Kids are crazy fun, aren’t they? They’ve kept me a little busy lately. Actually held this post hostage a day. Can you believe that? Anywho…a new television show has had me thinking about Louisiana and witches, lately. It reminds me of some research I did a while back.
On December 5th of 2011, on an early Immortal Monday post, we explored New Orleans. Briefly mentioned at the time was Madame LaLaurie. I choose to avoid bringing her ugly history to the blog during the cheery Holiday Season. Well, it’s this interesting lady that has recently found a new platform in television and I thought it would be fun to share a little more about her. It’s so terribly fitting in the spirit of Halloween. Mwuahhahhahhahh.
Marie Delphine LaLaurie, often referred to as Madame LaLaurie, was twice widowed and a mother to five. It was during her third marriage, to the physician Leonard Louis Nicolas LaLaurie, that the frightening history was made. Madame LaLaurie, herself, bought the property at 1140 Royal Street in New Orleans and built a three-story mansion there. Upon its completion it was described as “the highest building for squares around.”
The land was purchased in 1831, the home completed in 1832, and in 1834 a fire broke out in the kitchen of the magnificent home. When the fire marshals and police arrived they were shocked to find the cook, a seventy-year-old woman, chained to the stove by her ankle. She later told the officials she started the fire in an admitted suicide, fearful of being taken to the upper room. No one ever returned from that room. Officials would have to break down the door to gain access to the room-against the LaLaurie family’s wishes. Horrors of tortured slaves would be found. Remains where later found buried on or in the premises.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit the haunted city on two separate occasions. Ghosts of the past can be found everywhere you turn in New Orleans. Few places have more of them than the LaLaurie home. It’s one of the many stops along the haunted history tour I took both times.
The LaLaurie family lived a dual life, walking among socialites, where they managed to maintain a central position, and committing atrocities upon their slaves-human beings-behind the closed doors of their own home.
It’s very possible that Leonard LaLaurie was experimenting within his profession. Maybe it was something more. This season American Horror Story brings Madame LaLourie’s character to the small screen with their new storyline: Coven. If you’re familiar with the style of A.H.S. then you can look forward to something new this time around, a bit of camp mixed in with the dark. Mmm…delicious.
I realize that only one episode has aired so far, but squirming with excitement! Damn it was good! I thoroughly enjoy how they’re pulling together the rich backdrop and history of Louisiana and Mississippi and mixing it up with a devilish twist of folklore regarding Madame LaLaurie, while using a coven of young witches who don’t have a clue who they really are or what they’re capable of to tell the story. If you’re a supernatural/paranormal lover, then maybe you should be watching.
As for the LaLaurie home, tours inside the property (as seen in the first episode) were not possible either time I visited the city as it was a privately owned residence then. I can’t find anything that leads me to believe the status has changed. Nicolas Cage actually owned it from 2007 to 2009 when it was auctioned due to bank foreclosure. The property was valued at $3.5 million at the time, yet only sold for $2.3. Do you think all the ghosts brought the value down? Poor Nick had such a rough time.
I’m anxious to return to the area very soon as one of my current projects is set nearby. There’s nothing like a little visit for the sake of a project… immersing yourself in the research. It can only make the story all the better.
Do you think I should hunt down some ghosts while I’m in the area? Would you visit the dark streets of the French Quarter or the cemeteries at night?