Delphine LaLaurie. Madame Delphine LaLaurie, a wealthy woman of New Orleans, is most famous for the torture and murder of her slaves. LaLaurie was born around 1775 after her family moved from Ireland to New Orleans. She married in 1800 to a Spanish officer and in 1804 they went to Spain. LaLaurie gave birth to a daughter, Marie, en-route.
Delphine LaLaurie. Marie Delphine Macarty or MacCarthy (March 19, 1787 – December 7, 1849), more commonly known as Madame Blanque or, after her third marriage, as Madame LaLaurie, was a New Orleans socialite and serial killer who tortured and murdered slaves in her household. Born during the Spanish colonial period, LaLaurie married three ...
- Early Years
- Crimes and Accusations
- The Lalaurie Mansion
Born Marie Delphine Macarty in March 1787, young Delphine grew up fairly privileged. Her parents, Louis Barthelemy Macarty and Marie-Jeanne L'Érable, were prominent European Creoles, high up in New Orleans' society. Delphine's uncle was the governor of two Spanish-American provinces when she was born; later, a cousin would become mayor of the city of New Orleans. At the time of Delphine's childhood, New Orleans and much of the rest of Louisiana were under Spanish control, from 1763 to 1801. In 1800 she married her first husband, Don Ramón de Lopez y Angulo, who was a highly ranked officer in Spain's royal army. As was common for people in their position, they traveled to Spain and its other territories, but Don Ramón fell ill within a few years and died in Havana, leaving Delphine a young widow with a baby. In 1808, she married again, this time to a banker named Jean Blanque. Delphine had four children with Blanque, but he too died young, and she was a widow again in 1816. Delphine...
There are numerous and varied accounts of Delphine LaLaurie's treatment of her enslaved people. What is for certain is that she and her husband did own a number of men and women as property. Although some contemporaries say she never mistreated them in public, and in general was civil to African Americans, it seems as though Delphine had a dark secret. In the early 1830s, rumors began to make their way through the French Quarter, alleging that Delphine—and possibly her husband as well—were mistreating their enslaved people. While it was common, and legal, for enslavers to physically discipline the men and women they owned, there were certain guidelines laid out to discourage excessive physical cruelty. Laws were in place to maintain a certain standard of upkeep for enslaved peoples, but on at least two occasions, court representatives went to the LaLaurie home with reminders. British social theorist Harriet Martineau was a contemporary of Delphine's and wrote in 1836 of Delphine's s...
In 1834, a fire broke out at the LaLaurie mansion. It began in the kitchen, and when authorities arrived on the scene, they found a 70-year-old Black woman chained to the stove. That's when the truth about Delphine's atrocities came out. The cook told the fire marshal that she had set the fire in order to commit suicide, because Delphine kept her chained up all day, and punished her for the slightest infraction. In the process of extinguishing the fire and evacuating the house, bystanders broke down the doors to the LaLaurie quarters for enslaved people and found seven more enslaved people chained to walls, horribly mutilated and tortured. They told investigators they had been there for months. The next day, the New Orleans Bee wrote, Martineau's account, written in 1838, indicates that the enslaved people had been flayed, and wore spiked iron collars to prevent movement of the head. When questioned, Delphine's husband told investigators that they needed to just mind their own busin..."The Conflagration at the House Occupied by the Woman Lalaurie." New Orleans Bee, 11 Apr. 1834, nobee.jefferson.lib.la.us/Vol-009/04_1834/1834_04_0034.pdf.Harriet Martineau. Retrospect of Western Travel, Volume 2. lf-oll.s3.amazonaws.com/titles/1701/Martineau_0877.03_EBk_v6.0.pdf.Nola.Com. “Epitaph-Plate of 'Haunted House' Owner Found Here (The Times-Picayune, 1941).” Nola.com, Nola.com, 26 Sept. 2000, www.nola.com/haunted/2000/09/epitaph-plate_of_haunted_house.html.
- Patti Wigington
- Plot summary
- Powers and abilities
- Other versions
- Cultural references
Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie was a high-society Creole socialite in 1830s New Orleans. Her love of hosting elegant parties is matched only by her taste for the gruesome torture of her black slaves.
