New Orleans’ House of Murder and Witch Covens

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.

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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.”

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1140 Royal Street as it looks today. Image via Wikipedia.

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?

~oOo~

Thanks for stopping by! I truly appreciate your support. Until next time, au revoir.

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20 thoughts on “New Orleans’ House of Murder and Witch Covens

    1. Debra Post author

      One of the walking tours by night, right? Did you have the one with the guy who pretends he’s a vampire? I love that guy. I made sure to get him both times. :D

      Reply
    1. Debra Post author

      There are so many to chose from. It’s a popular thing to do there. Wouldn’t it be fun to have us all meet up there a some point? It would be a blast!

      Reply
  1. Diana Beebe

    I took a walking tour of New Orleans. It was an evening tour through the French Quarter. It was more historical than supernatural so I didn’t hear that story or many ghost stories at all. It was spooky enough.

    Research is a great reason for a trip! :-)

    Reply
    1. Debra Post author

      There are plenty of historical tours as well as the supernatural. The location isn’t short on either. Wasn’t it a wonderful trip? Research is a fantastic reason to travel, as you know. ;)

      Reply
  2. susielindau

    There is a second episode of AHS that aired after the first. I had no idea until a commenter informed me. It will be repeated on Thursday before the new episode. How cool that the story is based in truth. Have fun and definitely check it out!

    Reply
    1. Debra Post author

      What?!?!?! Why didn’t my DVR record it? Not cool. I will be looking for that episode, that’s for sure. Thanks, Susie. Are you watching?

      Reply
    1. Debra Post author

      They really are something. I understand why they do it. Can you imagine what it must have been like for the first settlers when they buried their dead and the bodies floated back up to the surface? *shivers* The cities of the dead are fascinating. I haven’t taken the time to properly walk through them. I’d like to do that next time I visit.

      You must have some rich memories from your time in New Orleans. It’s a very unique environment. I haven’t moved very far from where I started.

      Reply
  3. Emma Meade

    You had me at the title! Dear Lord, that New Orleans post in 2011 was how I first came across your good self. It’s scary how fast time goes by.
    The LaLaurie family was evil. I’ll definitely be giving the new series of American Horror Story a go. I can’t pass up anything about witches or New Orleans, hence why I’m so excited to watch The Originals.
    Next time you’re in New Orleans, go on a ghost tour and let us know how you get on x.

    Reply
    1. Debra Post author

      Isn’t it amazing how time flies? I’m so glad you found me. I was such a newbie. Still finding my way. I tend to struggle a bit from time to time even now. I also am enjoying The Originals. I wonder how much of that is really filmed there verses a set, though.

      AND…it’s official! I will be there sometime in the middle of next year. Timeshare ownership is a fantastic thing. I may look for the same vampire who hosted the last two ghost tours I took through the French Quarter at night. It was a creepy good time. Now I own a good camera. I’ll have to learn how to take pictures at night.

      Reply
  4. shannon esposito

    Holy crap, Debora, if you’re going to go there researching ghosts and staying at these places, let me know! Seriously, I will meet you there. Fascinating! And Nick Cage is one of my favorite peeps of all time. He gets such a bad rap.

    Reply
    1. Debra Post author

      Are you close, Shannon? I am going mid 2014. I didn’t plan my stay around the actual haunted hotels, though. :( I went the economical route and booked with my timeshare. I’m all about saving money where I can. If you want to do a spooky tour or whatever, you should totally meet up with us.

      Reply
  5. Tiffany A. White

    I LOVE this kind of stuff!! I’ve been to New Orleans once and I can’t wait to go back. I’d love to do one of the midnight haunted cemetery tours, but my last trip there, I had to settle for visiting St. Louis Cemetery #2 during the daylight… my guy’s not big on the whole haunted thing. LOL

    Reply
    1. Debra Post author

      Hey, at least you got to see tour one of the cemeteries. That’s cool. Plus you’re able to see more detail and get better pictures by day. :) My guy’s not into the whole haunted thing that much, either. I did get him to walk the haunted French Quarter tour, though. I’m sure the history had a lot to do with it, since he’s a huge fan.

      Reply
  6. Jess Witkins

    I took several walking tours while visiting New Orleans. But the swamp tour may have been my fave. The haunted tours really are freaky. Did you go inside the haunted bar?

    I think the LaLaurie story is one of the scariest I’ve heard. There’s no way the experiments he was doing were just in the name of science. There were disgusting and cruel.

    The French Quarter is such a cool place to visit. But I’d be freaked out to wander too far at night. LOL

    Reply
    1. Debra Post author

      It’s not a proper visit without a swamp tour, is it? Did your guide have a baby gator along for the ride, too? Which haunted bar are you referring to? Both times I was there our tour started at the oldest standing building in all of New Orleans, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. It is now a bar. At least, the guide told us it was the oldest building. I haven’t verified that fact. The first time I went I was fresh out of college and made the trip with several of my college friends. We hit a lot of bars, but we weren’t necessarily looking for anything spooky while we were there. LOL.

      When you wander at night you go in a group. Like they say, safety in numbers. When traveling with those haunted tours by night you get to hear all kinds of insane stories guaranteed to make your skin crawl.

      Reply
    1. Debra Post author

      I’m pretty sure there will be a post when the time comes. The area is rich with material. Thanks for stopping by, Lisa.

      Reply

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