The Cruel Life of Madam LaLaurie

If you’re an American Horror Story fan, then you’ve probably heard of Madame LaLaurie. Lalaurie was portrayed by Kathy Bates in the the third season of American Horror Story: Coven. Infamous for cruel and unusual treatment of her slaves. This socialite has gone down in history as a terrifying serial killer.


Photo: Wikipedia

Marie Delphine Macarty was born to parents Louis Barthelemy and Maire Jeanne Macarty. The exact date of Delphine’s birth is unclear, but she was born between the years 1775 and 1780.

Marie Delphine married her first husband, Don Ramón de Lopez y Angulo on June 11th, 1800. Don Ramón was a highly ranked Royal Officer for the Spanish army. The couple traveled to Spain a few years after they were married. Unfortunately, on their way to Madrid, Ramón died in Havana. In addition to her husband dying, Delphine gave birth to her first daughter on their trip to Madrid. The widow took her new born baby and made her way back home to New Orleans.

It wasn’t long before Delphine married again. In June 1808 Delphine was married to Jean Blanque in New Orleans. Jean was a man of many trades, he worked as a banker, lawyer, and a legislator. The couple had four children together in their new home that was known as the Villa Blanque. Unfortunately, Delphine’s second marriage didn’t last long, Blanque died in 1816.

After Jean’s death, Delphine found herself a new husband. Delphine married Leonard Louis Nicolas LaLaurie on June 25th, 1825. The couple purchased a home at 1140 Royal Street. Madam LaLaurie gradually began to build a three story mansion with a separate living quarters for slaves.

The LaLaurie mansion became famous as the site of Delphine’s horrible exploits. Many people have given a wide range of accounts about Madam LaLaurie and her treatment of her slaves. Some people have said that LaLaurie was polite to her slaves when she was in public. Others have claimed that her slaves were generally haggard and exhausted most of the time. Despite these mixed accounts, many people within the New Orleans community believed LaLaurie to be exceptionally cruel to slaves. Many rumors floated around the community, one in particular came from LaLaurie’s neighbor. The neighbor saw a young slave fall from the mansions roof and die. Supposedly the young girl was attempting to avoid punishment from Delphine. This incident led LaLaurie to be fully investigated by authorities. The family was found guilty of their crime and were forced to give up nine of their slaves. LaLaurie gave up her slaves, but they were later bought back by one of the LaLaurie’s relatives.

One fateful day, the LaLaurie mansion caught on fire. When the fire was finally put out, authorities found out that the fire was started by the LaLaurie’s cook. The cook was a seventy year old woman, who confessed that she started the fire to commit suicide in order to avoid a punishment from Madam LaLaurie herself. In an attempt to completely evacuate the LaLaurie mansion, authorities were forced to break down the doors of the LaLaurie’s slave quarters. After doing so, they discovered seven slaves that had been tortured and mutilated by Madam LaLaurie. The slaves claimed that they had been locked up for months.

Once the locals found out about Madam LaLaurie’s disturbing secret, she was run out of town. A mob attacked the family’s residence and began to destroy the LaLaurie home. After the fire, Madam LaLaurie’s life remains quite the mystery. There are no records of any kind of activity from Madam LaLaurie after the incident. Historians believe that LaLaurie fled to Paris. Her death also remains unclear to many, some believe that she died in a boar-hunting accident in France. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that someone came across Madame LaLaurie’s supposed grave site. Located in the St. Louis Cemetery #1, the plate states that Madame LaLaurie died in Paris on December 7th 1849.

Madam LaLaurie’s disgusting exploits remain central within Louisiana folklore. LaLaurie has been featured in many modern retellings of Louisiana history and even some ghost stories.