Driven by her insecurities and catalyzed by her husband's indiscretions with young women, including their own slaves, Delphine creates a nightmarish beauty balm derived from fresh human pancreases that she removed from her slaves. New Orleans Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau takes her vengeance on Madame Delphine for the torture inflicted on her lover, one of Delphine's slave victims, Bastien, that the socialite had tortured and dressed up to look like the Minotaur, one of her favorite characters from Greek mythology. She presents Madame Delphine with a false love potion, whose actual effects are much more sinister. LaLaurie's fate is revealed as one worse than death, and one that has not yet ended. Delphine wakes up from the effects of the 'love potion' to find her husband and daughters hanging from the balcony of her home. Marie Laveau has Delphine buried alive in an unmarked grave in the front yard, but not before revealing that the 'love potion' has actually granted Delphine the curse of immortality.
Losing her family and being buried for centuries has drained LaLaurie of her will to live, as is made apparent when she asks Fiona Goode to use her powers to end her torture and let her die. She has shown herself to be stubborn on several occasions. She has also shown herself to have a deep fascination with the human anatomy, and how it functions at the expense of her slaves. LaLaurie considers this to be a hobby for her.
LaLaurie is arrogant and narcissistic, obsessing over her appearance, not unlike Fiona and believing herself to be a genius and a visionary while belittling others around her, even her own daughters. Delphine is a control freak who becomes furious if her will is ever defied but is also completely cowardly, running, hiding or begging for mercy if she was ever threatened with death or pain. Despite her abusive treatment of them, LaLaurie loved her daughters immensely which was probably her only redeeming trait. Deeply sadistic, LaLaurie regularly tortured black slaves because she saw them as worthless and no better than animals. She was extremely racist even by the standards of her time and her barbaric treatment of her black slaves violated the Code Noir which was itself intensely cruel. LaLaurie was not a complete monster, however. In addition to her love for her daughters, she felt remorse for some of her vicious crimes, such as murdering and exsanguinating the baby her husband had with a female slave and using the baby's blood as make-up, driving the deceased infant's mother to suicide in the process. Over time, she came to care deeply for Queenie and feel guilt for her crimes, as well as respect black people as humans. Her racist views returned when she was betrayed to Marie Laveau by Queenie.
She appeared to be a devout Christian and regarded the election of Barack Obama as American President to be a sign that God had forsaken the land, due to the colour of his skin rather than his policies. After the return of her racist views, she maintained a perverse kind of empathy for black people, saying that she pitied them for being fed the lie that they could be equal to whites.
LaLaurie was intelligent, having a knowledge of the human anatomy and an interest in science although she perverted this for evil means. Another sign of her intelligence is that she was a skilled cook, despite usually relying on her servants to prepare food for her in the time she originally lived. She also had a hearty appetite and developed a fondness for fast-food during her time in the modern age.
Years after her burial, Delphine is found and dug up by Fiona Goode, who wants to discover the secret of eternal life. Fiona mocks her, though the two women seem to bond at times. She wants to use Delphine as leverage against Marie Laveau, first keeping Delphine hidden away and tied up in her room, and later turning her into the new maid of the school. Due to Delphine making too much (mental) noise, Nan angrily rushes up the stairs and discovers Delphine in Fiona's room. She unties her but is caught by Queenie. Delphine smashes Queenie's head with a candlestick holder and runs off. Later on, however, Delphine and Queenie begin to form a small bond as Fiona forces her to become Queenie's personal maid as she 'hates racists'. Queenie sacrifices herself when the Minotaur comes after Delphine, luring it out to give Delphine time to hide. Delphine is appreciative of this and thanks Queenie, who still shows a disliking to Delphine because of her racist behavior. Queenie manages to reattach Delphine's severed head and hand, and carries her to Nan's funeral with a leash and collar around her neck. At the academy, she sees an African-American gardener who cut his hand and is reminded of the joys she felt from torturing her slaves in the 1800s. She holds him captive in Spalding's old room, using a pruning shear to cut off the gardener's toes and also disembowels him. Spalding appears before her, saying that he knows of a potion that will remove Marie's immortality and will allow Delphine to murder her, but he will only give it to her if she brings back an ancient doll baby that he desires. Spalding hands over the potion (which turns out to be nothing but Benadryl®). Delphine drugs Marie's drink and when she falls asleep on the bed, Delphine stabs her in the chest. Marie is unaffected and gives chase after Delphine, but she is knocked out by Spalding. Spalding says that he only wanted Marie out of his hair and suggests that Delphine should bury her. Instead, she tortures Marie and hacks her to pieces.
