The LaLaurie Mansion: The Chilling Story Behind NOLA’s Most Haunted House
Why Is the LaLaurie House One of the Most Haunted Places in New Orleans?
It’s the story of what went on within the walls of the LaLaurie House that gives it its chilling reputation. In 1832, Madame Delphine MacCarthy Lalaurie and her third husband, Dr. Leonard Louis Nicolas LaLaurie, moved into the mansion.
A Fire Reveals Unspeakable Horrors
The couple was known for throwing lavish parties. It was during one of these parties, in 1834, when ghastly discoveries led to the legends and tales we hear today. The story goes that a slave set fire to the home in hopes of rescue. When firefighters entered the home to extinguish the flames, they uncovered unspeakable horrors in the attic.
Madame LaLaurie already had a reputation for mistreating her slaves. However, what rescuers found in the attic that night revealed outright torture and mutilation of at least seven people. Stories mentioned horrific details of how LaLaurie performed twisted experiments on her slaves, severed limbs, and kept them in cages.
People were so enraged, that they gathered to ransack and burn the mansion, while Madame LaLaurie and her husband fled to Paris. It’s thought that Madame LaLaurie died in Paris, but her body was secretly returned to New Orleans and currently rests at St. Louis Cemetery, but this hasn’t been proven.
A Thin (or Thick) Line Between Fact and Fiction?
As decades passed, the stories of what transpired at The LaLaurie Mansion have grown more gruesome. There is a cloudy line between what really happened and what was elaborated to sell tours and trinkets.
Many historians believe the stories of mistreatment were greatly exaggerated. In truth, we may never know what exactly happened within the walls of The LaLaurie House. Then again, we may not want to know.
Where Is the LaLaurie Mansion?
You’ll find the LaLaurie Mansion towering above surrounding homes and buildings on the edge of the French Quarter, at 1140 Royal Street. It stands on the corner of Royal and Governor Nicholls, one block away from world-famous Bourbon Street.
The mansion is two doors down from the Gallier House Museum and only a few minutes from another ghostly legend, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. It’s a frequent stop of many local walking tours focusing on the city’s haunted legends and mysterious past.
Can You Visit the LaLaurie Mansion?
Today, at best, you’ll be able to snag a quick pic of the mansion’s exterior. Since it’s now a private residence, you can only see The LaLaurie Mansion from the street. Many people have owned and lived in the LaLaurie Mansion since its reconstruction in the 19th century.
Stories claim that anyone who’s lived in the home has experienced tragedy after moving out. One notable figure is actor Nichols Cage, who lived in the home for a short period before declaring bankruptcy and sending the home into foreclosure.
Currently, the home is owned by a Texas businessman and unavailable for public visits or tours.