LaLaurie Mansion – New Orleans, Louisiana - Atlas Obscura

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LaLaurie Mansion

This symbolic piece of New Orleans architecture is also home to a few ghastly stories.  


A classic New Orleans structure, the LaLaurie Mansion comes complete with its own dark legend.

The LaLaurie mansion is an unmistakable piece of New Orleans’s history with its baroque facade, wrought-iron balconies, and rectangular floor plan. The grandiose structure is located on Royal Street in the French Quarter. Marie Delphine MacCarthy Blanque LaLaurie purchased the property and constructed a three-story mansion in 1832. The house quickly gained a reputation as one of the grandest homes in the city’s French Quarter.

Madame LaLaurie had a reputation for being especially cruel to the people she enslaved. There were frequent rumors swirling around New Orleans about her horrifying treatment of enslaved people, which extended to torture and murder. 

In 1834, a fire broke out at the mansion. When area residents rushed to the scene to help, they resorted to breaking down the doors to the slave quarters after LaLaurie refused to provide the key. They found seven enslaved people locked inside whose bodies had been mutilated. Other rumors said that dead bodies were also found in the attic, their corpses mutilated beyond recognition. When news of the discovery spread around the community, a mob descended on the mansion.

Realizing she was no longer welcomed in New Orleans, LaLaurie fled to Alabama, then onto Paris to live out the rest of her life. The LaLaurie Mansion still stands on the corner of Royal and Governor Nicholls streets and is a highlight of many New Orleans ghost tours due to its macabre and tragic history.

In the 1990s, managers of the property brought in Parapsychologist Christopher Chacon who conducted a several-months-long scientific assessment of the countless reported strange and disturbing phenomena that were occurring on the property.

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January 28, 2013

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