Immortality: This is more of a curse, rather than an ability, but due to a potion of Marie Laveau's tears that she gave Delphine, she suddenly shared Marie's immortal trait and had lived for more than century. Upon Papa Legba revoking Marie's immortality, and therefore Delphine's as well, she was killed by Queenie.
Delphine is later seen in her very torture chamber, being locked away with her daughters. Papa Legba arrives and reveals that she and Marie Laveau are in Hell, where they are to spend eternity. Delphine watches in horror as Marie is forced to burn Borquita with a hot poker.  It is possible that this was not the real Borquita but rather an illusion created by Papa Legba however it is equally possible that it was the real Borquita as innocent people can be consigned to Hell, such as Misty Day.
Several years later, Delphine is still begging for an exhausted Marie's mercy in Hell, asking her to stop torturing her children. She reminds of the time she killed a child but spared his mother from seeing it. Nan walks in and informs Marie that she's being released from Hell due to a deal Cordelia made with him: replacing Marie with Dinah Stevens. Later, this event was reversed by Mallory, who created a new timeline where Cordelia never needed to retrieve Marie.
At one point in life, she jokingly plots with her older half-sister to stage their mother's death, stating that her mother will always scare away a good suitor for Borquita. Having overheard this, Delphine punishes Borquita by locking her in a cage in the attic torture chamber 
When Borquita laments about their mother scaring away a potential suitor who actually thought she was lovely, she and Pauline comfort her, complaining about their mother. When Borquita suggests they kill their mother, Jeanne asks how they should do it, when their mother walks in on them. For that, she is later seen tied to two posts similar to how Bastien was tied up. She tries to explain that they were just joking, but Delphine tells them that her love for their plain faces is why she can still breathe. She is hung later on by the angry mob of black slaves, and is re-animated by Marie Laveau to attack the academy.
- 1 min
- Early life and family
- Later life
- Other characters
- Later years
Marie Delphine LaLaurie (née Macarty or Maccarthy, c. 1775 c. 1842), more commonly known as Madame LaLaurie, was a Louisiana-born socialite, and serial killer known for her involvement in the torture and murder of black slaves.
Born in New Orleans, LaLaurie married three times over the course of her life. She maintained a prominent position in the social circles of New Orleans until April 10, 1834, when rescuers responding to a fire at her Royal Street mansion discovered bound slaves within the house who showed evidence of torture over a long period. LaLaurie's house was subsequently sacked by an outraged mob of New Orleans citizens, and it is thought that she fled to Paris, where she died due to a boar attack during a hunting accident.
Delphine Macarty was born around 1775, one of five children. Her father was Barthelmy Louis Macarty, whose father Barthelmy Macarty brought the family to New Orleans from Ireland around 1730. Her mother was Marie Jeanne Lovable, also known as \\"the widow Lecomte,\\" whose marriage to Barthelmy Louis Macarty was her second. Both were prominent members of the New Orleans white Créole community. Delphine's cousin, Augustin de Macarty, was mayor of New Orleans from 1815 to 1820.
On June 11, 1800, Delphine Macarty married Don Ramon de Lopez y Angullo, a Caballero de la Royal de Carlos (a high ranking Spanish officer), at the Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. By 1804, Don Ramon had risen to the position of consul general for Spain in Louisiana. Also in 1804, Delphine and Don Ramon traveled to Spain. Accounts of the trip differ. Grace King wrote in 1921 that the trip was Don Ramon's \\"military punishment\\", and that Delphine met the Queen, who was impressed by Delphine's beauty. In June 1808, Delphine married Jean Blanque, a prominent banker, merchant, lawyer and legislator. At the time of the marriage, Blanque purchased a house at 409 Royal Street in New Orleans for the family, which became known later as the Villa Blanque. Delphine had four more children by Blanque, named Marie Louise Pauline, Louise Marie Laure, Marie Louise Jeanne, and Jeanne Pierre Paulin Blanque.
