Delphine LaLaurie

Delphine LaLaurie

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. Her husband died before they reached Madrid.

After traveling back to New Orleans, LaLaurie married a banker and had four more children. Her second husband died eight years after they got married. Finally, she married doctor Leonard LaLaurie in 1825 and moved to her infamous mansion.

LaLaurie was extraordinarily cruel to her slaves. There was a rumor that a young slave, Lia, had fallen from the mansion after hurting LaLaurie while brushing her hair. Another rumor claimed that she often chained her cook to the stove.

After a fire to her kitchen in 1834, police found that her cook was chained to the stove and had tried to kill herself because she knew she’d be punished. She feared her punishment would put her in the attic, a room all her slaves feared. Police searched her attic and found a mutilated group of slaves, limbs stretched, hanging from their necks.

Mobs of townspeople attacked the LaLaurie mansion. She disappeared shortly after and by 1836, her mansion was abandoned. Her death is unclear.

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