rich socialite turned out to be also ruthless racist, tormenting black slaves. She was extraordinarily cruel to her slaves, however exactly what occurred is still disputed. So let us discover some interesting facts about this mystic personage that will definitely shock you.
10 Hospitable Mistress Or Cruel Slave Owner?
At first, the LaLaurie family became famous in the city thanks to the magnificent receptions that Delphine organized. All the rich and famous were her expected guests, she was friends with politicians, writers, lawyers, and her neighbors considered her well-educated and well-read.
However, soon the flawless image of Madame Lalaurie began to crumble: the neighbors began to notice that her servants looked frazzled and exhausted. Writer Harriet Martino, claimed that Delphine’s neighbors witnessed the suicide of one of her handmaids: Madame LaLaurie chased her with a whip and the girl preferred to jump from the third floor than to fall into the hands of the angry mistress. The reason for this chase was that she accidentally pulled a tangle while brushing Madame’s hair.
9 Suspicions of Neighbors and Madame LaLaurie’s Tricks
Worried neighbors told police, and police were sent to the LaLaurie mansion. After the investigation, the court ordered Delphine to pay a small fine (the judge was a friend of the LaLaurie family), and also ordered the sale of all slaves at an auction. However, the enterprising madame was not ready to part with her "property" and persuaded her friends to buy back the slaves and sell them back to her.
Rumors began to gradually subside, but after the incident with the young maid, the attitude of the townspeople towards Delphine changed - many guests no longer accepted invitations to social receptions in her house.
8 Big Punishments for Small Sins
The situation was aggravated by the fact that servants often disappeared from the LaLaurie house, and the owners never wrote statements about the loss. The townspeople began to whisper that the mistress had created a torture chamber in the attic of the house, where black servants went for the slightest misconduct and never returned from there.
Rumors about slaves going missing spread throughout New Orleans society, more so amongst other domestic workers. This version also fit the tragedy that occurred with the young maid, who threw herself off of the balcony, who, apparently, was terribly afraid to go to the attic, which meant one thing - painful torture and death.
7 Fire in a Damned House
In 1834, a fire broke out in the LaLaurie house. As it turned out, it was set by Delphine’s cook, who was found chained to the stove, to draw attention to the horrors that were happening in the house. The unfortunate woman decided on this desperate step, despite the real risk of death.
While fighting the flames firefighters and neighbors wanted to check the servants quarters to make sure that everyone was safe from the fire. However, the LaLaurie couple unexpectedly refused to produce the keys to the building, and they were forced to break down the door. Delphine’s husband said it’s better for some people to stay at home rather than stick their nose in the privacy of others.
6 So, What Did Outsiders Find?
According to one version, neighbors and firefighters found seven chained, crippled and emaciated servants of Madame LaLaurie. In addition, neighbors who decided to inspect Delphine's attic found a room specially equipped for torture and experiments, where the bodies of her black slaves mutilated by experiments were located.
The story was surrounded by terrible details - people said that they saw with their own eyes the gutted bodies of the victims, beaten, bruised, and bloodied, seized internal organs and cut off limbs that were stored in the attic, as well as the corpses of slaves over whom monstrous medical experiments were made. Witnesses also claimed that instruments of torture were found in the room: collars with spikes, squeezing the victim’s neck, shackles, and chains.
5 Panic in the City and the Escape of Madame LaLaurie
The city was plunged into chaos and panic - newspapers published all the new details of Delphine’s terrible atrocities, and the inhabitants of the city, struck by the cruelty of the woman, decided to attack the mansion and bring justice to Delphine and her husband. Although, Delphin and her family managed to escape, the house was destroyed.
According to one version, she and her husband settled in Paris, where she is said to have died in a hunting accident. According to another, Delphine changed her name, made other documents and moved back to Louisiana. One way or another, her trail here ended, and the world will never know the truth about where the New Orleans Devil spent the rest of her life.
4 Was it All True, Or is it just a Bright Fantasy of Local People?
Many researchers believe that the atrocities committed by Delphine are exaggerated by the frightened citizens, but the fact that she hid suggests the opposite. The fact is that the wealthy Madame LaLaurie, was friends with many respected people of the city. There were rules for the maintenance of servants, but in the high society of America, authorities often turned a blind eye to violations.
However, in the event that victims of torture and experiments were actually found in the Delphine’s house, it would obviously not have been possible to get away with a fine, even if there were such extensive connections as LaLaurie had.
3 Bad house
The address where Delphine LaLaurie lived still stands on Royal Street in New Orleans. After the tragic events of the 1830s, the property was purchased and the mansion was rebuilt by another owner and has been added onto over the years. It has been a music conservatory, a school, apartments, a bar, a young delinquents refuge, a furniture store, and then luxury apartments. A third floor and rear building were added in subsequent decades. It is felt that none of the owners could live there for long - the owners complained about discomfort and a heavy energy in the place. Even the actor Nicholas Cage owned this “damned” house, but he soon hastened to sell it.
2 Attraction for Tourists
According to rumors, those who have been in the house of horrors hear the moans and cries of the dead slaves in it, but this is most likely just bait for tourists. Currently, the LaLaurie mansion is owned by a private party and is not open for tours. However, there are plenty of tours that will take you to the building and recount the horrific story of Madame LaLaurie.
Tourists are happy to visit the cursed house, hoping to tickle their nerves with stories of a terrible slave owner from New Orleans. Although it is not the original home, stories of ghosts and restless spirits continue to ‘haunt’ the location.
1 The Image of Madame LaLaurie in Popular Culture
The legends of Madame LaLaurie’s history are still attracting people - in 2013, the story of a brutal slave-owner formed the basis of the plot of the third season of the series American Horror Story. The creators of the series preferred to mix facts and fiction, eventually getting the most frightening and bloody film adaptation of the events of the 1830s. The role of Delphine LaLaurie went to actress Katie Bates, and the season received rave reviews from the audience.
Also, the cinematic Madame LaLaurie mocked not only her slaves, but her own daughters who were also tortured and punished, which made a big impression on the fans of the series and it created an interest towards one of the most violent women in the United States.