During the voyage, Delphine gave birth to a daughter, named Marie Borgia Delphine Lopez y Angulla de la Candelaria, nicknamed \\"Borquita\\". Delphine and her daughter returned to New Orleans afterwards.
Blanque died in 1816. Delphine married her third husband, physician Leonard Louis Nicolas LaLaurie, who was much younger than she, on June 25, 1825. In 1831, she bought property at 1140 Royal Street, which she managed in her own name with little involvement of her husband, and by 1832 had built a three-story mansion there, complete with attached slave quarters. She lived there with her husband and two of her daughters, and maintained a central position in the social circles of New Orleans.
Martineau also recounted other tales of LaLaurie's cruelty that were current among New Orleans residents in about 1836. She claimed that, subsequent to the visit of the local lawyer, one of LaLaurie's neighbors saw one of the LaLaurie's slaves, a twelve-year-old girl named Lia (or Leah), fall to her death from the roof of the Royal Street mansion while trying to avoid punishment from a whip-wielding Delphine LaLaurie. Lia had been brushing Delphine's hair when she hit a snag, causing Delphine to grab a whip and chase her. The body was subsequently buried on the mansion grounds. According to Martineau, this incident led to an investigation of the LaLauries, in which they were found guilty of illegal cruelty and forced to forfeit nine slaves. These nine slaves were then bought back by the LaLauries through the intermediary of one of their relatives, and returned to the Royal Street residences. Similarly, Martineau reported stories that LaLaurie kept her cook chained to the kitchen stove, and beat her daughters when they attempted to feed the slaves.
On April 10, 1834, a fire broke out in the LaLaurie residence on Royal Street, starting in the kitchen. When the police and fire marshals got there, they found a seventy-year-old woman, the cook, chained to the stove by her ankle. She later confessed to them that she had set the fire as a suicide attempt for fear of her punishment, being taken to the uppermost room, because she said \\"Anyone who had been taken there, never came back.\\" As reported in the New Orleans Bee of April 11, 1834, bystanders responding to the fire attempted to enter the slave quarters to ensure that everyone had been evacuated. Upon being refused the keys by the LaLauries, the bystanders broke down the doors to the slave quarters and found \\"seven slaves, more or less horribly mutilated ... suspended by the neck, with their limbs apparently stretched and torn from one extremity to the other\\", who claimed to have been imprisoned there for some months.
One of those who entered the premises was Judge Jean-Francois Canonge, who subsequently deposed to having found in the LaLaurie mansion, among others, a \\"negress ... wearing an iron collar\\" and \\"an old negro woman who had received a very deep wound on her head [who was] too weak to be able to walk\\". Canonge claimed that when he questioned Madame LaLaurie's husband about the slaves, he was told in an insolent manner that \\"some people had better stay at home rather than come to others' houses to dictate laws and meddle with other people's business\\".
A version of this story circulating in 1836, recounted by Martineau, added that the slaves were emaciated, showed signs of being flayed with a whip, were bound in restrictive postures, and wore spiked iron collars which kept their heads in static positions.
When the discovery of the tortured slaves became widely known, a mob of local citizens attacked the LaLaurie residence and \\"demolished and destroyed everything upon which they could lay their hands\\". A sheriff and his officers were required to disperse the crowd and, by the time the mob left, the Royal Street property had sustained major damage, with \\"scarcely any thing [remaining] but the walls\\". The tortured slaves were taken to a local jail, where they were available for public viewing. The New Orleans Bee reported that by April 12 up to 4,000 people had attended to view the tortured slaves \\"to convince themselves of their sufferings\\". The Pittsfield Sun, citing the New Orleans Advertiser and writing several weeks after the evacuation of Lalaurie's slave quarters, claimed that two of the slaves found in the LaLaurie mansion had died since their rescue, and added: \\"We understand ... that in digging the yard, bodies have been disinterred, and the condemned well [in the grounds of the mansion] having been uncovered, others, particularly that of a child, were found.\\" These claims were repeated by Martineau in her 1838 book Retrospect of Western Travel, where she placed the number of unearthed bodies at two, including the child.
The circumstances of Delphine LaLaurie's death are also unclear. George Washington Cable recounted in 1888 a then-popular but unsubstantiated story that LaLaurie had died in France in a boar-hunting accident. Whatever the truth, in the late 1930s, Eugene Backes, who served as sexton to St. Louis Cemetery #1 until 1924, discovered an old cracked, copper plate in Alley 4 of the cemetery. The inscription on the plate read: \\"Madame LaLaurie, née Marie Delphine Macarty, décédée à Paris, le 7 Décembre, 1842, à l'âge de 6--.\\"
Folk histories of LaLaurie's poor treatment of her slaves circulated in Louisiana during the nineteenth century, and were reprinted in collections of stories by Henry Castellanos and George Washington Cable. Cable's account (not to be confused with his unrelated 1881 novel Madame Delphine) was based on contemporary stories in newspapers such as the New Orleans Bee and the Advertiser, and upon Martineau's 1838 account, Retrospect of Western Travel, but mixed in some synthesis, dialogue and supposition entirely of his own creation.
After 1945, stories of the LaLaurie slaves became considerably more explicit. Jeanne deLavigne, writing in Ghost Stories of Old New Orleans (1946), alleged that LaLaurie had a \\"sadistic appetite [that] seemed never appeased until she had inflicted on one or more of her black servitors some hideous form of torture\\" and claimed that those who responded to the 1834 fire had found \\"male slaves, stark naked, chained to the wall, their eyes gouged out, their fingernails pulled off by the roots; others had their joints skinned and festering, great holes in their buttocks where the flesh had been sliced away, their ears hanging by shreds, their lips sewn together ... Intestines were pulled out and knotted around naked waists. There were holes in skulls, where a rough stick had been inserted to stir the brains.\\" DeLavigne did not directly cite any sources for these claims, and they were not supported by the primary sources.
The story was further popularised and embellished in Journey Into Darkness: Ghosts and Vampires of New Orleans (1998) by Kalila Katherina Smith, the operator of a New Orleans ghost tour business. Smith's book added several more explicit details to the discoveries allegedly made by rescuers during the 1834 fire, including a \\"victim [who] obviously had her arms amputated and her skin peeled off in a circular pattern, making her look like a human caterpillar,\\" and another who had had her limbs broken and reset \\"at odd angles so she resembled a human crab\\". Many of the new details in Smith's book were unsourced, while others were not supported by the sources given.
The New Orleans house occupied by Delphine LaLaurie at the time of the 1834 fires stands today at 1140 Royal Street, on the corner of Royal Street and Governor Nicholls Street (formerly known as Hospital Street). At three stories high, it was described in 1928 as \\"the highest building for squares around\\", with the result that \\"from the cupola on the roof one may look out over the Vieux Carré and see the Mississippi in its crescent before Jackson Square\\".
The entrance to the building bears iron grillwork, and the door is carved with an image of \\"Phoebus in his chariot, and with wreaths of flowers and depending garlands in bas-relief\\". Inside, the vestibule is floored in black and white marble, and a curved mahogany-railed staircase runs the full three storeys of the building. The second floor holds three large drawing-rooms connected by ornamented sliding doors, whose walls are decorated with plaster rosettes, carved woodwork, black marble mantlepieces and fluted pilasters.
Subsequent to LaLaurie's departure from America, the house remained ruined at least until 1836, but at some point prior to 1888 it was \\"unrecognisably restored\\", and over the following decades was used as a public high school, a conservatory of music, a tenement, a refuge for young delinquents, a bar, a furniture store, and a luxury apartment building.
In April 2007, actor Nicolas Cage bought the LaLaurie House through Hancock Park Real Estate Company LLC for a sum of $3.45 million. The mortgage documents were arranged in such a way that Cage's name did not appear on them. On November 13, 2009 the property, then valued at $3.5 million, was listed for auction as a result of bank foreclosure and purchased by Regions Financial Corporation for $2.3 million.
Jan 24, 2016 · Delphine LaLaurie is among the most notorious figures of her time in New Orleans. Born Marie Delphine McCarty in 1787 to Creole parents, Delphine created a reputation for herself from a young age when she had a scandalous affair with and was made to marry the Governor’s second in command, who was nearly three times … Continue reading